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Ride The Tube - a unique bike-navigation team challenge around London next weekend

London urban riding challenge will test planning & street smarts over speed

At a loose end in London on Saturday September 21? Ride The Tube is an unusual mixture of urban orienteering and cycling in which riders will aim to accumulate as many points as possible by riding between tube stations.

It’s a bit like the OMM Bike (previously Polaris Challenge) mountain bike events. There are points for each station, and riders have to come up with their own routes between them.

The £25 entry fee allows you to ride in a team of up to five, or on your own if you’re feeling anti-social. You’ll be given a ‘mascot’ when you collect your entry pack from Trafalgar Square at the beginning of the day, and as you make your way round the city you’ll check in at each station by taking a photo of the station, a bicycle, and the mascot.

The points value of each station won’t be revealed until the start of the event, so participants will have to plan their strategy and route on the day. We’re willing to bet that Epping will be worth more points than Charing Cross though.

As well as prizes for the top three on points, there will be mini-challenges through the day as well.

Organiser Nick Christian says the idea came to him after a ride home.

“Recently I rode back to my home in Brixton from playing football in the Camden Town side of Regent’s Park. My journey took me through and past some of London’s proudest sites, from Primrose Hill to Regent’s Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and the houses of Parliament at Westminster. And all before I’d even crossed the river. I adore the tube for all that it brings the entire city within reach but force me underground and I’d have seen none of those things.

“Your average cyclist sees more of London in a day than does the typical urban commuter in a month. We know this city better than anyone, giving any black cab driver’s knowledge a real run for its money

“So much of what’s said about cyclists sees us depicted, or depicting ourselves, as either victim or villain. At Ride the Tube we want to help change that by showing that negotiating London by bike can be fun as well as functional, and more than just a death-defying race from home to work and back again.”

Entry fees will all go into prizes and donations to charity. Half the proceeds will be split between three charities: London Cycling Campaign, Wheels for Wellbeing and Herne Hill Velodrome Trust. Nick is alsonalso hoping to be able to make a contribution to Lambeth Cyclists in order to subsidise bike maintenance classes for low income households.

More information at

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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jazzykoenig | 10 years ago

Wait...So this is basically a boring version of an alleycat race??

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