By Marie Devlin, Duchenne Parent & Challenge Events Fundraiser

Last week I went along to an information session organised by Classic Challenge, the people behind the Nightrider events. I’m in no way a cyclist but even I came away feeling that I would dust down my bike and try something new as it sounds like a great series of events!   I hope that by reading this you’ll also be encouraged to get involved:

Nightrider, what’s it all about?

The clue is in the name...it’s a night time bike ride around three iconic cities. You can choose from either:

  • Glasgow - 19/20 May 2018

  • London - 9/10 June 2018

  • Liverpool - 14/15 July 2018

There are 50k or 100k route options to choose from in each city and they include all the landmarks and highlights that can be fitted in!  It’s not a race and it’s not timed (it isn’t a closed road event so you’ll need to obey traffic laws, hence no race). It is all about having fun with friends, raising money for charity and is a unique way to explore a city.

It is a fully supported event and by that I mean the organisers have your back throughout the night:

  • There are break stops every 20/25km with toilets, snacks, water, mechanics and medics  

  • Snacks are available at every break stop. We’re talking Haribo, crisps, cereal bars, chocolate, jelly babies, bananas and more

  • Halfway round there’s also tea and cake! How civilised!

  • You will be given a central control emergency number for mechanical and medical issues. It’s manned from 10pm – 10am so there’s no need to worry if, for example, you get a puncture enroute.  Medics or mechanics are dispatched to participants who need help of any kind

  • The route is fully sign-posted.  In addition you’ll also be provided with a GPS of the route

  • A bacon roll (veggie alternative available) and medal await you at the finish line!!

What can you expect on the night?

At the start (from 10:30pm) there’s a registration area where toilets, mechanics, medics and snacks are available. You’ll be given a hi-vis vest and your cyclist number and then you’ll be set off in waves every 10 to 15 minutes.  As a guide, expect it to take 6-8 hours to complete the 100km route or 3-4 hours to complete the 50km route.  The routes have been designed to avoid busy roads where possible and to cycle in the city centre later on in the night when there will be less traffic. However there will be some busier sections so the advice is to ensure that you are confident cycling on the roads as the roads are not closed.

Routes explained

  • London - Both routes are circular and start and finish at the same place, Lee Valley VeloPark. The 50km route will be an inner loop of the 100km route and notable misses out both hills covered by the North and South section of the route.  So if you want “all the sights and none of the hills” the 50km option is for you!  You will pass by Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, St. James Cathedral and many more hidden gems giving you a real flavour of the city.

  • Liverpool - The route is made up of two 50km loops. Both start at the Pier Head so if you are on the 50km challenge you can choose which route you would like to do - a 50km Wirral route, 50km Liverpool city route or go for the full 100km and experience it all! All of the route is streetlit, except for 2 short sections in the Wirral loop. You will therefore need good lights that can light the way as well as make you visible to others. There will be marshals there to ensure nobody is on their own in this section.  You will be blessed with fantastic views on the Wirral loop which is less built up, highlights of the Liverpool city loop include Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields  and Anfield Stadium.

  • Glasgow - ​Brand new for 2018, this is the first Nightrider event in Scotland. The route is currently being planned, but rest assured - it'll be a good one! Both distances will be circular routes that will start and finish at the same place - one will provide a more scenic experience, the other will be more city centre based.  

Nightrider showcases these capital cities in a totally different (moon)light!  As long as you’re confident on a bike and prepared to do some training this event is really achievable.  Get together with family and friends or team up with work colleagues (it’s perfect for corporate teams as there’s no time out of the office and it’s all done and dusted on one night).  It promises to deliver lots of fun and an unforgettable night.  Get involved