The British Heart Foundation has unearthed never-before-seen images of the London to Brighton Bike Ride taken in the 1970s and 1995, showcasing how the event has changed during the last 40 years.
The pictures have been released by the charity in a bid to encourage more people to sign up for this year’s London to Brighton Bike Ride on June 18. Visit bhf.org.uk/L2B
In 1976 a group of people decided to cycle the same route from London to Brighton that was already made famous by the annual vintage car ride.
Since then, the event has grown from approximately 39 riders to 27,000 at its peak, and was once described as the biggest ride of its kind in Europe.
In 2016 there were more than 15,000 riders and this year 18,000 people are expected to take part.
Now known as the London to Brighton Bike Ride, this British Heart Foundation (BHF) event is Europe’s oldest charity cycle and is the BHF’s flagship fundraiser.
During the last 40 years, 800,000 people have pedaled over 41 million miles, raising nearly £70m for life-saving heart research into heart disease.
Alastair Nisbet, one of the first riders, explains what the event was like in the 1970s.
“Most people were completely unbelieving: ‘You want to what, cycle from London to Brighton? You must be mad!’ Now it seems hard to believe, but in the ’70s there was precious little interest in cycling,” he says.
“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 39 riders and a beat up support van made their way to Hyde Park Corner for the start.”
If you would like to take part in this year’s event, visit the website here.