Citz and Sedos join up for Nightrider!

Posted on: 27 June 2014

Written by: Clemmie

On 7th June over 70 cyclists took part in Nightrider for Cardboard Citizens, and together managed to raise almost £50,000! Here's an article about it written for the Sedos Grapevine newsletter..

It was the Se-riders that looked the most at ease last Saturday evening when they arrived at Cadence Cycle Centre in Crystal Palace ahead of setting off on the gruelling Nightrider. A team of 8 brave Sedos musicians, singers, dancers and actors were joining forces with Cardboard Citizens to cycle 100km through the night and raise funds for the charity. Among them were a variety of cycling levels; in their own words – ‘from experienced marathon runners, to those who are in the process of fixing up a gumtree bargain in the hope it will be road worthy by June!’

We were to start at midnight at Crystal Palace, loop around London via Alexandra Palace and end back at Crystal Palace at an unimaginable time the next morning. While I was trying to hold down my power smoothie, force carbs into my increasingly wobbly stomach, and calm my equally nervous mother who was also taking part, Will Harrisson-Wallace was the picture of calm, reclining in his full-body lycra and saying it would all be great fun, and that ‘we’d soon get into it’. I was then informed that Juliette Chrisman was also highly experienced, had embarked on a number of extreme multi-marathon physical challenges in her past, and that this was going to be a doddle in comparison. At this point I had never cycled more than 20k, so this did not help my nerves!

By 11pm all of the 70+ cyclists riding for Cardboard Citizens had gathered, and after a performance by 4 of our ex-homeless members, final photographs and loo visits, it was time to don our helmets and high-vis and head over to the start line in Crystal Palace Park.

The sight of 2000 cyclists in orange high-vis raring to go was a sight to behold. We edged towards the start line for our 12am start time and after a rallying speech by a Nightrider official on a megaphone, we were off, flying down the hill from Crystal Palace towards central London. For the first 30 minutes the Citz staff team rattled alongside the Se-riders; Dawn’s gold locks visible under her pro aero-helmet. But by the time we weaved through Greenwich Village we’d lost sight of the Sedos team, owing in part to the rather stately speed of my brave mother, even less experienced than me, and in part to Petia our Comms Manager getting inexplicably lost around Tower Bridge. When we realised no one in orange had passed by us for at least half an hour, it was clear we were at the very back of the Nightrider cohort that set off from Crystal Palace. This only became depressing when we began seeing riders in yellow who had started off at Alexandra Palace and were in effect lapping us.

From Tower Hill we swept east, bumping over cobblestone at Wapping, skirting through the futuristic ghost town of Canary Wharf, and stopping for welcome shots of espresso at the Olympic Park at 3am. We remained in our small group of 8 for the next two hours as we climbed north through Hackney, and Haringey. I really started to feel the burn as we began the climb up to Alexandra Palace as the sun was rising. From nowhere Will and Dawn Harrisson-Wallace swept into my view, about 20 ft ahead of me, puffing and red faced, but determined to complete the almost vertical climb without resorting to walking. We all made it! And after dizzily drinking in the splendid view of London twinkling in the pink dawn, we all piled into grand old Ally Pally for loos and the eagerly awaited hot breakfast. No bacon butty has ever tasted so delicious. It was 5.30am and the Se-riders and Citz staff team were sprawled out in the car park, munching in silence, contemplating the inevitable next four hours of cycling to our end goal.

We said goodbye to the Se-riders for the last time, and passed the second half of the ride in a blur – high on sugary gels and with the familiar unpleasant feeling that we had taken an overnight flight, or had stayed at a party too long. As London began to come alive and a hot June sun began to beat down on us, we sweated our way back towards central London via Hampstead, Regent’s Park, and Covent Garden, through Lambeth, and on towards Herne Hill. The Citz staffers finally arrived back at Crystal Palace at 9am, exhausted and desperate for bed, but elated. The Se-riders had arrived well before us, and sensibly headed swiftly to one of the team’s houses for a slap up Full English. We were thrilled to be joined by Sedos on this amazing experience.

The Se-riders were a fantastic positive addition to the cycle, and cool as cucumbers throughout – who knew they were thesps?! Impressively they managed to raise a whopping £3800 for Cardboard Citizens, which will go towards our forthcoming youth project A Matter of Mind that will provide employment for young people and will tour to schools in London helping students to deal with stress and anxiety at school. Thank you and well done guys! And we hope you join us again next year!

In total we had 70 cyclists riding Nightrider for Cardboard Citizens, raising a total of £47,000. If you missed it, we’ll be back again next year, so watch this space…


With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded