Folding bike race sees hundreds ride past Buckingham Palace

Hundreds of cyclists wearing business suits and fancy dress have taken part in a folding bike race by Buckingham Palace.

The race began with a Le Mans-style start, with competitors having to run over to their folded bikes before assembling them and pedalling away.

Participants on foot at the start
The participants started on foot (Paul Harding/PA)

The Brompton World Championships course required riders to do eight short laps around St James’ Park in central London, travelling along The Mall and passing the Queen’s official residence.

The vast majority of riders opted for shorts, a shirt and tie and a jacket, although one woman did the race dressed as the Queen.

Competitors were not allowed to wear lycra.

Action from the Brompton race
Lycra was banned (Paul Harding/PA)

Alicia Butler, a 42-year-old web developer from Hemel Hempstead who did the race dressed as Mary Poppins, said the race felt “very British”.

She added: “We saw the video last year, my husband and I, and we thought we really wanted to do that.

“We have been so excited.

“We just tell everyone to buy a Brompton because they are amazing bikes.

“We don’t even use the car anymore, we cycle to the pub, we cycle to the shops.”

Riding in a costume for the race was not a problem, she said, adding: “You can get really glamorous and still ride your Brompton.”

Action from the Brompton
Riding in costumes was not problematic for those taking part (Paul Harding/PA)

Around 500 riders from the UK and countries around the world including Spain, Italy, Japan and the US took part.

Todd Hayden, a 56-year-old engineer, came to London from Idaho in the US to take part in his second Brompton World Championship race.

He said he had returned because of “the pageantry, the elegance and the fun”.

Cyclists on the Mall in London during the Brompton World Championship Final
The race travelled along The Mall (David Mirzoeff/PA)

In the latter stages of the race, which was won by a Spaniard, one rider fell heavily after crashing with another competitor and was left needing treatment from paramedics.

Hundreds of spectators lined the streets to watch the race.

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