19 July 2011

Dunwich Dynamo 2011: highlights and lowlights

What a fanstastic ride the Dunwich Dynamo 19th edition was! Really top 5 on my list.

  • Leaving home just after the last downpour had cleared out
  • Getting to Broadway Market and up to the Pub on the Park with loads of fellow night riders
  • The sight of hundreds of cyclists at the pub, from very young machaquitas to experienced middle-aged machacas, in all sorts of bikes and outfits
  • Bikes bikes bikes: carbon-made-in-Taiwan, skinny titanium, aluminium roads. Lots of vintage steel British beauties, fixies/singlespeed, recumbents (including trikes), tandems (including steel fixed), Boris bike (see report by Leo Ton - the rider - here!), 90s crappy mtbs, heavily loaded tourers, american army folding bike, bromptoms and fake bromptoms, and of course, the brave guy carrying his two dogs on board!
  • Leaving East London and clearing Epping Forest in a big group (that park is big!!!)
  • Sunset in the rolling Essex countryside following red blinking lights rather than cyclists

  • Nearly full moon and clear skies until 20 miles to Dunwich
  • Riding "solo" for some bits (no one else in sight but Lucy and I)
  • Manic bell-ringing old man as we passed by Sudbury at 3 am (I guess in support of us?!)
  • Seeing fellow riders having naps all over the place along the way (at 12 degrees C!)
  • Bacon roll stop in someone's garden (although we didn't stop to eat them)

  • Last 5 km riding into Dunwich Heath, a familiar place knowing that the beach was awaiting us
  • The sight of Dunwich beach packed with sleeping riders under patchy sunny skies

  • No mechanicals or punctures
  • Longest ever ride (196 km with 9 h riding time)
  • Swimming in the ocean (my very first time in the UK)!

  • Not a single bug on the beach was probably the best of all highlights!
  • Falling asleep on the bus back into London only to be abruptly awaken by yet another downpour somewhere on a highway: was all of this a dream?!


  • Seeing some very thoughtless folk riding with no lights
  • Dulwich rider with broken collarbone in Epping forest
  • Painful knees until I realised that I was wearing shorts at 12 degrees C!
  • Unconsiderate folk chatting loudly nearby houses at crazy am hours. There was plenty of countryside to yell...
  • Litter on the road, not only dangerous for passing cyclists, but certainly looks bad on all of us. If you can carry all that food with you, surely you can take the wraps back home.
  • Painful stomach-aches and severe sleep deprivation 90 miles into the ride
  • Lucy's soreness on the last 20 km induced by a combination of posture, cheap chamoix and long day (night) on the bike

  • 196 km door to door
  • 9 h of riding (not including cycling to Hackney)
  • 20.2 km/h average
  • 49.5 km/h maximum speed (not even the average on the flat managed by Le Tour de France machacas)
  • 2.5 h of stopping time on the ride
  • 3 coffees
  • 6 jamón ibérico sandwich rolls
  • ~6 litres of water (and countless wees!)
  • 8 AA batteries (to feed the front light)
  • Some 1300-1400 cyclists
  • ~640 riders taken back to Smithfields by the Southwark people on coaches
  • 3 h and 15 min to get back on the bus (including getting lost in East London)

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