A Night On The Tyres – PC Sales Manager Takes To The Open Road On A Completely Different Mission …
With huge media attention being focused on the early British stages of this year’s Tour de France, one of our nation’s very-much-less-publicised cycling events – The Dunwich Dynamo – has paled even further into insignificance.
But for our man in Lycra, the challenge of completing the gruelling 114 mile cycle ride from Dulwich in South London to Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast was of great importance. Now almost fully recovered from an earlier sporting injury, Pete Bourne, Sales Manager of Precision Ceramics, was determined to complete the DD in record time and the office and shop floor staff were right behind him – almost buzzing with it in fact!
Britain’s crazily congested roads combined with our hectic lifestyles mean that it is very hard to find both the time and the space to enjoy a long and continuous cycle ride. But cycling at night provides the almost perfect solution. There are no office hours to abide by, hardly any traffic to contend with, virtually no delays and no endless stopping and starting. As a result, night rides are becoming increasingly popular and during the summer’s short warm nights there are a wealth of nocturnal events taking place all over the country.
Left: The Dunwich Dynamo riders assemble in Dulwich. If you fancy it, you just turn up!
One of the biggest and longest-established events, the Dunwich Dynamo, is a free-wheeling, turn-up-and-ride affair that has been held annually since 1993. With only one letter different between the names of the start and end points, there’s something quite fascinating about this annual event but it was never intended to be that way. It all began when a group of couriers, tired and emotional after a long week dodging traffic in the capital, decided that they could do with some sea air and were going to ride to the coast. They headed north-east out of London and kept going, and going, and going, until 114 miles later they hit the far edge of Suffolk just as dawn was breaking over Dunwich.
The couriers enjoyed their trip so much they decided to do it again the following year, choosing the Saturday nearest the full moon at the end of July.
Right: The route map from Dulwich to Dunwich – only one letter different but 114 miles apart!
They stuck to their same well proven formula – no organisation, no support vehicles, no mechanical back-up, no entry fees, not even an official start time. You bring your own water, puncture kits and energy bars. It’s not a race, it’s a journey. There is no winner – and if you fancy it you just turn up and go.
And that’s just what Pete and his close friend, Mark Stammers – a local wine merchant – decided to do. Having taken the train from Birmingham to London, they joined over 1,500 other bike riders in South London to begin the ride as dusk fell on the capital. Under the cover of darkness they rode through the Essex and Suffolk countryside, via unlit lanes and sleepy villages, stopping only for refreshment outside some of the late-opening pubs on route and after eight long hours, they arrived safely, tired but exhilarated, in Dunwich.
Once the ancient capital of East Anglia, Dunwich is nowadays no more than a pretty little village on an endless shingle beach. There’s little to see there, but its peace and tranquility is a perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life especially after a long, all-night ride.
Left: Relaxing on Dunwich Beach after a long hard night’s cycle ride.
Pete and Mark had made it and following a good old fry up at the local café – which had opened early to capitalise on the annual one-day wave of visitors – they loaded their bikes onto an articulated lorry and boarded one of the fleet of coaches for the only semi-organised part of the DD, the journey back to London.
A little stiff but incredibly happy after completing the challenge, Pete was back at his desk by 8.00 a.m. on Monday morning and already thinking about sales of Alumina, Boron Nitride, Macor, Shapal and all things ceramic.
In complete contrast to the stillness and calm of the Essex and Suffolk countryside, the phones started to ring and another busy week began. “Have you got one of these?” “How long will it take to manufacture that?” But what tales there were to be told in-between calls and what mad adventures to reflect on.
Congratulations Pete (and Mark). The whole of Precision Ceramics and McGeoch Technology beyond are very proud of your achievement.
Even from the other side of the Atlantic where he was on a business trip, a huge ‘well done’ arrived by email from PC’s Managing Director, Steve Swallow.