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Gorgeous video shows last weekend's Dunwich Dynamo - from the air

Drone footage of overnight ride from London to the Suffolk coast is absolutely mesmerising

We watch a lot of bike-related videos here at road.cc as you may imagine, and try to share the best with you - and this one, shot from a drone above last weekend's Dunwich Dynamo, is one of the best we've seen.

Now a firmly established and much-loved part of the UK's cycling year, the event celebrated its 25th edition this year.

Urban myth has it that it the  Dunwich Dynamo was founded by bike couriers who decided on a whim to ride east, towards the moon, after an evening down the pub.

But as cycling writer Jack Thurston pointed out to us, the founding fathers of the overnight midsummer ride from east London to the Suffolk coast were Patrick Field and Jez Hastings.

Numbers have steadily grown year on year and now run well into four figures.  

Nowadays it leaves London Fields on the Saturday evening closest to full moon in July - meaning not only is it a short and (assuming a clear sky) relatively well-lit night, but one that sees particpants heading towards the rising sun, too. 

This article by James Walsh on The Guardian Bike Blog gives a real flavour of what it's like to ride the 'Dun Run' and the sense of togetherness it brings to the cyclists who take part, and some of the communities they ride through.

Once you're past Woodford and Epping, that is ...

> Video: Teens push bike into path of Dunwich Dynamo riders, causing crash 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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53 comments

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
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problem with modern/latest flashing rear lights is that they flash too quickly and are quickly irritating/distracting due to the amount of retina scorching lumens some of them unecessarily put out.

One of the best rear lights I've ever owned was a Knightlight, was maybe rated at .25 watt but it had a big arse and well constructed lens plus a built in reflector directly below it as part of the same lens. It had fast flash, steady and slow flash. the slow flash I thought was more than acceptable and yet you could easily see the light from a mile away on a straight road.

Far too many lights are overkill, particularly in urban enviroments, those using lighthouses whether on the street or on segregated/tow paths etc seriously need to be told to dim them down and put them on steady beam, it's almost worse than no light at all IMHO.

As for long lasting front lights, if one bothers to do some research one can find more than adequate front lights that will light your way in complete darkness for 8 hours on the back of 4xAA batteries and don't cost the earth.

personally I use a Sigma Pava, low lasts for an age and is good up to 17/18mph in the dicky dark, full beam works (for me at least) to 30+mph on downhill stretches that are really bumpy but where I know the lane. i don't find taking 4xAA batteries with me a chore and swapping them out takes but a few seconds.

Avatar
pl6125 replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

problem with modern/latest flashing rear lights is that they flash too quickly and are quickly irritating/distracting due to the amount of retina scorching lumens some of them unecessarily put out.

One of the best rear lights I've ever owned was a Knightlight, was maybe rated at .25 watt but it had a big arse and well constructed lens plus a built in reflector directly below it as part of the same lens. It had fast flash, steady and slow flash. the slow flash I thought was more than acceptable and yet you could easily see the light from a mile away on a straight road.

Far too many lights are overkill, particularly in urban enviroments, those using lighthouses whether on the street or on segregated/tow paths etc seriously need to be told to dim them down and put them on steady beam, it's almost worse than no light at all IMHO.

As for long lasting front lights, if one bothers to do some research one can find more than adequate front lights that will light your way in complete darkness for 8 hours on the back of 4xAA batteries and don't cost the earth.

personally I use a Sigma Pava, low lasts for an age and is good up to 17/18mph in the dicky dark, full beam works (for me at least) to 30+mph on downhill stretches that are really bumpy but where I know the lane. i don't find taking 4xAA batteries with me a chore and swapping them out takes but a few seconds.

Agree. There should be a lumen limit. It's getting idiotic. I'm often blinded by people who think they're being safe but are actually causing more of an issue.

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dottigirl replied to pl6125 | 6 years ago
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pl6125 wrote:

Agree. There should be a lumen limit. It's getting idiotic. I'm often blinded by people who think they're being safe but are actually causing more of an issue.

I find it's more about the angle of the light, beam distribution and pattern.

Learning all of the above - that you can't just stick any strong light on your bike - takes some time. Which means, maybe we should be looking at the point of sales rather than expecting all cyclists to learn and know this stuff? Or education?

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pl6125 replied to dottigirl | 6 years ago
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dottigirl wrote:
pl6125 wrote:

Agree. There should be a lumen limit. It's getting idiotic. I'm often blinded by people who think they're being safe but are actually causing more of an issue.

I find it's more about the angle of the light, beam distribution and pattern.

Learning all of the above - that you can't just stick any strong light on your bike - takes some time. Which means, maybe we should be looking at the point of sales rather than expecting all cyclists to learn and know this stuff? Or education?

Isn't it just plain common sense? But probably your suggestions are better in the absence of that.

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dottigirl | 6 years ago
4 likes

Flashing lights mean the battery lasts longer. I'm assuming everyone didn't have the time or funds to go out and buy decent lights that would last through eight hours of darkness. Or pick up a portable battery to charge them which isn't certain to last either. The year I did it, several people's lights didn't last the night. 

