Ride report: Midsummer Madness 2013
Cloudy skies failed to dampen enthusiasm for this year's nighttime ride to greet the solstice dawn. More than 50 cyclists assembled in Cutty Sark Gardens on Friday morning for a 2am departure westwards towards Southwark Needle, where we collected another 35 or so, making it a Barry-100 in total (there is only one significant figure). There were certainly in excess of 100 at Bar Italia in Soho.
The ride from Greenwich and London Bridge went without problems, thanks to Jane's expert back-marking and our small but hardy team of crack marshals keeping a kindly eye on the pack. We managed to stay together, and didn't lose anyone. One rider had a mechanical problem, but she struggled on to Bar Italia, and, determined not to miss the solstice dawn in the company of her cycling friends, made it from Soho to Primrose Hill by cab.
After a 45 minute caffeine fix and blether at Bar Italia, we proceeded through the West End at a sedate pace, and then northwards to Regents Park. Sensing the lightening of the sky, the young lads among us then raced forward like yappity dogs, and it was a struggle for this grizzled old ride leader to rein them in. But I did. We arrived at the top of Primrose Hill with half an hour to spare, and a density of humans greater than that of midges, unlike last year.
Apart from the cyclists on the ride, there were a few tanked-up crusties on the hill, a hippy twiddling his balls, and a guy playing an English Half-Long bagpipe. There was no sun visible, but still a fine light, with mist over the city to the south.
A fairly large group followed me to the Island Café in Southwark for a 6am breakfast, following a route that took us through Parliament Square and over Westminster Bridge. For me and three others the Midsummer Madness ride ended with an eastwards pootle along the Thames Path to Greenwich.
Darryl Chamberlain has some photos…
If there are any videos out there, please post them on YouTube and send me links.
Dr Francis Sedgemore
journalist, writer and physicist
telephone: +44 7840 191336