Monday, 16 June 2008

London to Brighton 2008 - a view from the saddle

Our very own Amy Burns, just one of the 27,000 participants in this year's London to Brighton Bike Ride, reports from the event...

You can see photos from the Ride in our online gallery

"After a slightly anxious night’s sleep thinking of the 55 miles I was due to ride the following day, I woke up very early on Sunday to bright sunshine, feeling pretty excited about taking part in the ride with my good friend Kat (that's her on the right in this photo).

"Arriving to a sea of people all 'gearing up' (!!) for the ride only heightened this excitement, while meeting up with Kat and seeing each other in padded cycling shorts proved to be highly amusing to us both.

"Waiting at the starting line, we weren’t entirely convinced when the PA announced it was 'all down hill to Brighton' at least he had a positive outlook … and we got away to a very smooth start with a clear road ahead - so far so good.

"Riding through London with Indiana Jones on our left and the Incredible Hulk on our right proved to be very exciting for the local kids who had woken up early for the event and were waving and clapping from their bedroom windows still in pyjamas.

"The first ten miles saw London thinning out and the greenery of Sussex begin - bus fumes were replaced by country smells, and Kat and I were both amazed by the ease and self sufficiently of leaving London on two wheels - we were having a great time!

"Wanting to pace ourselves, we decided to break after 12 miles at one of the many official BHF stops along the way- bike repair services, hot bacon rolls and toilets were just some of the very welcome services on offer at this village hall and there was a fantastic community feel.

"Scouts, families and councils had all pulled together to put on a really brilliant service for the riders and we were all made to feel enormously welcome already being greeted by 'well dones' and 'congratulations'.

"Riding through more villages we realised this was a quintessentially English event - more and more families were out to watch, cheer and clap and kids had set up trestle tables with drinks and sweets for the riders. One village we passed through even had a brass band, bunting and cake stalls.

"We decided to plough on until the 35 mile mark for our next break. By this point the padded cycling shorts had become a definite necessity and didn’t seem so amusing after all!

"Passing riders with images of their loved ones on their back really bought home why we were all here and made us more determined to not only enjoy this ride, but come back next year and raise even more for the BHF.

"After a well deserved bacon sarnie and some lucozade we got back on the road - by this point rumours were a rife - almost everyone we passed had a different theory on how long we had to go and was the beacon really impossible to bike up!?

"I think it was the idea of a nice cool beer that kept us both going, but at around 4pm, after having survived 'the beacon' (I even rode half of it!) we crossed the finishing line high on adrenalin and very proud of ourselves.

"It really was a fantastic day and Kat and I were both so pleased we did it. Everyone we met felt the same and all agreed the event was organised really well. I would definitely recommend the padded cycling shorts but other than feeling tired the next day, my body felt fine- I even biked into work today!"

You can see photos from the Ride in our online gallery

Did you take part in the Ride? If so, please let us know how you got on by posting a comment below. Once again, thanks very much to everyone who took part and we look forward to hearing from you!


Matt Laird (West Sussex) said...

Great Charity.

A Fantastic Day.

Amazing experience.

Enjoyed by All.

...And surprisingly not aching too badly today ;-)

Anonymous said...

1st time !! Took us 6 1/2hrs and we enjoyed every minute of it !! So well organised , will be back next yr !! Paula Kirsty Amanda & Gavin x

Single Parent Dad said...

Well done. I didn't even contemplate cycling any part of the beacon, though I did cheer on the ones that did!

Sarah-Jane Hounsell said...

Had a fantastic day! Still smiling this morning (:)In a drunken moment myself and 3 friends decided to apply!!! So glad we did as now found a sport I love and can't wait to do it again!! Such an amazing buzz and all the residents and helpers along the way were brilliant! A massive sense of achievement well done to everyone who completed the ride Bring on London to Cambridge LOL

Anonymous said...

What a great day. It was the first time I done it and not the last. We were all winners on that day, the riders and the british heart foundation