Back in 2012, I heard about the Dunwich Dynamo for the first time. In case you didn’t know, the Dynamo is an all-night bike ride, from London, to a tiny hamlet called Dunwich, in Suffolk.
With my kids still being young at the time, there was no chance of me doing that ride, but I did learn about another similar ride, the Exmouth Exodus.
The Exodus starts in Bath and runs to Exmouth, and I decided to ride that instead. Life got in the way, and I cycled the Exodus for the 1st time in 2014. Like most such rides, it’s linear, meaning there’s a bit of hassle getting to the start, and back home from the finish again.
Now 2014 was also the first year I organised Darkmoor. I figured there’d be a number of people who were as challenged by the logistics of the Dynamo and the Exodus as I was, and who’d benefit from a ride more local to them.
In 2014, we had 12 riders in total, which was fine for a start. Initially, I offered Darkmoor as a charity-fundraiser to St Luke’s Hospice, but they turned it down, citing insurance and event liability as reasons. However, they did start hosting their own event, in the shape of a sportive held at night. I can genuinely say I’m glad their event was successful, as it’s supports a damn good cause, but it often clashed with Darkmoor, meaning my ride attracted even fewer riders.
The success of their sportive proved enough people do enjoy cycling at night, on otherwise totally dark roads, but for some reason or the other I’ve never been able to attract many riders. The most riders Darkmoor ever had was 27, with the fewest having been 4 (which included me!).
I’ve spent huge amounts of time and effort to try and build Darkmoor into a popular ride, but I think it’s time to accept it will never attract more than a handful of riders. That simply means it really isn’t worth continuing to invest more time, effort and money into an event that simply is not successful.
I even tried to get some local bike shops interested, and even a local cycling café, but none of that worked.
As a result, Darkmoor 2021 will be the last one.
It’s been fun, and I had many laughs. I met some bloody wonderful people, too. To each and everyone who ever cycled Darkmoor, I say thank you for your time and company. To those who have never cycled it, well, Saturday, 19th of June 2021 will be your last ever chance.
I wish you well, and may all your rides remain puncture-free, with the wind on your back.