Rolling to the Stones

Starting in 2001, the police re-opened the Stones on the Solstices, permitting free access to the circle for the duration of the night before the Summer Solstice Sunrise. In 2003 the London messenger community decided to institute an annual pilgrimage to the Stones, leaving at sunset with the intention of riding through the shortest night and beating the Sun to the Stones. Of the 4 editions so far, success has only has only been achieved on 2 occasions. This year, under the leadership of Dazzler, the throng will be assembling at 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th at Speaker?s Corner. This allows 9 hours to pedal the 90 miles.


I met Dazzler and Tim from Go-Betweens Couriers and Julian from LFGSS at Speakers Corner (Hyde Park) around 8.30 and we set off as planned at 9pm. We hauled butt out of London with Dazzler leading. A stray commuter jumped onto our bunch.. but wait.. this was no ordinary commuter.. Dan had heard about the ride somehow and was joining us.

Map check and then zoom on through Hammersmith, Chiswick, Hounslow, Bedfont and onto the A30, heading SW..

Dazzler was riding a blue Ribble like mine (awww!) but the road bike version as opposed to the heavier Audax version. Julian had a blue Cannondale CAAD3, Tim was riding a grey gearie of some description(?) and Dan had a Specialized Allez, although you wouldn’t know it as he’d covered the whole thing in grey reflective material!! Looks wicked under lights:

reflective bike

We were averaging 32kph (20mph) out of the city and we started to hit hills. Thankfully, Dazzler was confident we’d make it if we dropped the pace a little and took a 10min break every hour (for rum and rollies of course!). This was good – I wasn’t sure how much more of this belting along I could handle!

A few hours out and the traffic had died down to almost nothing. My Dinotte kept turning itself off when I hit a bump – very bad when rocketing down a hill in pitch black! I’ve used it since with no problems so I think there was just a battery loose. Doh! There were a couple of punctures which allowed time to smoke, scoff Bassetts Animal Mix and drink Dazzler’s rum. No major mechanicals.

Around 2-3am I was flagging. I was basically falling asleep ‘at the wheel’ and needed a serious dose of illegal stimulants.

I had to settle for service station coffee and a kilo of sugary treats. After this pep up I was feeling much better and we made the final push for the ‘henge.

There was the long drag of a hill that Shaun had warned me about and then a fast descent towards the Stones. Lots of police baracades and the road in was cut to a single lane to cater for pedestrians walking to the solstice event.

Suddenly we were there. Stonehenge. I’d seen it in loads of books and the like, but it’s always better to see famous stuff in the flesh! It was well cool to just roll up to it on bikes.

I didn’t realise but there was a full-on party going on. The pics from the 2005 event didn’t really give it away but the solstice was a big event, with a few thousand people there. Druids, hippies, druggies, pikies, ravers, clean cut city folk wondering what’s going on. We locked the bikes up near security (note to self: bring a lock!) and spent a few hours watching the fun.

We’d made it with 30-45min to spare before sunrise. It was cloudy while the sun struggled upwards.. then finally, to massive cheers, it broke through!

and 20 seconds later it disappeared again! Next year.

Relaxed for a while more until it got a little too cold and we decided to ride to Salisbury along the River Avon. At the Wetherspoons there we had a mean fry-up and coffee for under ?5.

I’d only booked a morning off work so I had to bail. ?26 for a 1.5hr train ride back to London while the others rested near the Salisbury Cathedral (before riding part way back).

I was trashed. It was frickin’ great!

133k (83mi) in 7:15 (including all stops)

Big big thanks to Dazzler for pretty much sorting it all out and also danke to Julian, Tim and Dan for the top-notch ride company.

Rolling to the Stones pictures can be found here.

5 thoughts on “Rolling to the Stones

  1. legs took about a day to recover – I am fitter than I thought! Durdle Door next apparently…

  2. You’ve lost it dude. Or it’s official – you have finally become a nutter pom! It makes me think about riding down Maroondah Highway at 2 am. Yeah it would be quiet but there would still be some stoned, drunk bastard in a beastmobile ready to mow me down.

  3. We were the stoned, drunk bastards.. so it was okay 🙂

    We were fixing a puncture in Basingstoke when some chavs arrived. They just showed us a nice front-wheel burnout and left. No D-locks beatings were necessary.

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