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The dawn run

N-ZINE 04 Sep 2019

by Chris Pickering

The dawn run


by Chris Pickering

It’s early in the morning. The mist drifts over the hills, the roads are deserted and the city is asleep. But not us. We’re up early to grab the keys and head for the ‘N’ driver’s favourite playground — the twists and turns of the country roads. From the wild and windswept expanse of the Yorkshire Dales to the sun-drenched hairpins of the Route Napoleon on the French Riviera, there are great driving roads to be found everywhere.

Why set the alarm clock early simply to go for a drive? Part of it, of course, is to avoid the traffic and have the freedom to explore the road at will. But there’s also something rather special about venturing out at dawn, when the world is still quiet and the soft light casts long shadows over the surrounding fields. Even familiar roads suddenly seem different at this time of the morning - free from the daytime traffic they take on an altogether more beguiling quality.

As kids, we all dreamt of the day when we could go out and drive simply for fun. Most of us probably did exactly that the day we got our driver’s licence — inventing spurious reasons to nip to the shops or offering lifts to friends purely so we could take the wheel. Those first few journeys were an expression of freedom, embracing the opportunity to explore new horizons. At the same time, they were also about forging a connection with the car and putting our newfound skills into practice. It was driving simply for the sake of driving.

Somewhere along the line, though, that tends to get lost. The sheer joy of driving is all too often replaced by the necessity of battling the same rush hour traffic every day or watching the clock on the way to an important meeting. Going out for a drive purely for fun is all about recapturing that sense of freedom and adventure. No schedule and no destination. Just you, the car and the road.

Freed from these everyday distractions you start to pick up on the nuances of the car. It’s a chance to revel in the subtle messages fed back through the steering as you sweep through the turns and the satisfying feeling of precision as the gear lever glides from one ratio to the next. It’s an opportunity to reignite the spark between you and your daily companion; your heart synchronized with the roar of the engine.

We all need a little bit of this freedom every now and again — a chance to lose ourselves for a little while and do something purely for fun. Why not set your alarm early one weekend and see where the road takes you?

The dawn run 04 Sep 2019

Chris Pickering

A lifelong petrolhead, obsessed with performance cars and classics. Full-time motoring journalist, former development engineer and occasional racing driver. Usually found on the road or in the garage.