Or so I told myself after having very little of it this weekend. The evenings are the most inviting part of these hot days and this weekend the outdoor air was more tempting than a bed for the night. I spent Friday sleeping under the stars, and Saturday cycling through the night.
By sundown Friday we had hiked our sleeping bags and dinner up to the top of Mottistone Down, and watched the light fade. I haven’t slept outside without a tent since I was a teenager (and back then it was only an impromptu post-pub lie down). Sleeping outside is its own entertainment and, despite carrying my heavy book and torch up the hill, I was more than happy just watching the sky change, spotting the lights of boats out at sea, and listening to the changing sounds in the woods below us. We slept across the middle of what is by day a very busy path, but by night was a perfect quiet spot for two.
I woke up to the dawn on Saturday morning with a hankering for more summer nights of adventure. And so I made last-minute plans with my dad to ride the Dunwich Dynamo. That guy will never say no to an adventure.
This overnight ride takes hundreds of cyclists 120 miles from London to the Suffolk coast. From the moment we started cycling across central London we were swept along in an ever-growing number of bikes, all headed to London Fields for the start line. We prepared for the ride with a can of a stout and a fresh-faced ‘before’ picture.
The group effect never wore off, as our critical mass took over the roads leading out of London, and on to the lanes of sleepy villages, people spilling out in to the road as they stopped at the pub for a quick pint or cup of coffee (much-derided by the landlords). This ride is a long way, so I left the boozing for people made of stronger stuff. I was on the sugary tea.
The roads were perfectly-sized for a group of bikes and we streamed along amongst flashing back lights, hi vis jackets, spinning spoke LEDs, and strings of fairy lights. The countryside might be dark, but there was no way you’d miss us. The just-rock-up-and-ride nature of the Dun Run creates a fabulous mix of machines and easy camaraderie. There’s nothing competitive about it; we’re all just trying to stay awake and make it to the beach. Which we did, after a few power-naps (on Dad’s part) and every last snack in my bar bag. By the morning light we piled into the tiny seaside hamlet of Dunwich, cheered on by a friendly welcome party, and availed ourselves of double breakfast- one at the beach cafe, the other at the pub. This ride is one for your diary- challenging, friendly, and a definite summer night adventure.