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Road cycling in Dorset (Poole, actually)

After a few years of regular road cycling, life got in the way, and I struggled to find the time to ride. But after relocating to Poole a few months ago, I resolved to make the time and explore my new neighbourhood by bike.

But then I got a bit stuck because I couldn’t find decent road routes. I would look at maps, pick a destination and head out, only to discover dull, busy roads that were not scenic, or challenging, or even very pleasant. I clearly needed help finding the right places to go cycling.

I looked online for ideas, but couldn’t find any routes or advice. The local cycling clubs are welcoming but challenging; their rides tend to be epic – not ideal for my rusty knees or limited fitness!

I was feeling a little despondent about cycling in Poole when I spotted a tell-tale gathering of lycra-clad men and women outside Ride bike shop one morning. To my delight, it turns out that Ride organise weekly cycling events – both on- and off-road.

If you fancy cycling with other people, I highly recommend joining the Ride bunch for an outing or two. They offer a few different on-road options, designed to suit all abilities. Their Saturday morning rides alternate between 2 hour rides and 1-hour rides – so if you’re totally new to road cycling or returning after a break, you can really ease yourself back on to the saddle.

Ride with Ride

 

 


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Preparing for the Dunwich Dynamo bike ride: what’s required?

Dunwich Dynamo Departure

So, you want to ride the Dunwich Dynamo? Good for you!

Once you’ve booked your ticket home from Dunwich, there are a few things to consider…

Food and drink

Fantastic halfway-point refreshments are available at Great Waldingfield, but remember that you’ve got to cycle about 60 miles first. How much will you need to eat and drink to take you 60 miles?

Remember too that you could puncture on your way to the rest stop. You could puncture, get lost or turn up to the village hall too late to get a sandwich. So aim for self-sufficiency – at least enough food to help you cope with a few surprises. Aim for variety too. Sugary energy gels and drinks are great, but you need to balance them out with something more substantial, something less sweet and something more food-like. Sugary things can leave you feeling queasy.

Food doesn’t have to consist of expensive sports-specific snacks. Try:

  • malt loaf (Soreen is great!)
  • fig rolls
  • bananas
  • cake
  • sandwiches
  • sweets
  • pasta

 

Bike readiness

Your body is going to have enough to do on this ride, so don’t make it any harder by allowing your bike to needlessly fail. Get your bike serviced if it’s overdue a checkup, but otherwise check:

  • gears
  • brakes
  • tyres
  • nuts and bolts (including cleat screws!)

Lights

Some people do the DD with teeny LED lights that can barely illluminate a dusty cupboard, while others use super-bright mega-lights that turn night to day. What would you prefer? If you’re going to do a few night rides consider investing in proper night lights. I love cycling at night, especially when I can cycle faster, more safely with good lights.

Clothing

It’s hard to prepare for every eventuality. But whatever the weather, you’ll spend most of the DD exercising vigorously, so your first consideration is about dressing for exercise. Cycling shorts and jerseys make a good starting point, because they provide good physical comfort while you’re working hard.

Late in the night, when the temperature cools and the sun is long gone, you’ll probably want something to cover your arms and legs (although in 2010 the night was so mild that shorts and short sleeves suited many cyclists throughout the journey).

Flexible items like arm and leg warmers are perfect because you can easily adapt to changing conditions without being burdened by bulky clothing.

It may rain – indeed it could rain all night long, so be prepared to cycle through it. If bad weather is forecast you may want to include waterproof gear.

Weight

Remember that all your equipment and food adds to the weight you carry – so think twice before adding items to your pack. You want to be prepared, not overburdened.

The morning after

Depending on how quickly you ride, you could spend 4-8 hours on the beach at Dunwich, waiting for your ride home. That beach can be rather chilly, so pack a jumper or something to wear when you’re finished. I was also oddly grateful for the toothbrush and wrap of toothpaste I’d packed. And make sure you have cash to pay for a fry up from the Dunwich cafe!

Fast or slow?

There are two schools of thought:

1. The DD is a fun ride and a social event. It’s a slightly bonkers experience that takes you through the night on a magical tour of flat wilderness. The DD is to be savoured at your leisure.

2. The DD is a race! It’s fun and weird, but it’s a race! How quickly can you get there?

Most people view the DD as a fun ride – not one to rush. How will you ride the Dun Run?


Road cycling in Dorset (Poole, actually)

After a few years of regular road cycling, life got in the...
article post

Preparing for the Dunwich Dynamo bike ride: what’s required?

So, you want to ride the Dunwich Dynamo? Good for you! Once...
article post