THE POPULAR JULY NIGHT RIDE ON SATURDAY 1st JULY
Taking place on the Saturday nearest the full moon each July, this event doesn’t officially exist, There is no official organiser but thousands of cyclists converge at London Fields in Hackney before departing for the East Anglian coast.
We meet at the Polish War Memorial (A40 Ruislip / Northolt) at 6pm or at London Fields, Hackney at 8pm. Some riders will want to push on because they have a return journey, whilst those with coach bookings for the return are more likely to stop at the pubs and pit stops as well as the beach for breakfast at the end. The Dunwich Beach Cafe is open all night with cooked breakfasts from around 3.30am.
Naturally, lights are required and an extra layer of clothing in case of temperature drops. A few bars and gels may be a good idea too in case needed.
Riding from Ruislip, we intend to leave the Polish War Memorial at around 6pm (Please note that the route below starts at Ruislip Manor), riding to London Fields in Hackney and leaving there on the route from around 8pm. For those riding back, it is not intended to await the cafe’s cooked breakfasts, so we should be returning before 3am.
The return is the logistical headache. There are coaches organised by Southwark Cycles which can be booked in advance. Otherwise, public transport options are difficult as there are restrictions on cycles on most railways in the area. Riding all the way home can become a 400km DIY Audax, or riding back to Epping or Shenfield, a 300km DIY Audax (see below)
The one-way ride is about 180km and ends at the Dunwich beach, by the remains of an old monastery where the ancient village of Dunwich has been swallowed up by the sea. There is a cafe that will be open all night and starts serving cooked breakfasts after around 3am as the cyclists arrive. The beach is awash with cyclists all wondering about the journey home. Many sleep on the beach.
As noted above, the journey home is the conundrum, the East Anglian trains from Ipswich will not allow the bikes on the trains in any volume, many ride back, possibly a 400km round trip depending on where they live and some find local accommodation. Fortunately, most years Southwark Cycles organise coaches.
The 2023 ride falls on the1st July. Here’s a 422km return route, but there are other options.
We have given this some thought and some of you may wish to try out these returns:
- (Tested in 2021 and 2022) Ride from Dunwich to Epping / Take the Central Line to Stratford / At Stratford use another line to get on the District and Metropolitan Lines and use them back towards Uxbridge etc OR At Stratford take the London Overground to Finchley Road & Frognal then walk/ride down to Finchley Road Station and get the Metropolitan Line. The latter avoids central London.
- (Untested) Ride from Dunwich to Shenfield (Currently there is no Sunday Service on the Elizabeth Line which allows bikes in the central zone). We recommend you check bicycle availability on the line to Liverpool Street before considering this option. You could get the Metropolitan Line from Liverpool Street. The Greater Anglia website says they are banning bikes to and from Ipswich on Sunday 17th July, but it may be possible to board a train at Shenfield arriving from Southend en route to Liverpool Street but we suggest you check first.
The rules on the Underground are that you cannot take a bike on deep sections (think of the escalators) so the Metropolitan Line is OK and the Central Line is OK until it goes underground. The Elizabeth Line, however, seems to buck that trend and allows bikes in the central zone.
If you start from Hackney, expect 340km cycling if you ride back to Epping or Shenfield.