London to Brighton Bike Ride
London to Brighton Bike Ride
I think the sun and snow got to me during my snow break in Italy....as soon as I got back I registered to do the London to Brighton Bike Ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation with 3 of my friends.
My brother is a keen cyclist and trains several times a week, for the last 2 years he has ompleted La Marmotte, a one-day cyclosportive event in France, utilising some of the climbs used in the Tour de France (the route is 174km long and features more than 5180 metres of climbing). As of my friends will agree I am not the one in the Anderson Family with the cycling legs so this was going to be a massive challenge for me to complete the 54 miles from Clapham Common to Brighton Sea Front. But I put in some training over the 2 months before the ride and hoped to discover I had some of those Anderson cycling leg genes deep down somewhere - and with the aid of some padded shorts too!!
Prior to the big ride I went out on my bike once a week with my friends and worked my way up the first trip of 8 miles to the Orchid Cancer Charity ride 2 weeks before of 40 miles.
The weekend of the London to Brighton ride finally arrived, transport wasn't easy - that weekend you aren't allowed to take your bikes on the south eastern trains so getting back from Brighton by train wasn't possible. And the London Overground was not running that weekend so getting from Stratford to Clapham Common also wasn't easy. But we got there and joined the other 27000 cyclists on Clapham Common for the start!
It was very much stop and start through London until we passed under the M25, and was much slower going than expected as a result. But it was great chatting with the other riders as we went along. The BHF suggested that the average participant aims to reach the seafront in an around of six hours, which was 2 hours longer than I was hoping to complete the ride in, but after the first 7 miles through London took over 90 mins that target was out the window.
The annual ride, which passes through Surrey, is to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is thought to be Europe's largest charity cycling event.
It was quite chilly this morning, and there was one big down pour, after the first big hill, but we ploughed on. After that first hill all I could think about was the big hill Ditchling Beacon for the rest of the ride. The thought of the hill really got to me, to the point of tears before the second hill and I even started plotting how I could get home if I did not make it to Brighton. But my friend, Nathan, that I had trained and on the day cycled with really kept my spirits up and motivated me to the top of the second hill where we were greeted by the pub, a brass band and locals selling fresh fruit, drinks and much needed flapjacks
That was the boost I needed and I conquered the Beacon and then really enjoyed the 7 miles down hill then into Brighton, crossing the finishing line after just over 5hrs on my bike. As well as that one of the highlights was coming along the seafront in Brighton while there were crowds of people clapping. There are so many different people that take part in the ride I saw people on tandems and some people in amazing fancy dress. There is lots of support along the route, with local residents watching the ride which is very motivating and adds to the emotion of the day. As well as the hills I went through a lot of ups and downs, but thankfully only one lot of tears.
The British Heart Foundation is a very worthy cause, this was big a challenge the ride was for me I really appreciated the support from friends and family to raise sponsorship, even from my 7month old twin nephews!! The money raised will be used by the charity to continue research into heart disease, and development of care and support services. Last year, the bike ride raised £4.1m.
The training and the L2B ride has ignited an interest in cycling and I am now taking part in the BHF London to Windsor ride in September as well! Hopefully this route will have less hills and less tears!!
Please continue to support British Heart Foundation and visit the my sponsporship page:
Rebecca Anderson-JCI London Community Team Member