I don't have a problem with flashing rear lights on a group ride, as long as the setting isn't eyeball-burning and doesn't irritate. I'd rather they have lights than none at all.

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights. Probably not a good idea for most parts of the DD though as you really need to see the road. But, as mentioned above, he could've been running out of battery, or wanting to conserve it.

 

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Ush replied to dottigirl | 6 years ago
1 like
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

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mike the bike replied to Ush | 6 years ago
2 likes
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

 

I guess the emergency services have been getting it wrong all this time .....

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Ush replied to mike the bike | 6 years ago
0 likes
mike the bike wrote:
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

 

I guess the emergency services have been getting it wrong all this time .....

Do they claim that it makes them more visible or is it that the flashing lights were (before cyclists started using them) an unambiguous symbol that there was an emergency?

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Awavey replied to Ush | 6 years ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

Lighthouses ?

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Ush replied to Awavey | 6 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

Lighthouses ?

The flashing pattern is to encode some basic information about which lighthouse it is.

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abrooks replied to Ush | 6 years ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:
Awavey wrote:
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

Lighthouses ?

The flashing pattern is to encode some basic information about which lighthouse it is.

Car indicators?  

To be honest I think you are just being obtuse, I'm not sure what your point is.  I ride with flashing lights, day and night.   If you can stop drivers texting or checking facebook while driving I might consider stopping using them.  

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pl6125 replied to Awavey | 6 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

Lighthouses ?

Aircraft.

Avatar
Ush replied to pl6125 | 6 years ago
0 likes
pl6125 wrote:
Awavey wrote:
Ush wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

Flashing front lights are to be seen. They're usually more noticeable than steady lights.

I often see this asserted but haven't seen much evidence for it.

Lighthouses ?

Aircraft.

Aircraft have both static and flashing lights. It is not clear at all that the flashing makes them more visible. This answer[1] suggests that, similar to lighthouses, identification information may be part of the reason. This, poorly-sourced, wikipedia article on the detection of structures from aircraft[2] asserts that white flashing lights are not good because they blend with urban background "noise".

1. https://aviation.stackexchange.com/a/9728
2. " However, it has been recommended that flashing white strobes should not be used in densely populated areas; the lights usually merge with background lighting at nighttime, making it difficult for pilots to spot them and thereby aggravating the hazard" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_warning_lights

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BarryBianchi replied to Ush | 6 years ago
3 likes
Ush wrote:

Aircraft have both static and flashing lights. It is not clear at all that the flashing makes them more visible.

I've been a pilot for just over 30 years, and am now an instructor. I can assure you, it's entirely clear.

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theironduck | 6 years ago
0 likes

There's the Exmouth Exodus from Bath to Exmouth (who'd've guessed?) coming up on 5/6th August:

http://www.exmouthexodus.co.uk/

I've always fancied it but it generally clashes with holidays.  I might give it a go this year if I am not too knackered from RideLondon the weekend before.

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Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
0 likes

Damn...I really fancy doing one of these rides, but missed it (again).  Does anyone know of any similar rides coming up - ideally from London.  

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ibike | 6 years ago
1 like

Lovely video and, as others have said, the best advertisment for not setting your lamps to flashing on a group ride!

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80sMatchbox | 6 years ago
0 likes

It's a lovely video, with a different perspective of it, but to me it doesn't capture the atmosphere down on the road.

It's more a lesson in drone photography and not the best way to represent what's happening down on the road.

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Alessandro | 6 years ago
3 likes

Shameless plug* for the Ride to the Sun which is a similar event for those of us living in the top half of the country. This year's ride has already happened but well worth taking a look if you're interested for next year. It's a similar idea with a ride through the night from Carlisle to Cramond Beach in Edinburgh with stops at Moffat for chips and at the abandoned Crook Inn at Tweedsmuir for a cyclorave (you have to see it to understand). 

http://www.ridetothesun.co.uk/

* Not sure whether it can be a plug if I'm not responsible for organising...?

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ChetManley | 6 years ago
3 likes

Flashing rear lights are a no-no on a group night ride; extremely irritating for the rider behind.

Lovely video though, I'm doing it next year

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StraelGuy | 6 years ago
2 likes

Totally agree, a front light should show you where you're going and thus be a constant light. I regularly see a guy commuting in the dark in the dead of winter with only a flashing front light. Now he can see where he's going, now he can't, now he can, now he can't, now he can etc. etc. .

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StraelGuy | 6 years ago
8 likes

Nice video but I do find flashing front lights pointless and extremely irritating.

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STATO replied to StraelGuy | 6 years ago
2 likes
guyrwood wrote:

Nice video but I do find flashing front lights pointless and extremely irritating.

 

Its rediculous isnt it, your in a huge group of riders why do you need a flashing light.  You can even see the rider on the front with the slow flashing light is way less visible than any of the riders behind. 

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