Thousands of cyclists took part in the annual London to Brighton bike ride yesterday, with the aim of raising £2 million for the British Heart Foundation. But, forgive us if there was one, but where was the tie in with either the launch of the National Cycle Network or the National Cycling Festival 2000?

Wot? No tie in?

The London to Brighton bike ride was started in 1976 when a group of 30 friends cycled from London’s Hyde Park to Brighton seafront.

The British Heart Foundation acquired the rights to the ride in 1992.

Nearly half a million riders have taken part in the ride since 1980, cycling more than 26 million miles.

The highest point of the ride, from Clapham Common in South London to the seafront, is 813ft feet at Ditchling Beacon, close to Brighton.

Around 27,000 cyclists take part in the ride, making it the largest cycle event of its kind in Europe.

Riders take an average of six hours to complete the ride.

Cycling is the third most popular leisure pursuit in the UK.

Since 1992 the ride has raised nearly £12 million for the British Heart Foundation.

The average amount of sponsorship money raised last year was £74 per rider.

The largest amount ever raised by an individual rider was £17,500 in 1998.

Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer, resulting in 400 deaths a day.

One in four men and one in five women die from coronary heart disease.

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