Dalston’s Caroline Pulford excited about Rapha Nocturne cycling event next month

Caroline Pulford faces the camera at the launch of the Rapha/Nocturne cycling event at London's Raph

Caroline Pulford faces the camera at the launch of the Rapha/Nocturne cycling event at London's Rapha store (pic: Sportsbeat/Roberto Payne). - Credit: Archant

North London Thundercats Black Metal Bicycle club member to compete in event after watching last year

Dalston cyclist Caroline Pulford will finally get her chance to show the people of London what fixed gear cycling is all about as she prepares to take part in the Rapha Nocturne next month.

Pulford, 30, competes in a variety of disciplines including fixed gear criteriums, which involve riding a bike with only one gear, and no breaks, around short circuits for a set number of laps.

The 2017 Rapha Nocturne, launched on Thursday at the Rapha Clubhouse in Spitalfields, will feature a women’s fixed gear race for the first time having previously only hosting a mixed race.

And Pulford, who rides for the North London Thundercats Black Metal Bicycle Club, cannot wait to ride around the 1.3km closed-road circuit in the heart of the City of London.

“Going from being a spectator last year when they had a men and women combined race, to this year getting our own, is fantastic,” she said. “I’m really excited to race in central London with a great field of really strong women.

“I’ve been riding around London for six or seven years, going from commuting to riding fixed. Then riding fixed about London and last year I started racing doing crits, on both road bikes and fixed.

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“I think having no brakes is probably safer than road bike crits, because no-one has any brakes, so no-one will slam them on or suddenly stop.

“And it makes it much more interesting because your gearing choice is really important – if you’re under-geared you can’t keep up. It is a really individual thing and an extra element of something you need to think about.”

This year’s London Nocturne, which sees bicycle clothing manufacturer Rapha come back on board for a three-year partnership deal with organisers FACE Partnership, will feature nine separate races before the men’s and women’s elite fields go hell for leather as darkness falls upon the square mile.

The day’s races include a penny farthing race, folding bike battle and Concour d’Elegance, where riders get points for their bike, dress, etiquette and ability to negotiate obstacles placed along the course.

After 11 years of the London Nocturne, Rapha and FACE also announced, on Thursday, a second criterium race in Copenhagen, with plans to host the full array of races there, before expanding to make the Nocturne a global series in years to come.

And Pulford was excited to hear of the plans to grow both women’s and fixed cycling around the world.

“It’s great that the Nocturne is expanding. Anything that gets exposure for cycling is great. As a sport it is growing, and the women’s side is growing too,” she added.

“I’d be the first one on the plane if they do a women’s fixed race in Copenhagen. I’ve never been there and getting to race in the city centre, in front of massive crowds, is amazing. It pushes you harder and is just really good fun.”

The Rapha London Nocturne – a unique free to attend festival of cycling featuring the world’s most prestigious Criterium race – is coming to the City of London on 10 June. Visit www.raphanocturne.com for further information.