When the horn sounds, riders sprint to their bikes, unfold them as quickly as possible, and then set off, all dressed in their best interpretation of suited and booted commuters on the way to work.
Team Tern includes three-time race winner, Keith Henderson, who succeeded in beating the suited riders to the line in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The 38-year-old lives with his wife and three children in Kent, and first moved to folding bikes when train services put restrictions on full sized bikes.
Henderson soon found a liking for the riding position and said: “I entered the 2008 Nocturne and won. Went on to win again in 2009 on the Mu SL, then Dahon sponsored me with a Mu EX in 2010, which resulted in the successful completion of a Hatrick.”
“I grew up riding street BMX, trials riding and mountain biking, and commuted in London.”
Road racing opened new doors to Henderson, and he took a break from the folding bike race in 2011, entering the Support race. He now holds a Category 2 road race licence, and will this year be racing the Cat 2/3 Support race and the Folding Bike race.
This year, Keith will be riding the Tern Verge X20. He said: “It’s marginally heavier than the [Dahon] Mu EX, but it makes up for it with a much stiffer frame which is perfect for a city centre criterium.”
He is holding back on over-confidence, however, and added: “I’m certainly not expecting an easy ride this year, the competition is getting stronger every year – there’ll be 79 other riders after the title and prize – I’ve also entered the Cat 2/3 Support race which is on two hours before the Folding Bike race final. I’ve probably bitten off much more than I can chew!”
Looking forward to the atmosphere of the evening, he added: “Whatever happens, it’s brilliant fun, and the crowds are always massively into the event.”
Keith left us with a hint of mystery, saying: “As for the bike, it’s had a few tweaks for the race, but nothing I can tell you about..”
Also racing for Team tern will be twenty-year-old Kane Headley-Cummings, a working actor and model who lives in London, but says his favourite training grounds are in Canterbury and Kent. He has also been riding the circuit in Smithfield Market to prepare for the big event and early signs suggest he’ll be riding hard and fast on race night.
“Bicycles have always interested me. My real passion for cycling began around the age of 9,” he told us.
Kane’s first ride was very different to the folding bikes he races now, “I inherited a vintage bicycle from my Grandfather and together we began to restore it, I didn’t get to ride it too much as it was more of a family antique, but this is where the love began.”
As a teen, Kane rode a BMX bike before moving on to mountain bikes . Of his first customised MBX, he said: “I was practically glued to the bike! I would ride everyday after school and weekends up in Greenwich Park. I enjoyed the freedom it gave me, I felt I was in control of my own journey and I could go wherever I wanted and in my time. I went through various mountain bikes and would enjoy rough terrain riding.”
The transition to folding bikes came later, and Kane sung the praises of the portable two-wheelers to us, saying: “In whatever situation you are in the bike is directly at your feet. You can have it slotted under the desk at your office, and instead of having to walk somewhere that takes 20 minutes of your lunchtime, it only takes five, you just fold it within seconds and can even do a bit of lunch time shopping!”
He added: “Folding bikes are not just about portability, they are more than a convenience, they can do all that the regular bike can do and more, they can pick up speed. My best cycling memory is when I out did a road biker all the way from Waterloo to Greenwich on my folding 8 speeder. The rider was competitively racing me! Not commuting!”
Kane now has quite a selection of folding bikes, but he will be riding a Tern Verge X30 for the Nocturne event. He said: “It rides like a dream. It is very compact and light weight, folds within seconds and although light, it feels extremely study and robust. Its gear changes are fluid and I am able to gain high speed in a short distance. Definitely in a new league.”
Kane and Keith we be riding alongside pro cyclist Dave Craven, IG Markets representatives, and Evans Cycles staff. We look forward to seeing how they all get on and if you can’t make it down this Saturday follow us on Twitter @EvansCycles for the latest news and results as the action unfold.