The annual bicycle ride in June each year from London to Brighton in support of the British Heart Foundation is one of the biggest events held along Madeira Drive. As measured by individual participants, it is the biggest. It is also the Europe's biggest fund raising cycle ride, and perhaps it's most popular.
Although there are around 27,000 places on the event, you can't hang around, if you want to be sure to get one. Registration does not open until 1st March and nearly all places are gone by the end of the month. So, the official advice is to get your application in early.
The ride starts from Clapham Common in South London and the route is measured at 54 miles. Details of the route are not disclosed until the day. Each year this website gets inquiries from people who want to know the route, either so they can follow the ride or avoid it. All I can tell them is that brightonrun has absolutely nothing to do with the organisation of the ride, and that the official BHF website says the following about the route to potential participants:
"As the Bike Ride causes a lot of disruption to those who live and work along the route we don’t give out details of the route beforehand. On the day you will be given a Route Card which gives details of the official refreshments stops along the way as well as an emergency number should you need it."
Here is a link to the 2007 route as defined by Adrian Fitch on the website, bikely.com, which will give some idea of what it is likely to be on the day.
The minimum entry age is 14 and up to age 16 you must be accompanied by an adult.
Since 2006 those who complete the race not only get their sponsorship forms signed and a cup of chilled water, they also receive a well done medal!
This is a great event. The Drive is always full of family, friends and well wishers waiting to welcome and encourage the riders as they approach the finish line.
To think it all began back in 1976 with a mere 60 or so riders! (For more on the origins of the L2B Bike Ride click here.)
The banking giant, Santander, is now the official sponsor of the BHF's bike rides, and last year more than 70 Santander staff took part in the London to Brighton.
2013 BHF London to Brighton NIGHT Ride: Saturday, 13 - 14 July: details here
2013 BHF London to Brighton Off-Road Ride: Saturday, 21 September: details here
2013 Event: BHF Bike Ride, Sunday, 16 June
Top of Coldean Lane, 2011
Coming down from Ditchling Beacon, cyclists have a last, short incline to climb before the final descent down Coldean Lane to the Lewes Road and level ground for the rest of the ride to Madeira Drive and the finish line. The top of Coldean Lane is about 5 miles from the finish, and Coldean Lane is very steep. So there is an arch and a BHF marshall with a PA system advising cyclists to slow down and take it easy.
2013 BHF Bike Ride at Madeira Drive Finish
See Also: The Bicycle Ballet