What a great event this is...a real “must do” for those that haven’t done it already.
Started in 1993 by a bunch of cycle messengers who thought that, after a few beers, it would be good to ride towards the full moon and see where they end up.
Not unlike these pioneers, 23 BRC members encamped in their usual spot outside the Pub on the Park in London Fields, Hackney for some pre-ride libation. It was warm and sunny and the atmosphere was amazing.
8pm and in typically chilled Dunwich Dynamo manner, some 2000 cyclists begin to roll past the pub, into the busy Saturday night streets of East London and head North East to the beach!
The gang stayed together for the first 20 miles or so up to Epping Forest and then we began to assemble into our comfortable groups as we sped through the darkening Essex villages and countryside.
The first main stop was The Black Bull at Fyfield around 40 miles in where we topped up on fluids, crisps and Ben tried to redesign the façade of the pub!
The miles then flew by as we whizzed along the virtually car fee lanes that link these very quaint English villages and aimed for the traditional midpoint stop of Sudbury. Myself, Neil, Jamie, Siobhan, Ben M, Ollie E and Ronnie ignored the always packed Fire Station and opted to stop at the Torque Cycle Shop as Jamie’s legs….sorry gears were playing up! Very friendly service and good coffee albeit the food options were a little limited.
We scooped up a few others who had stopped at the Fire Station and headed out into the inky blackness of night time in the sticks. A couple of wrong turns on my faltering Garmin and the superior leg speed of Siobhan and her “crèche” meant that I was soon pedalling alone, and I really do mean alone. There was a stretch at around 02:30 near Coddenham where there wasn’t a soul in sight for around 30 minutes; very eerie but so peaceful.
Around 03:00, I stopped at a lovely farmhouse in Bradeston that was serving bacon baps and hot coffee for just £1.50! A very welcome break as I was getting quite cold. A few others joined me and allowed us focus on the last 20 miles or so. Sadly the queue for baps and coffee had grown significantly and so I continued on just as the colour of the sky started to change and the Yellowhammers began their dawn chorus.
Just a couple more sleepy villages and one last hill and all of sudden you arrive 120 miles later at Dunwich Beach. Siobhan’s group were first to arrive with Neil, Jamie and I arriving at 4.54 just to see the sun rise above the horizon. Not long after, the rest of the gang arrived with a few brave individuals plunging into the refreshing North Sea for a dip before we all retired to The Ship Inn with a full English breakfast and a pint!
A fantastic ride and made all the better by the company and also Darren Dunwell’s great organisation of the transport home. Coach ticket sales to guests meant that we have made around £500 profit for the club.