Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Dunwich Dynamo

On Saturday night we took 2 RDA Milk Bikes on the Dunwich Dynamo night ride from Hackney in London to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast. The ride itself is about 110 miles however we needed to get into London so rode in from Chelmsford. This plus the ride to the campsite to meet up with the other halves at the end of the ride led to a planned ride of 150miles. Last year Mark and I did the ride on our beta versions of the RDA commuter bikes and had a great time so were really looking forward to riding the full production versions with belts, hub gears, dynamo lights and panniers racks as additions on the beta versions.

Our enthusiasm for last years ride meant the we had 2 additional riders with us this year from our Friday pub ride crew. The evening did not start well with 3 punctures in the local park due to broken glass. These were within 5 mins of setting off and no more than 200m apart. It looked like it had the potential to be a very long night. Eventually we escaped Chelmsford and rode the lanes as long as we could before entering London. The weather gods decided to make sure we got a good soaking on the ride in but the forecast for the evening had looked good so we where not put off by this early soaking.

Last year as we entered london we had been met by a stream of lights coming out and had not made it all the way to the start for fear of arriving there and finding that everyone had already gone. This year with better planning we made it to the pub in the park, had a pint and enjoyed the atmosphere of lots of cyclists from many different aspects of the sport milling around together. The totally inclusive nature of the event is definitely it's charm and I was once again struck by how variable bike culture is. Everyone in the crowd was up for a good night ahead and a bit of an adventure.

Our adventure did not start well. The 4 of us got separated almost from the off and many mobile calls later and a few missed meeting points finally all met up again about 7 miles into the ride. We then rode into the night following the trail of blinking red lights. We reached Moreton at 10:50 and stopped for a pint as did most of the riders. It's great to see a whole Essex village overtaken by a mass of people on 2 wheels all having a good time. The rest of the evening then ticked away. The moon shone down on us through silvery clouds. We had a spell with a fancy dress couple who were playing some of our favorite hits. Soon we were heading into Sible Hedingham for the half way stop. I'm not sure what time it was exactly but think it was around 1:30am. We stopped before the warm hall, doh!, and had 10 mins eating the food that we had carried before setting off again into the night.

For some members of the 4 the second half probably felt a lot longer than the first but soon the sun was coming up and we were only 20 miles from Dunwich. The miles passed beneath our wheels on the pleasant Suffolk lanes and eventually we were on the downhill run to the beach cafe and a much needed/wanted cup of tea and breakfast.

The Dynamo is a great night out and I'm sure we will be there again next year hopefully with an even bigger group.

If you want to get a feel for it go listen to the podcast at http://thebikeshow.net/dunwich-dynamo-redux/ while you have a post ride cup of tea like I did today (the player is at the bottom of the page) :-)


  1. It was a great evening - even though I wasn't as strong as last year! As Richard said, it was amazing to see so many people on some many different bikes - glad that the wet afternoon didn't deter too many... already planning next year; a Milk Bikes 'Milk & Cookie Stop' anyone??

  2. Nice one buddy...good to see you again. Pity it's wasn't for long. We also spent some time with the tunes duo in the wee hours of the morning. Sorry to hear you had some issues early on...glad things got better. Once again was an awesome eve, and happy the rain stayed away. Take it easy pal.

  3. If you can,t wait a year for more overnight antics try the Exmouth Exodus, http://www.exmouthexodus.co.uk/. A really great ride that's growing in popularity year on year. Loving the look of your Milk Bikes....