After much anticipation the Dunwich Dynamo came around again on the 4th July. This annual night ride to the coast started many years ago by couriers has morphed into a yearly epic, timed to coincide with the full moon – we ride 120 miles through dark country roads to the seaside town of Dunwich on the Norfolk coast. It’s mostly unsupported apart from the halfway feed station and the return coaches/vans organised by the legendary Barry of Southwark Cyclists. We started in London Fields in Hackney, East London at about 9pm, paper route maps in hand – I had decided to take the geared Rourke rather than risk fixed as I’d never ridden 120 miles before, so that was loaded up with saddlebag full of food, tools, spare batteries for lights and some spare clothes. We wound our way up the Essex Hills and hit the first pub stop at about 11pm around 30 miles out. I felt great – the atmosphere fantastic, after a quick pit stop myself and our little group of riders, headed off – got lost a few times with hilarious results (I’ll never forget the cheer when we found the main group again after riding through some very dark lanes) by 50 miles I had lost most of my friends and was miserable, it was dark, very dark – I wanted to go home. I finally hit the halfway feed station at about 2-3am, tired and grumpy – found my friends, promptly shouted at one of them for leaving me, sat down and ate some food which made me feel 100 times better. After a stretch, some water bottle refills and an apology and a hug for my friend who I shouted at. We set off again, it was just starting to get light, and that lifted my mood completely!
The next 20 miles were great, good company, good riding and the most amazing dawn – riding through the quiet roads of Suffolk. Whoever said Suffolk was flat LIED! However, most of it was downhill and there were only a few slightly challenging hills. A quick stop at 80 miles and it started to spit rain, this stopped and started at various points, but the last 30 miles were pretty wet – note to self – fit mudguards next year!
When I saw the sign that said Dunwich – 7 Miles my heart lifted and I upped the pace, those last 7 miles felt like 20! I rolled in to the beach soaking wet at around 7.30am, to be welcomed by a couple of friends with beer, truly the best beer I’d ever drank! It rained a bit more, but we finally got into the cafe and I demolished a bacon and egg sarnie, a sausage and egg sarnie, a cup of tea, a beer and a 7-up! The sun came out, we sat on the beach and ate ice cream and regaled each other with stories of getting lost in Ipswich, laughing at anything because of the lack of sleep and just how awesome the ride was. Our bikes were loaded into two huge lorries, we piled into a coach and all passed out for the 3 hour journey home. The ride back home from Central London was so hard!
So apart from some rather nasty wet bum chafage – note to self – definitely fit mudgards next year! and general tiredness I feel ok.
Luckily my other half was at home waiting with a Chinese takeway, a hot bath and a comfy bed.
Can’t wait until next year!
Rainy Morning Beach at Dunwich.
Lots of very tired cyclists.