Pilgrimage to the East Coast
So, the Dunwich Dynamo rolls around again.
Newbies quake and rally around the old timers, desperate for some reassurance. Stories of Boris bikes and Penny Farthings get rolled out to relieved sighs and glances.
It’s easy to see how many people fear the dynamo.
First, it’s a night ride, and exhaustion hits that much harder when coupled with sleep deprivation. Second, it involves some serious pack riding. Thousands of cyclists jostling for positions and lines, most unaware of the fine etiquette of the peloton. Third, it’s two hundred bloody kilometers long. Oh, lorks.
But the Dynamo isn’t a harsh or unkind mistress. She does not cause you to fall to the roadside, to walk home, or call a cab.
She does not force suffering or pain or injury. That is not to say she is not demanding – but demands are achievable.
The riders biggest enemy is their own fear.
When viewed through the warm haze of 364 days recovery, the ride is beautiful. It is the fine wine of the randonneur, the subtle blue cheese of the Audax rider. Like touring, but without the boredom. A night of fellowship and warm air gently swirling around your helmet. No tears and little sweat. Just take a chilled out pace and point northeast-ish. Keep going until the sun rises and you run out of land. Bliss.
The mind buzzes at the thought, buzzes like a thousand freewheel pawls, tapping their gentle rhythm all the way down from the hill from Epping.
Like a troupe of mechanical grasshoppers calling in the soft undergrass for a mate, so too does the well travelled road to Saxmundham call forward the rider.
Should a brother [or sister!] falter? A Samaritan stops, picks them up, puts them back on the bike and gives enough gentle encouragement to keep them going.
Should a mechanical strike? There are enough experienced mechanics about to put right any issue.
To the experienced, the Dunwich Dynamo loses it’s fearsome figure and becomes a pilgrimage.
Everyone finds something different in the warm night air.
Last year, I learned that anyone that told me I couldn’t do something was talking out of their arse. I learned that I could do anything.
I also learned that when the ‘Man With The Hammer’ comes calling at 5am regarding a debt of suffering I owed him, I could carry on regardless – despite him shaping me with mighty blows against the anvil of my naivety.
Subsequently, I learned to bring some satchets of Electrolyte powder this year.
I found peace, beauty and a feeling of all enveloping love, as the warm sunrise lifted my spirits and enlightened my soul.
Light cannot be observed to shine so bright without darkness, and the warm morning air must be contrasted to the chill of the pre dawn hours in order to be most appreciated.
Luckily, the best company awaits to carry you through the dark and into the embrace of the Framlingham butty stop.
Have courage, and know that the person that stands on Dunwich beach is a different person than the one that departs London fields.
Look forward to meeting that person, for they will have a most amazing story to tell.
Video: Is of a fellow DD rider and not me.