Last Saturday was the Dunwich Dynamo. A 200km ride through the night from London Fields to a beach near Dunwich.
I’m not one for preparation but this time I stocked up on the advice. From previous blog posts such in the Guardian Bike Blog and forums such as LFGSS. I took with me lots of food, drink, batteries, spare inner tubes and a bright bike light. I also invested in a bottle cage to be able to refuel without stopping. I had the route plotted in my iPhone and turned down the brightness and the 3G off so that it would last throughout the 10 hour ride.
Although, I did manage to undo much of the preparation by going out for drinks the night before. Oh well..
Arriving at London Fields around 9 for the start of the Dunwich Dynamo I picked up the turn by turn directions and looked for my ride buddy.
We quickly got going and settled into a fast pace. The atmosphere was great and it was incredible to see so many cyclists together, red lights flicking and groups forming. We wanted to quickly get out of London to start enjoying the country lanes. Soon after Epping Forest our wish was granted and we were enjoying the ride. There is something quite magical about riding at night in a big group.
The first stop was at Moreton. Here quite a few people were already on the beers and it was a good chance to catch up with some fellow riders. As it was still early in the night lots of pubs were still open so there was plenty of great places to stop. We didn’t stick around long as we were keen to get going.
Again we rode at a high speed doing lots of overtaking looking for a group of riders going at a similar speed. So far it was the over enthusiasm for the ride that was causing this huge boost in energy and I was sure there would be a serious drop in speed later on.
The quiet country lanes were the perfect condition for cycling and I was glad of my Ixon IQ bike light shining the way ahead. If you are looking for a good light for the ride that isn’t too expensive then I can highly recommend it. In a couple of the quaint villages some of the people that lived there had come out to cheer everyone along. This was good fun and it was good to see people supporting the ride.
At one point we came across someone that had taken a bad fall. He looked rather worse for wear but as there was a lot of people already stopped to help we kept going. It reminded me of the dangers and to stay focused.
The next stop was at the Village Hall. Here I managed to catch up with the guys from Going Going Bike and also SuspectPackage who was easy to spot donning the Hello Joe t-shirt. Various sandwiches were being sold and also it was a good place to fill up the water bottles as from here on there would be far less pubs and petrol stations open.
At around 90-100 miles in we took a short break to grab some food. Daylight was on the way and as we sat eating some sandwiches various people cycled past and turned back around. We realised we had missed a turn. Most of the way the directions were very easy to follow.
The last 20 miles were tough. Tiredness was setting in and time seemed to be standing still as did the mileage count. I left my riding buddy to do some solo cycling. Eventually I came across the sign for Dunwich. There was a big relief and the last 5 or so miles were a bit of daze. After just over 9 hours of cycling I arrived at Dunwich, wheeled my bike onto the beach and sat down to take in the ride.
About 15 minutes later I was joined by the other guys I was riding the Dunwich Dynamo with and we set about getting some breakfast. We joined up with Silka from TfL who had also finished the ride and recounted our experiences. I wanted to catch up with various people such as Karl and Sparkes but was feeling that bit too tired.
It was great to sit on the beach and think about the whole thing. Easily my favourite experience was about 25-50 miles in, riding at high speeds and enjoying the dark setting. The Dunwich Dynamo is a great ride that I would highly recommend.