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Definitely not a sportive, the Dunwich Dynamo is nevertheless one of the 'must ride' events of the summer calendar for many cyclists. This year sees the 200km ride travel from London Fields in Hackney to Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast.The Dynamo is an unsupported ride that gets bigger every year. From its origins in 1992 when a handful of riders took part to the nearly 3,000 riders in 2017, the "Dun Run" or "DD" as regulars call it, is becoming more and more popular. It is roughly 200km, although we are told by a recent rider that his Garmin recorded it as 193km. This is one of the classic rides of the British summer calendar and the original night ride that is now being copied by so many others.
Sat, 13 Jul 2019
London, United Kingdom
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Where and when
London Fields, London E8 3PH, UK
Sat, 13 Jul 2019
The route leaves London on the Lea Bridge Road and Woodford New Road, it’s all on tarmac. Once through Epping Forest it’s a mix of unlit country lanes and winding B roads. Villages and small towns include Moreton, Leaden Roding, Great Dunmow, Great Bardfield, Finchingfield, Castle Headingham, Sudbury, Great Waldingfield, Needham Market, Framlingham, Peasenhall, Darsham, Westleton...
Rolling through Essex, across the flat Suffolk Prairies, there are some short short sharp hills in the last 40k getting smaller as the Lost City approaches.
How to get there
London Fields, London E8 3PH, UKGet full directions
The nearest station to the finish is Darsham, four miles back along the route from Dunwich. Capacity is limited here but as there were bikes all over the two-coach train two years ago they have banned bikes on trains from here!! You may be able to book from Ipswich.
Check Abellio and National Rail Enquiries for engineering work notices nearer the time – enter your journey and click ‘check for updates’. Abellio are not being helpful this year either so far.
Event day logistics
Be at the Pub on the Park by 8pm for a 9pm start. That’s PM. Saturday evening, 14th July 2019. There’s no mass start time; people start to leave when they feel like it after 8pm. A sort of momentum develops like those bats from a cave. Some leave much earlier and most can’t see the point of that. It’s not a race so why rush? If you want to ride faster leave later to avoid shivering on the beach.
What to bring
You will need lights! Although there are lots of stars out there and the near full moon make it surprisingly undark – there will be a full moon this year.
Your city tail-light will do the job but if your head-lamp can’t shine a beam on dark lanes you’ll need to keep-up with someone who’s can. It can be dark out there, unnerving in the gravely tree tunnels. Bring a pump, a spare inner-tube or two (and associated tools), and spare batteries if you might need them.
How many people ride it?
230 riders in 2003. Numbers have increased since, maybe 3000 in 2019 – we move 1,000 of those.
We see them every year but noticed them for the first time in 2005…on the quiet road ahead. Serotine bats (Eptesicus serotinus), the UK’s largest, are our only ones that sometimes land to feed. It looks like these have learnt to find moths and beetles etc. on the tarmac. They’ve got much better radar than hedgehogs so you needn’t even try to avoid them. And no, of course they won’t go for your jugular. Probably.
Where is Dunwich?
About 200km (120 miles) north east of London on the lonely Suffolk coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh, right next to the internationally important Minsmere bird reserve.
What is Dunwich?
A thousand years ago wool-rich Dunwich was as big as London. Coastal erosion means the medieval metropolis is now half a mile offshore. On a quiet night it’s said you can hear the watery tolling of lost church, bells. Nothing stays the same; this ride gets shorter every year.
Where is the start?
The ride meets on London Fields by the Pub on the Park, Martello Street, Hackney, E8.
There may be feeder rides – watch Facebook etc. – especially www.facebook.com/groups/DunwichDynamo/
How do I follow the route?
You’ll be offered a route-sheet at the start but the route is unsigned.There may be night-lights to Sudbury. You can follow the red-lights ahead — a memory that will linger — but don’t assume they all know where they’re going.
Look out for pop-up stops. More and more open each year.Carry food and water to avoid queues or disappointment at sold-out late night eateries.
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