Dunwich Dynamo 2014

Nearly a week has now gone by since our first Dunwich Dynamo, the legendary night ride between Hackney and the Suffolk coast that takes place on the Saturday closest to the full moon in July.

The ‘Dun Run’ has grown from a handful of bike messengers who rode the first Dynamo in 1993 to around 2000 riders of all types these days. We saw hardcore racers, tall bikes, Bromptons, knackered old MTBs and pretty much everything in between.

There’s a growing number of night rides these days but there’s nothing quite like the Dynamo, with its lack of waymarks or on-ride support, its minimal organisation and the utter chaos involved in getting anywhere from an obscure little village on the Suffolk coast on a Sunday morning.

We absolutely loved it. From the cyclist rat-runs that get you out of the big city to the potholed lanes of Essex to the confusing final miles in rural Suffolk, the 120-mile route is pretty flat and, thanks to the prevailing south-westerly winds, reasonably quick – we averaged 15mph without really trying.

The spirit of the ride was summed up when we pulled into a feed stop somewhere on the borders of Essex and Suffolk. Like every other feed stop, this one was unofficial and manned by volunteers. Wandering around a darkened garden, we asked a passing stranger if there were any toilets. The stranger turned out to be the owner of the house, who told us as he led us to the bathroom in his home that he’d laid on the refreshments because he used to ride the Dynamo each year and knew that riders might be flagging as they passed his house. Given the low prices he was charging, he was clearly doing it simply for the love of the ride.

After 120 gloriously warm, slightly damp miles, we rolled into Dunwich, where the done thing is to jump into the sea for a refreshing dip before contemplating the tortuous journey home. That journey was pretty grim, far too expensive and seemingly endless. Long overnight rides wreak havoc with your sleep patterns. And exhaustion made the start of this working week feel like a monstrous ordeal. But we’ll definitely be back for another Dun Run – just for the love of the ride.