The capital’s inaugural Velonotte took place in 2012 in east London. This year, the nighttime cycle tour explores a huge swath of early Victorian architecture and history, with stops in Westminster, Camden, Lambeth, Wandsworth and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Part of the London Festival of Architecture, it’s guided by experts from London and Moscow (Velonotte’s founder, historian and urban activist Sergey Nikitin, is Russian; he’s been organising these inspirational international grand tours in different cities since 2007).
The 19-mile tour lasts from midnight until 5am, during which time the decidedly post-Victorian threat of the modern London traffic jam is less likely to be a nuisance. You’ll need headphones plus a means of listening to the commentary via a live broadcast by Resonance 104.4 FM. Victorian fancy dress isn’t obligatory but it is encouraged; the organisers have gone so far as to provide a list of nearly 50 tour ‘protagonists’ participants might like to revive. They include Marx, Darwin, Dickens, Prince-Consort Albert and the young Queen Victoria (wire frame corset and giant crown optional).
The tour is free (£5 donations are suggested). Advance online registration though, is not negotiable: registered participants will receive the meeting place details by email, 24 hours before the ride starts.