Dunwich Dynamo - 16/17 July

Dunwich Dynamo - 16/17 July

21 Jul 16

From Mark without whom this Wheelers' trip would never have happened.

Well, having advertised that I wanted to do the Dunwich Dynamo for almost a year and starting with a lot of enthusiasm from members I booked a 33 seat coach. I decided that I wanted to do a BBQ breakfast for the people when they arrived at Dunwich plus bike transfer home. As time went by I became disappointed by the number of people who weren't prepared to commit, so I almost cancelled the whole thing! But I'm so glad I didn't as the troops who really wanted to do it rallied round to find more people who would share the cost of the coach, food, and bike transfer back to Ware - some even agreed to pay more for it. I am very grateful for this as, when it came to the day of the event, I don't think anyone was disappointed with it.   Two volunteers helped me along the way; Peter Bloomfield drove my van to Dunwich for the bike transfer back and Darren Webb got the food for breakfast and transported everything we needed to prepare the food in time for the riders' arrival at Dunwich. They worked together so we who rode the DD had a safe trip there and a "get out of trouble" card in case there were any problems along the way. I do want to stress how grateful I am to both Darren and Peter for all their help and the work they did to help me and everyone else involved in the Dunwich Dynamo.  You were both fantastic and we couldn't have done it without you.     On the day of the event most met me at Ware to put their change of clothes in the van. We then headed to the train station for Hackney and the short ride to London Fields. When we finally all met up there we set off at around 20:30 heading north through a very busy East London - busy not with cars but with thousands of cyclists, including about 12 wheelers and a few guests. We managed to stick together in London but as soon as we reached Epping forest we began to split up. Some kept together but when the sun set and it was night it was almost impossible to tell who was who.  With a southerly wind all the way to Dunwich and a dry, warm night everyone made good time to the first major feed station at Sudbury put on by the local fire station. I have never seen such a big queue for food at any cycling event! This was where we all met up for the last time before the finish 50 miles away as we had decided to make our own way there at whatever pace suited us.   I think most of us got to Dunwich for around 05:30/06:00. Marcia and I got back a little later as we stopped again at about 90 miles for a tea stop and a CAKE for me. This event was Marcia's first 100 mile bike ride and she absolutely smashed it by doing 112 miles through the night. And what an event to do your first 100 miles - well done Marcia you were fantastic! When we arrived we were greeted by Darren and Peter who made sure everyone was fed, watered and looked after. They had been up since 04:00 to make sure they were there for us! As we was all there relatively early I phoned the coach company up who came a little earlier for us. The coach was comfortable enough but could have had a more courteous driver.   All in all we all had a great time. We all saw some amazing sights; the sun setting and a massive orange ball rising up into the morning sky, all from the comfort from the saddles of our bikes.   Thanks to all who came along and shared the most amazing event I've ever done

There's no pleasing some people. You arrange a coach to bring them home but they still insist on riding back. Here is Sam Lipscombe's report

DunRun 2016 out and back by Sam Lipscombe Matthew Robinson meeting me in Ware before setting off facilitated my procrastination by allowing me to make us one final pourover coffee. Over this brew he convinced me to completely change up my bike luggage setup quite confident I wouldn’t need my full winter kit through the night. He was right it was lovely weather on the road for 18 hours – Shorts and a jersey throughout! Gulping the last of our refined tasting coffee our thoughts swallowed into the mindfulness only cycling long distances through the night could achieve.

My safety blanket (jacket) jiggling, precariously cable tied to my handlebars we were off at 8.30pm in no sort of rush knowing we in fact had all night to get going. Joining the route in Epping worked out well. Although missing the atmosphere at the start the smog of anticipation and excitement which can only be absorbed with traffic and pollution were still forged in our memories from our past 2 Dunwich exploits. Merging seamlessly like worker ants on their way to some dropped rock confectionary we proceeded into the night.

A tailwind all the way, legs feeling great we were at Dunwich by 4:20am (110 miles from Ware). The journey was great, if people didn’t have brilliant lights they were on a crazy bike and sometimes it was both! Lifeless as the shingles, the coast was aflood with tired cyclists and their bikes. A sausage roll in hand we were able to watch the sun rise over the channel before stiffly mounting our bikes for the return journey.
The ride back was brilliant in the beginning. Getting to see so many more cyclists riding their contraptions, enduring eyes on tired faces, the inferno of motivation fuelled by camaraderie and nearing the finish. The cyclists soon thinned out leaving in their wake a headwind that would stay with us for the rest of the journey.
Stocking up on headwind mashing greasy calories in Little Chef I was fresh eyed (after picking the bugs out!) and excited to go into the new dawn. Matt at this point felt the exact opposite and now wanted the ride to be finished. Attempting to tow him along whilst he recovered I just got  too excited and sped off the moment I sensed an up or down hill, this fashion continued throughout the morning until we eventually settled on a sustainable rhythm. Energy transferring all around, sun to body heat taken away by headwind, pedals turning throughout.  Long thoughts to produce short sentences dropped from not making sense. Stopping longer on each break we eventually get to the longest break of all. A great ride, enjoyed every (210) mile of it.

