Over the past decade we’ve become well-used to the sight of a lycra-clad GP in the throws of a mid-life crisis, pumping furiously at the pedals of his carbon fibre road bike. No doubt former chief whip Andrew Mitchell is still marauding about Islington on his Reflex Westminster, looking for a local policeman to shout at. What you may not have noticed however, is the growing number of cyclists hitting the road at nighttime in search of that rare but exquisite nocturnal health kick.
It all started back in the 1990s with a gang of restless London couriers. Fed up from a long week of dodging traffic, they took the A104 heading north-east out of the capital, not stopping until they’d reached a sleepy village on the Suffolk coast 114 miles away. As the sun started to rise and the endorphin rush kicked in, these pioneering cyclists vowed to return to this place every year: the Dunwich Dynamo was born.
Fast forward two decades, and the Dynamo has become an underground cycling sensation. Last July an estimated 3000 people took the candle-lit route through Essex, delighting in empty A roads and a shared sense of lunacy. Every year the costumes get more fantastical and a story will emerge of so-and-so from this or that cycling club who did the whole thing on a Boris Bike – or was it a penny-farthing?
‘But I don’t live anywhere near London!’ I hear you cry. Don’t fret. The Dynamo’s legend has spawned a host of similarly alliterative events across the country, from the Exmouth Exodus to the Scarborough Scramble, providing multiple opportunities for the bicycle-curious. So what are you waiting for? In the immortal words of the late Freddie Mercury, get on your bikes and ride!