WTF is an Alleycat?

May 27, 2024

Since we began hosting the Alleycat Foot Races, I realised most people had never heard of an Alleycat, whilst others were asking if it was a rogaine and I'd never heard of a rogaine. Looking into it, there are some similarities but Alleycatting to me feels a bit more underground, urban and chaotic. Phones instead of maps, streets instead of trails, checkpoints set out to favour those that take risks and shortcuts. 

WTF is an Alleycat? It’s an unsanctioned bike race, usually organised by bike messengers and raced on fixed gear bikes which generally don’t have brakes. There are a list of checkpoints given out to racers called a manifest. Racers then make their own route to each checkpoint and back to the finish, there’s no rules and all decision making is left to them. First one to all the checkpoints and back wins. It’s simple, pure and fast.

This is a snap shot of 'The Great Alleycat of London'; 'Line of Sight' is a great film that shows the underground racing scene.

I grew up in London around the fixed gear scene, from pretty young I was riding fixed gear bikes. We used to have a crew called LNR (London Night Riders) and would head out around midnight and ride through the city. I look back now and it was probably a way for city folk to be adventurous because we didn't have anything else to do. Alleycat races always had my attention, I loved the posters, the style, the grunginess and how hectic it was. 

When I moved to NZ I left behind the fixed gears and filled the hole with running. The Alleycat Foot Races are a merge of both worlds together, it adds a different element to a running race that you don’t get in a road/trail race. Trying to run as quick as you can, whilst looking at your phone to see where you’re meant to be going, trying not to get run over and trying to find shortcuts. Just pure carnage. I think the best part is back at the finish line where people get to yarn about falling in a creek or getting lost and running an extra 4km instead of purely how fast they ran and where they finished. It brings a different dynamic to the atmosphere of a running race.

Hope to see you at the next one.


Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!