From Adrian Hughes

Dunwich Dynamo - Without a shadow of a doubt, the best event I have done. Loads of fantastic memories.,, the amazing atmosphere at London fields... The slow journey through London... Happy smiley people.., the antagonists... The effort people had made to light up their bikes. Talking to random people along the way. The silly bikes. The queues at the fires station BBQ. Flying into Great Barfield in the Paragon team chain gang. Just how good the tea tasted.. The banter in the group .. The drunk in the road. The sunrise... "Taking it easy" on the last stretch.,, the welcome sight of the sea... The tea( again) then the beer. Darren Webb and Peter Bloomfield with the BBQ... Swimming in the sea... Mm mm. More beer.... Now to bed. Happy days.

From Graham Knight

If you haven't done the DD you must, especially if you have Mark to organise you a nice warm, dry night and a tail-wind. I just love the fact that this event more-or-less organises itself; no entry forms, no start or finish times, no corporate sponsors. Feed stops self-organise along the way staffed by a mixture of volunteers and entrepreneurs. Pubs stay open until the early hours enabling riders to experiment with a variety of hydration strategies. Local residents come out in the night to observe and lend encouragement. I have never ridden through the night before and found the experience magical. Usually there would be flashing red lights ahead showing the way but sometimes I was alone with just my dynamo light piercing the blackness. Hills seemed less menacing when I couldn't see how long they were! The tail-wind, the exhilaration and the many groups to hang on to made for a faster pace than I expected. This left plenty of time for the Sudbury fire-station BBQ plus another feed station in someone's front garden near Framlingham. I arrived at 05:30 which left time for tea and a sausage roll in the café before Peter and Darren arrived with the vans. The sun shone, the sea sparkled and the sausages and bacon tasted as good as they smelled. Thanks to Mark, Peter and Darren for making it all happen! From Peter Walton Having ridden several night rides, I thought that I had a good plan as to how to ride this.  However it didn't turn out as expected.  With an unusually (for me) slow start due to traffic, I eventually started to pick up speed after about an hour or so but was still unable to keep up with the rest of the Wheelers.  Habitually, being the last of the group, I seemed to be consistently held up at traffic lights - watching the others disappear.  Eventually I gave up all thought of keeping up and rode my own ride.  Saw Mark briefly at Dunmow (he was looking for Marcia), although I assumed that she was ahead with the others as she had been riding very strongly up to that point.  So the sun vanished and the night lights came out.  Many bikes were a swirling mass of coloured lights, loud music and poor riding.  Several large, fast groups of "sportive riders" treated the roads as if they were closed road events and seemed to give little leeway to anyone (or anything) in their path.  However the atmosphere was wonderful, with any pub on the route heaving with cyclists.  Got to Sudbury and followed a sign to a Cafe that a young lad was holding but decided to bump this (queues) and move onto the Fire Station. Turned the corner and was shocked.  Hundreds covered the forecourt, the road and opposite.  I managed to pass through this but needed water.  Found a couple walking home and asked after a garage\superstore.  They pointed me in the right direction but forgot to tell me what turning to take at the roundabout.  So I ended up at Long Melford where the road was blocked by a Fire Engine.  A fireman came up to me to explain the problem, so I explained mine.  He started to give me directions then gave up and took me to the fire engine and gave me several bottles (no, not from the hose!) of water.  He wished me luck with the rest of my journey and I wished him luck getting back into the fire station! Soon a fast group overtook with GK hanging on at the back.  Took me a couple of miles to catch him and he said that he thought the others were in front.  I couldn't keep the pace and dropped back.  Gradually the sky lightened and to my surprise most of the other Wheelers caught and passed me.  By now I was fully committed in my "get to the end" mode and got to Dunwich soon after 06:00. Due to my "300" the previous night and only two hours sleep separating the two events I really hadn't thought things through.  I had only confirmed to Mark on Saturday afternoon that I was "in", and knew that this wasn't really fair on him.  So I didn't enquire about any arrangements other than the coach home.  I should have taken a change of clothes.  I didn't expect the fantastic contributions\efforts from Mark, Peter & Darren.  I hadn't thought about what a couple of thousand riders\bikes would do at the beach.  I didn't know the pub would be open (probably all night?).  Having a couple of pints pre 10:00 was a novel experience for me.  Large pantechnicons were being loaded with bikes and coaches were arriving for the riders.  It was a carnival experience made all the more magical by the all-night warm weather.  A BBQ on the beach followed by a couple of beers followed by a few zzzzz's on the coach.  Got home for a hot bath, but found that the immersion heater had failed to come on (again). Do it again?  I said no at the time, but who knows.  Many thanks to Mark for all his efforts.