|sent from: London, UK. destination: Bombay, India|
On Saturday night, for the second year in a row, Maria and I tackled the St Crispin’s Day 100-mile night ride. Last year was also the first time they had organised it as a paid event, which they oversold to casual riders and had to deal with a lot of complaints relating to this and other, perhaps understandable first-time mistakes. They promised to address many of the issues this year and I was curious to see how it would go.
Overall, I say they succeeded in their improvements, but there’s still room to tweak, especially if they do hope to attract the casual riders and not just the more experienced crowd. Whether by design or not, they had far fewer riders this year, almost no casual cyclists, making it much more manageable at the organised stops. Changing the start to West London was an excellent decision, minimising the time in London streets, but I am convinced that crossing central London early on a Sunday morning, without having any traffic controls, is a certain kind of hell. The signage was better, but we did still encounter riders who had no idea whether or not they were on the correct route. The food and drink provided at the stops was adequate and nothing more. Of the biggest complaint last year, the thing they could do the least about, the weather was mild but very, very wet. Our waterproofs held up superbly, but our feet were sodden and cold.
Last year I completed the full 100+ miles, tho Maria bowed out at mile 70 with shoulder trouble. This year, in better physical shape and more comfortable on the bikes, I was curious to see how it would be different, and we promised to stick together regardless of the outcome. At mile 70 M’s shoulder became too troublesome to ignore again, and we called it a day. However, despite that, the rain and the lack of sleep, we felt good and otherwise able to continue, so it was a very successful 70-mile ride rather than a failed stab at 100.
We’re already talking about organising our own night rides 🙂