Earlier this week, on a boring Bank Holiday Monday, I received an email, asking if I would help out with something the next day. “Ooh yes, sounds interesting,” I replied, “What does it involve?” The response informed me that the annual Ride the Lights was due to take place along Blackpool’s grandiose Promenade, between 8pm and 10pm. I would be taking part.
I set off on Tuesday afternoon at 4pm, meandering slowly along to the Promenade, to meet at 5pm on the Comedy Carpet, under Blackpool Tower, for the briefing. At said briefing, we (Sean Payne, Claire Griffiths, Liz, Victoria, Stan, and me) were given our instructions for the special evening, and also different coloured boiler suits to wear. At this point, we were then given our posts, where we must stand. The Cenotaph (yellow, VICTORIA), Coral Island (green, LIZ ), The Manchester Pub (red, SEAN), Carnesky’s Ghost Train (blue, ELIZABETH), and Central Pier (pink, CLAIRE). We had each been allocated these positions so that we could play our parts, as Light Keepers, in a game during Ride the Lights.
The aim of the game was for the Light Seekers to join in a type of treasure hunt, whereby they had to carry a coloured light to each base point and hand it to a Light keeper who, in turn, had a test for each Light Seeker. When the test was passed, the colour of lights on the Light Seekers’ bikes was changed by remote control to a new colour which they would then seek.
Stan took the part of Dark Matter which meant he had the power to zap the colour from the Light Seekers with his remote control, rendering the Seekers colourless! All the fun of the fair for all the family. The game, Light Seekers, was devised by Danish artist Tine Bech for LeftCoast as part of LightCycles for Ride the Lights 2014.
The beginning of the evening started for me with a ride on a new modern electric tram, travelling from the Comedy Carpet down to South Pier (always a great journey, full of personal reminiscences). At this point I was wearing my bright blue boiler suit, had the remote control in hand, and bottled water for emergencies. The tram was packed with commuters returning form work. The conversation was excited and the view from the tram, as always on a bright day at this time of year, was exquisite, with mellow yellow, peachy orange, vibrant blue, and a darker, more atmospheric blue higher in the sky.
Already, before 8pm, the buzz was definitely in the air along the whole length of the Promenade and then the first cyclists started to arrive. At the base where I was situated, at Carnesky’s Ghost Train beside the White Tower at the Pleasure Beach I noticed something very special about the whole motion and movement of the cyclists, and also their respect for other cyclists.
It was quite a spectacle There was careful attention to detail on many bikes, characterful clothing worn by cyclists and unique horns and bells showed individuality. Eventually, the sun set on an amazing day and still the cyclists kept coming in their droves. The experience has given me more incentive to buy a bike, after many a year without.
The whole evening was most vibrant and the game ended at 10pm when the cold had begun to take hold. There were still some hardy people who kept on cycling the promenade, in various paraphenalia, ranging from lit body suits and illuminated bikes, to more elaborate costumes. It was a fabulous opportunity to trip the light fantastic and a great build up to the grand switch on of Blackpool Illuminations on Friday 29 August 2014.
Images courtesy of C J Griffiths Photography.
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