Be part of our history
In the event’s four-decade history, over 800,000 cyclists from all over the UK have taken part in the ride, pedalling over 40million miles and helping raise over £65m for the BHF’s life saving research into heart disease.
So what are you waiting for? Become part of our rich history by signing up today to take part in the legendary London to Brighton Bike Ride in 2017.
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41 years of cycling together
The London to Brighton Bike Ride launched in 1976. Since then, the ride has grown from 36 riders in its first year to over 15,000 cyclists in 2016.
One of the first riders of the event, Alastair Nisbet, tells us what the London to Brighton Bike Ride was like in the '70s.
"People, mainly were unbelieving: "You want to what? Cycle from London to Brighton? You must be mad!" It seems hard to believe, but in the ’70s there was precious little interest in cycling.
"We put up posters and wrote press releases - but there was little attention from local papers or radio.
"My friend Tony and I drew a line down the map while another friend, Pete, got an old door out of a skip and wrote 'the end' on it. A motley collection of 49 riders and a beat up support van made their way to Hyde Park Corner for the start."
Raising money for the BHF
Forty years on, it's extraordinary to think that nearly one million riders have taken part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride, raising millions of pounds for the British Heart Foundation in the process.
"Forty years on, it’s extraordinary to think that nearly one million riders have taken part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride, raising millions of pounds for the British Heart Foundation in the process.
"Looking back, it’s a wonder that the ride happened at all. The idea came from street performer Robert Stredder who randomly wrote to the Students’ Union at the University of Sussex.
"I’d been involved in bike-ins holding up the Brighton traffic with 'bikes for clean cities' banners, and the letter was passed to me. It read something like this: “Hey you guys. Wouldn’t it be great to have a London to Brighton Bike Ride like the annual old cars run?” Genius!
"The Union gave us a small grant and we got an artist to do some screen-printed posters. The London to Brighton Bike Ride was starting to take shape.
"The riders, on a motley collection of old bikes, eventually made it to the Palace Pier where there was a small welcoming group and a few bemused onlookers.
The ride was a success, although nobody had really noticed it.
"It was a similar story the second year when 150 riders found their way to Brighton, but that random seed of an idea in Robert’s letter was growing. A cycling revolution had begun."
And they’re off!: The wave of a flag and a blast on the trumpet, and the first London to Brighton Bike Ride starts at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park. Picture courtesy of Tony Ambrose.
The end: 49 cyclists completed the first London to Brighton Ride. Who could have imagined that within just a few years, this number would grow to tens of thousands of participants. Picture courtesy of Alastair Nisbet.
The British Heart Foundation funds around £100million of life saving heart research every year without financial support from the government.
Millions of people in the UK still live with the daily burden of heart and circulatory disease and it’s responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths. There is still so much more we need to do.
Take part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2017 and help us to continue the fight for every heartbeat.
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