Dunwich Dynamo 2024

White Hart

Starting at the Pub on the Park, riders gather from 6pm and start this 112 mile overnight group cycle ride when they feel like it!

This is unusual, as for most group cycle rides, everyone starts at the same time. A sort of momentum develops like bats leaving a cave and suddenly they're off. But it's not a race, so no one has to hurry to set off.

Remember there will be people sleeping when you pass through villages at night. So please keep noise to a minimum.

The 112 mile route for this ride can be downloaded from here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24093.

This will be an opportunity to be part of this barely organised, turn-up-and-go overnight on-road bicycle ride - the stuff of legends! It's not a race. It's unsupported, no van following. There may be times when you, for a split second, wish you were tucked up in bed. But not for long, you'll love it.

Does the ride have its own secure website?          
It does now: https://www.dunwichdynamo.co.uk/

How many people ride it?               
170 did it in 2002. Only a couple dropped out along the way. Even in 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the ride still took place with several “Rule of 6” groups using staggered start times.

Who does it?               
A lot of really excellent cyclists, but mostly your average bike-to-workers for whom this is a very long ride. A wonderfully mixed bunch of bikers. A challenge. Most of them will have done day rides of 60-80 miles. 112 flattish miles is much easier than 80 hilly ones.

How long does it take?               
Most get to Dunwich between 7am and 9am the next morning......plus or minus 10 hours then. Depends on your pace and number of stops.

What's it like?               
Unforgettable atmosphere, it's a friendly adventure with great people along surprisingly traffic free country lanes. People settle into bunches at the pace they like and give each other the mental and, if possible, the mechanical support all the way to the sea. I like the glimpses of village Saturday night and the odd throbbing marquee in the middle of nowhere. The sense of very real achievement at the end is a huge lift that will stay with you. The worst bit is missing a night's sleep. But that's also the best bit. We ride into the sunrise.

Since when?               
People have been riding London to Dunwich on the July Saturday nearest the full moon since 1993. Legend has it that a few half-civilised City couriers just headed east after a post-work session one balmy Friday evening....and kept going till they hit the sea. Splash.

Where is Dunwich?               
Dunwich is about 200km (120 miles) north east of London on the Suffolk coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh. The wind should push us there.

What is Dunwich?               
A thousand years ago wool-rich Dunwich almost rivalled London. Coastal erosion means the medieval metropolis is now half a mile offshore, on a quiet night they say you can hear the watery tolling of the lost church bells. It's a great reminder that nothing stays the same, the ride gets shorter every year.

What's the route like?               
It leaves London surprisingly quickly, is all on tarmac, and once through Epping Forest, it's mostly unlit county lanes all the way with a few villages and small towns.

Topography/Contours/Nasty bits?               
Several short sharp hills, but mostly very flat. All tarmac.

What do I need?               
You'll need lights of course but it's a full moon on Sunday and there are so many stars. If you use city LED's you'll sometimes want to tuck in behind someone with a beam.....it can be dark out there and unnerving in the tree tunnels. Bring at least spare batteries, a pump, a spare inner tube or two.

What happens if my bike or I break down?               
There's no following magic bus to sweep you up or to mend your bike but fellow riders can often work wonders. The ride is unsupported. You are on your own. If you're in trouble, expect help from fellow riders. But if you just get too tired or a knee gives out or whatever, then you'll have to find a lift or cab to get you to the nearest station.

What happens at the finish?               
We head for Dunwich Beach. The wake-up swim is such a treat. So bring your swimmie. Or not. And breakfast at the very good beach cafe that opens specially for us at 6am for cooked ones (and morphs into a fish and chip shop for lunch). Most then snooze on the shingle a little, then have a beer or two.

But how do I get home?               
A few seasoned riders just turn round and spin back to London. Most get a coach or train. Some just cycle up the coast for a long weekend.

Survival tips:

Do some longish rides beforehand.

Don't overdo the alcohol etc for a few days beforehand.

Pack spare layers of clothes, it can be very warm or chilly or damp or wet.

Money. Always handy.

Jeans have lumpy under-seams that you don't notice for a few miles. Then you notice.

Tools: at least a pump and a couple of spare inner tubes. Tyre levers too.

Make sure your bike is in good nick. Give it a good clean and service a few days before. On the day, give it another look and, for example, flip it over and check the tyres for those infiltrating little bits of glass. If you've been thinking about getting new tyres, splash out before the ride.

Lights: you'll need them. Dynamo? LED's can last all night, but bring spare batteries anyway, tuck in behind someone with a beam for those tree-tunnel lane stretches.

Apply Vaseline, cream or calledula or similar if/before your bits get sore. Recumbent riders, they boast, needn't bother.

Carbo-loading works for me: a huge pasta meal the night before. A friend of mine swears by cutting out caffeine for a few days beforehand so that the 3am coffee really jolts.

Drink water before you get thirsty, snack and nibble before you get hungry. That way you'll avoid hitting the spirit-draining brick wall of no energy.

Don't sprint off with the skinny greyhounds unless you are one. Settle into a group doing a pace you like. If it turns out slow, dance in the pedals and catch a quicker group. Bit too fast? Drop off the group and wait to be caught up.

And just love it.

Registration Table

User Spaces Delete?
Nigel Bee 1