On October 31 at 6pm, Mrs Macquaries Road will transform into a beautifully illuminated cyclists’ paradise for the second annual Light the City. Thousands of riders are expected to jump on their bikes and head along for an evening of nocturnal two-wheeling.
“It kicked off last year with about 2,500 people coming along, and this year we’ve already far more people RSVP,” says Fiona Campbell, cycling manager at City of Sydney. A 2.5 kilometre loop along Mrs Macquaries Road will be lit up with spectacular installations, back dropped, of course, by harbour views. For five glorious hours, you’ll be able to ride the route as many — or as few — times as you like. All riders, be they newbies or in training for the Tour de France, are welcome.
As Campbell says, “First and foremost, the Sydney Rides Festival is about having fun. It gives bike riders and those who haven’t ridden in a while the opportunity to take part in fun and safe community events that celebrate bike riding in Sydney.”
But Light the City won’t be all about cycling. In fact, it’s a bit of a mini-festival. A gathering of Sydney’s favourite food trucks — including the Veggie Patch, Cantina Mobil, Cherry Hwy and Monster Rolls — will keep your hunger and thirst at bay, while the Nomadic Cafe tricycle will be providing coffee. And to keep you entertained between rides, there’ll be live music, interactive video displays, films, a silent disco and a roller racing stage.
Given that the event happens to fall on Halloween, the organisers are encouraging you to get your blood and gore on. Best-dressed participants will be in the running for a stack of prizes, including a $1,000 gift voucher to spend at a local bike shop.
Don’t have two-wheels of your own? Despair not. You’ll be able to hire onsite on the night. If your fitness levels happen to be at rock-bottom, ease yourself into action with an electric bike.
Light the City forms the finale of the Sydney Rides Festival, a three-week celebration of cycling in Sydney. “Back in 2011, we started with a one week event, that’s now grown to three weeks and more than 30 events,” says Campbell. “This year we’ve expanded the Festival to include events all over Sydney, including Marrickville, Hunters Hill and the Sutherland Shire.”
Check out the full program at the Sydney Rides website.