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London to Brighton Bike Ride 2017: Reaction from spectators, cyclists and Spider-Man

By TMackintosh  |  Posted: June 18, 2017



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Thousands of cyclists made their way through the streets and country roads of Surrey on Sunday, as part of the annual London to Brighton Bike Ride.

The event is organised, and in aide of, the British Heart Foundation - and it is estimated that almost 27,000 people took part in the 54-mile cycle from Clapham Common down to Brighton.

At 6am the first batch of riders, who came from all over the country, set off on their long journey towards the Sussex coast.

Event organisers then staggered start times throughout the morning, basing it on the cyclist's ability as well as their expected finish time in a bid to ease congestion and improve the rider's experience of the day.

Cyclists not only had to battle against the steep Surrey hills - but also had to compete with scorching temperatures as they soared to as high as 30 degrees Celsius in parts of Surrey.

Dozens of spectators lined the streets as well to watch, wave and cheer on the cyclists - including one family in Redhill.

Standing at the junction of Rocky Lane and New Battlebridge Lane were the Lewis family - who live just round the corner.

Andrew Lewis, 43, of Fairhaven Road who said: "It is something to watch and it is a nice day.

"I've done it before, but never again! It is always nice to cycle on the roads with no traffic around."

His wife Helen Lewis, 46, added: "We live just round the corner so it is a short walk around the block.

"It is for a very good cause as well. It's a hot day - but perhaps a bit too hot."

Another eager onlooker, David Cox, made the trip from his home in Alders Road, Reigate, with his wife Mags.

The 76-year-old explained he had a particular interest in the make and model of the bikes which were whizzing past him.

David said: "We come every year and the sheer amount of cyclists that are taking part is really impressive.

"The whole cycling scene really has taken off in the last few years.

"I have a strong interest in bikes, particularly older ones, but I would say the amount of modern bikes I see is about 95 per cent, there is the odd smitten of bikes from the past and that's what I'm on the lookout for today."

Krissy Atteridge, of Westway Gardens, brought her four-year-old son along to see the cyclists make their way towards Nutfield Road.

The 37-year-old only recently moved to Redhill but said she knew all about the buzz of the event from her time growing up near the Carshalton Pond, in Sutton.

She added: "I'm really impressed with their commitment, especially in this heat.

"I'm here with my son who loves bikes and has been getting a few waves from the cyclists. It is a very happy atmosphere."

By midday the temperatures were continuing to rise well into the high twenties and numerous cyclists were visibly in need of a much needed breather.

The Dog and Duck pub, in Outwood, proved to be a popular pitstop for riders with many stocking up on water and waiting for friends.

Some found the temptation of a pint in a beer garden too difficult to resist.

Sean said: "This is the first time we have all done this and it definitely helps having the happy spectators and the odd blast of Def Leppard from the speakers on people's bikes.

"The whole event has been really well organised."

Warren was asked if he would be nipping inside the Dog and Duck for a refreshing pint, but he said he had his sights set on savouring a well-earned pint when he and his friends finished the route.

He added: "This is our second stop.

"We set off just after 9am and are hoping to get Brighton at some point today.

"Just so long as the pubs are still open."

Finally, as the last of the cyclists drifted by, there was a noticeable character who caught the eye of the Outwood spectators.

The Harman family from Hillingdon were attracting a bit of attention - as dad Andy and son Ed were kitted out in a Spider-man lycra bodysuit.

Andy explained: "I find it a relatively easy event, a large part of the event for me is the spectators.

"They all come out, waving and so the Spider-Man costume is really for the spectators. It gives them something to notice."

Andy's daughter Victoria added: "This is the first time I've taken part, and I am finding it a lot harder - probably because I haven't done any training.

"But I really don't like all of the hills, especially going downhill so much. But the event is certainly something I'd recommend to people to try."

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