Thursday, 14 July 2011

Dunwich Dynamo XIX

Besides the Latitude traffic on the A12, people in Suffolk ought to know there is a large cycling event on this weekend in Suffolk 16/17 July 2011 which isn’t officially organised and has very little publicity but it could see over 2000 cyclists leaving London on Saturday riding 120 miles through the night to Dunwich. 

This will be the 19th ‘Dunwich Dynamo’ where people just turn up in Hackney and ride to the coast from 8pm onwards. I like to think this is because of our natural herd instinct and demonstrates how we are capable of mutual trust and support. One cycle club organises coaches and removal vans for the journey home but many riders catch a train or just turn around and cycle back.

Route map thanks to GPX file by @adrianfitch

View Dunwich Dynamo 2011 in a larger map

As the route mostly goes through rural Suffolk, it may be useful for people to be aware that there will be a lot of tired and wobbly cyclists on the roads late at night and early Sunday morning and that any courtesy and encouragement people can give them is welcome. 

Another cycle club sets up a feeding station in the village hall at Sible Hedingham where last year it served over 2000 bacon butties and over the years, other impromptu stalls have popped up in Suffolk offering cakes, soup and coffee etc. This is the kind of civic generosity that the Suffolk Bike Aid scheme knows exists. Though there has, at times, been harassment of cyclists from yobs, this has been successfully dealt with by the police.

This year at least one rider will attempt it on a Boris Bike raising money for homeless charities. Previously an ice cream cart and a penny-farthing have made it successfully. 

It’s quite impressive and somewhat eerie to see Dunwich Beach at dawn on Sunday littered with the bodies of exhausted cyclists. Although the Flora Tea Rooms on the beach opens at 4 am for them, the queue soon becomes a very long wait. Now local businesses are waking up to this friendly invasion; the nearby Ship Inn will be open early and the cafĂ©/post office at Yoxford is offering a shuttle service to a full English and a head start to the train at Darsham.

This year's Dynamo will also be very poignant for many of the regulars as a principal actor Barry Mason died very recently while on holiday in Spain.
Next Dunwich Dynamo is the night of 30 June - 1 July 2012

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bike Fixtation

The model of offering the public free bicycle repair facilities keeps getting tweaked and improved. Readers of this blog have alerted us to Bike Fixtation.

Now in two locations in Minneapolis, USA, Bike Fixtation offers free tools and air with a stand of the type that is proliferating everywhere (well,  Cambridge MA and Fresno CA so far) as well as a vending machine that ideally is stocked with cyclist-useful items like patch kits, energy bars and so on.

This is wonderful but it is more complicated and quite an investment in floor space for the host over the Suffolk Bike Aid method and so demands traffic to justify it, but nevertheless, we hope it succeeds and we expect investors anticipating a return will drive their roll-out faster than our model.