The fifteenth annual 200km (120 mile) overnight ride from London Fields in Hackney to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast was this Saturday night.
The Dunwich Dynamo occurs on the Saturday closest to the full moon in July, partly out of tradition and partly because maps are easier to read by moonlight.
Several hundred cyclists gathered in the evening sunshine near the Pub on the Park listening to music and catching up with mates.
We gave our donation in return for a route guide and began to trickle off from around 8.30pm.
The first 3km took us through what was described as bandit country.
We were warned to ride in big groups, use main roads and to look out for each other.
Shortly before Lea Bridge I found out why when we came across a group of kids trying to block our lane and throwing stones.
I got hit square in the throat but figured there was no point in retaliating although next year I might carry a water pistol with some foul smelling liquid just in case.
Just as I was entering Essex it began to rain and didn’t stop until well after sunrise.
This made the ride quite miserable for those who were unprepared but I quite liked it.
I had loaded the route onto my GPS so I didn’t have to struggle with a soggy paper guide and was dressed well so that I didn’t overheat while still keeping my torso dry.
As the sun went down the long line of blinking tail lights ahead of me looked almost magical but as the night wore on they became quite mesmerising.
I found myself pushing to get past anybody with a flashing light but quite content to sit behind those with their lights on constant or a pattern, as long as they were doing a decent pace of course.
After 102km (64 miles) we hit the feed stop at Waldingfield.
I arrived around 1.15am and the hall was already quite full with the queue for hot food stretching out towards the entrance.
I grabbed a spare chair and had my two ham and brie ciabattas while chatting to a couple of others about their ride so far.
By the time I left I had cooled down a lot!
It took a few minutes of fast pedalling for me to stop shivering and a few more before I was comfortable enough to put the pressure on again.
The constant rain, solid cloud cover and lack of street lights meant it was perfect for naked riding.
I couldn’t read my computer or GPS easily so I simply rode as hard as I could so that my legs were just beginning to ache and I was breathing hard but not panting.
This seemed to work a treat and I steadily began to move ahead of other riders.
Before long I was spending a lot of time on my own whipping through the dark country lanes.
By 4.15am the eastern horizon was beginning to glow and I could start to make out road signs and read my GPS without switching on the backlight.
At around 5am I arrived at our destination, the Flora Cafe at Dunwich and found it almost deserted.
I must have done much better than I realised as it took until 6am before the cafe was full.
By then I had eaten, changed into dry clothes, met a few interesting people and was looking forward to the short ride back to the train station and getting home in time for the final stage of the Tour.
July 19 is already marked in my diary for next year’s run.
I can’t wait.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 07/28/2007
- Time: 20:30:00
- Total Time: 9:00:55.00
- Distance: 226 km
- Average Speed: 25.07 kmph
- Max Speed: 67.7 kmph