Thursday 18 January 2018

Buzz: Ever Wanted To: Cycle The London Nocturne?

The London Nocturne takes place around Smithfield Market in London
The London Nocturne takes place around Smithfield Market in London

The London Nocturne has become one of the most diverse and alternative urban cycling events in the UK since its creation seven years ago.

It takes place annually around Smithfield Market in the city of London, during the first week of June. With many whacky, non-mainstream racing categories on show, it is no wonder this fun and edgy event attracts such popularity from a broad spectrum of people. It is not often you will see penny farthings and elite track bikes racing within the same event, not to mention in the darkness of a mild summer's night in the middle of London.

Running since 2007, the race is gaining in popularity each year, with more than 15,000 descending on Smithfield Market in 2013 to create an electric atmosphere, with a wide array of food stalls, live music, and a cycling expo helping to fuel the excitement, not to mention the bars and pubs around the circuit which are guaranteed to be buzzing.

Not only does it attract a wide variety of participants, it attracts some of cycling's biggest names, with two-time Olympic champion Laura Trott and Hannah Barnes fighting it out for the Rapha elite women's criterium in 2013; while the BBC's Colin Murray was donning his spandex in the media race.

In 2009, the London Nocturne event made history as part of the London Bike Show by hosting the UK's first fully indoor cycling criterium race, where a 500-metre circuit was erected in London's ExCel.

Proceedings kick off at 4pm with urban cyclecross getting things under way, while races come thick and fast at regular intervals, usually every half-hour, until the elite criterium race rounds things off, finishing up at about 10.30pm that night.

There are eight different racing categories, including the urban cyclecross; the folding bike race; the elite criterium and the elite women's criterium; the city criterium; the support race; the track bike criterium; and the penny farthing criterium.


Britain's biggest and baddest night-time cycling event will take place on Saturday, June 7.


The course consists of a 1.1k loop around Smithfield Market, with cyclists racing clockwise around the circuit.

How to get there/ Where to stay

London is extremely accessible from Ireland, with flights to all London airports available. Accommodation should be booked well in advance in order to ensure a good price and the right location.



Email: pete@

Highs: The atmosphere – the food stalls and cycling expo, and the craic in the pubs and bars after the racing has finished.

Lows: The crowds on the day. Arrive in plenty of time in order to get a good view of the racing.

Irish Independent

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