: The overflow valve for my mind
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  Ride Index Rides - Dunwich Dynamo 2004 - Page 1 of 7 Page 2  
Part 1 - I lose my sanity

What on earth am I doing? I must be crazy. Its twenty past six on a Saturday evening and Iím sitting on a train platform watching the staff turn the lights out in readiness to go home. In five minutes my train will arrive and take my bicycle and I to London.

So whatís so crazy about that? Well Iíve been up since eight this morning, which is nothing spectacular until I think ahead to what Iím about to do. In summary, train to London, meet four hundred other people I donít know (other than about forty I only know through an internet chat room) and then weíll have a pint or two of beer while we watch the sunset. So far so good, then it gets a little crazed. Even without the beer thereís something not right, weíre going to cycle one hundred and twenty miles through the night so we can have a swim in the sea in Suffolk when the sun comes up.

So, back to the now. Iím on the platform, Iím hungry and all I have to eat is a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar. Over this unhealthy meal that will in no means keep me going all night I reflect on my preparations.


- Training. Iíve only ridden sixty miles in one go since February when I snapped a ligament in my shoulder. Before that I had a grand total of eighty miles in one go.
- Sleep. Not much this week.
- Rest. Iíve just moved a complete delivery of decking from the front drive delivery point to the back garden. In the process it fell over and crushed my ankle, splitting the skin of my shin. My ankle therefore hurts and my arms and back are aching.
- Food. A small breakfast, a bacon sandwich for lunch, and now a bag of crisps for tea. Iíve packed a couple of muesli bars, a malt loaf and a few sandwiches.
- Maps. I have one for the East of England, I have one for where weíre meeting. A quick double check and I realise that I donít know how to get from the train station to the start.
- Equipment. I oiled the chain, but other than that the bike hasnít had any servicing. New batteries in my back lights and a spare bulb for the front dynamo. Oh, and to break all the rules, a new helmet and gloves. I know I shouldnít wear them in case of blisters or discomfort, but my wife arrived home from work with them and I donít want to upset her by wearing my old battered dirty smelly ones that Iíve been moaning about.

Well, here comes the train, letís get this show on the road. Iíll have to stand the whole way as the two bike spaces are already in use. The trainís packed full of day trippers heading home from the beach. I suspect that most of them will be getting off at West Ham, theyíre all wearing purple and blue T-shirts with their train station emblazoned across the front. I wonder where I can get one with Fenchurch Street, or even better, Dunwich.

At Fenchurch street I ask the best way to Hackney but the staff only know which station I should be going to, they just donít seem to realise that I have my own transport. Thereís a couple of cyclists who were also on my train, they have rucksacks but not any apparent lights. In case they are part of this ride I ask them if they know the way to Hackney but theyíre lost as well, theyíre just bumming around (in their own words) and bicycles really are the best way to see the area.

  Ride Index Rides - Dunwich Dynamo 2004 - Page 1 of 7 Page 2  
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