When it comes to folding bike races, there aren’t really all that many of them besides the Brompton World Championships. A shame really, ‘cause nothing beats seeing a bunch of well-dressed guys ‘n galls racing like there’s no tomorrow. Thank god for Rapha, who stepped up their game this year with the Rapha Nocture Series!
Late 2016 I decided to ride as many folding bike races in 2017 as I could possibly cram in my schedule. You know, practice makes perfect. Or in my case, at least a little better!
As far as the Brompton World Championships were concerned, I focused on the European races. Since I wasn’t exactly going to spend an arm and a leg on airfare –sponsors may apply here – I skipped the BWC in Mexico, USA, Japan and Korea for all the obvious reasons.
Due to our cycling trip to Norway I also had to pass on the Budapest (Hungary) competition and unfortunately the dates for Bern (Switzerland) and Lednice (Czech Republic) didn’t work for me either.
Long story short, I (only) participated in Barcelona (Spain, 19th), Monza (Italy, 8th ) and the London (UK, 33rd) final. With a little bit of luck, planning and who know, some third party funding I get to participate in more races next year.
This year, London based ‘cycling couture’ brand Rapha did not organize one, but two of their famed Rapha Nocturnes. This free festival that celebrates cycling in the heart of cities definitely is one of the most fun cycling events I’ve ever been to. It has everything a cycling fan’s heart desires. They always draw a great crowd, the atmosphere is fantastic, the beers are cold and there’s a wide range of races in which amateurs and professional riders compete. Kids races, penny farthing, cargo bikes, fixed gears and of course folding bikes… Rapha Nocturne has it all!
In June I raced the Nocturne in London where I came in just behind the lead group at an estimate 14th position. At the time they didn’t have timing chips for everyone so it’s a rough guess. To make up for this, Rapha offered London riders a free pass for the Nocturne in Copenhagen… something I didn’t have to think twice about.
Definitely didn’t regret coming to Copenhagen to race.I came in 6th position, but I could have done better. Mechanical issues however decided this wasn’t the day for me to shine. Hadn’t my chain come of twice on those darn cobblestones – being a true Flandrien, I thought they were going to give me an advantage – a top three position would have been a sure thing. Better luck next time!
And a next time there will be. In 2018 Rapha is planning on adding another day to their Nocturne series. I for one am hoping for races in Amsterdam and / or Berlin. Fingers crossed!