Cycle-sport is fascinating. You can learn a lot from studying it, even more from taking part; but – really – trying to go fast on a push-bike is perverse. If you want to go fast get a motorbike. When travel is voluntary there’s no problem with going slowly. If travel is a pleasure why would you want to get it over as quickly as possible? The real point of a push-bike is to go slowly.
Going slowly means that – if you want to make the kind of trip that can be drawn on a 30th Anniversary Ortleib pannier, away from polar regions in Summer – you’re going to spend some time riding in darkness.
Nowadays the Dunwich Dynamo has plenty of alliterative homage.
- the Dorset Dash
- the Exmouth Exodus
- the Flamborough Flim Flam
- not to mention the brand new Dalston Dynamo
In twenty years riding all night has migrated from almost secret vice for lonely old men to become an established niche in the many-roomed mansion of bicycle-madness.
At this time of year some people email to ask: “How to register?” “Are there places left?” even “How much does it costs?” It’s more of a pleasure than a chore to explain to them that it’s just a ride to the coast. Turn up. Set off. Have fun.
When people ask “if I organise it?” I counter with an illustrative question who organises Christmas?
It just happens.
Jez Hastings – co-founder of the Dunwich Dynamo – rode the Centenary Paris-Brest in 1991. The Dynamo’s start – rolling out of a capital city in the evening – is a self-conscious homage to that great event. The Dunwich Dynamo – like the Paris-Brest – now attracts a range of pop-up cafés along the route. These range from the long established professionals…
Your cycle event passes through the village of Peasenhall where I have a business called Emmett’s. We have been in operation since 1820 making traditional hams and bacon and held a Royal Warrant for over 35 years.
We have now opened up a cafe serving teas, coffees and light meals.This has proved to be very popular.The reason for my email is to highlight this service in respect of the Dunwich Dynamo and to see whether we could have a link to your site.
I look forward to hearing from you
…to enthusiastic front-garden gazebo and camping-gaz amateurs.
The growth of pop-ups seems to be reaching a breakthrough but it’s not all positive.
Since I suggested the food stop at ********* I have been getting some very worrying feedback from local residents who are deeply unhappy at the behaviour of some of the riders who cause considerable and prolonged disturbance as they pass through the village, causing many folk a sleepless night. The intention was that our local Guides group run the food stop, as my daughter is in Guides and this was to raise funds for her work in ********, but I am very concerned that as we will present a fixed target for local resentment the risk of an unpleasant reaction on the night is too great for us to take. In view of this I have taken the decision to abandon the idea. This is obviously a great shame but even if there is no reaction on the night the blame for any disturbance will be laid at the door of Guides and my family, and this is something I cannot afford to risk.
This gracious withdrawl is a symptom of a persistent problem.
We all know riding a bike doesn’t make you a nice or sensible person. Some people are so dumb that – because they set off from Brixton, Shoreditch or Homerton and have only been riding a bike – they think they’re still in the inner-city deep in sleepy Suffolk. Others, following the modern delusion that riding a bike gently for 185 kilometres is some kind of ordeal, worthy of being sponsored to collect money for homeless pandas, don’t have the capacity to consider the feelings of others. Like hikers on the summit ridge of Everest shuffling grimly past the dead and dying they can’t think beyond their own survival.
Most of the persistent disturbance comes from distressed pilgrims debating navigation at junctions. Someone stops because they don’t know the way and aren’t following the route-sheet. Another clueless nitwit rocks up and they start a conversation. A third person arrives. The first decides it’s time to adjust their wardrobe or eat a sandwich, more come through, before you know it there’s an impromptu cocktail party going on.
Now don’t get me wrong. The Dunwich Dynamo is a social event, but there are plenty of rural lay-bys, isolated verges and moon-lit glades to stop for a snooze, a cigarette or even some frantic networking far removed from bedroom windows. The idea is to show control, for a thousand seasoned tourists to pass like ghosts leaving ne’er a banana skin to betray their stealthy passage.
Instructions on how to make a handy routing information holder for less than one pound will follow shortly.
If you’re planning to make the trip this year – why not? – please set a good example, make it look easy and – softly – encourage others to do the same.