Cyclists put in their first full day of hard toil on French soil as part of a gruelling charity ride.

Thirty-five hardy bikers soaked up the French sun as they cycled almost 50 miles through the Normandy countryside on the first full day of The Argus Appeal ride.

Organisers are hoping that this year’s Brighton to Paris ride will again top the £30,000 fundraising mark for good causes in the Sussex community.

Cyclists set off from Dieppe at about 10.15am yesterday and began arriving in Gournay-en-Bray by 3pm.

Bikers were able to ride with complete peace of mind for most of the way along the Avenue Verte – a converted railway line.

Tomorrow, the cyclists will take on an even more strength-sapping ride when they will be tackling 53 miles between Gournay-en-Bray and Chantilly before a final leg between Chantilly and Paris on Saturday.

A second ride between Dieppe and Paris featuring 15 other cyclists will also begin tomorrow with two days of 50- mile and 90-mile legs.

The Argus Appeal Brighton to Paris bike ride brings in participants from all walks of life.

This year, we are very grateful to the staff from Jamie’s Italian restaurant, Legal & General and TSS Facilities for taking part.

Other participants include a taxi driver, a security guard and a police officer.

The annual Brighton to Paris Bike Ride is one of the major fundraisers for The Argus Appeal.

The newspaper’s charity has been working at the heart of the Sussex community for almost 55 years supporting those in real need.

Argus editor Michael Beard, who is taking part in his third cycle ride, said: “It’s been a really good day and absolutely stunning weather.

“There is really good camaraderie, everybody is having a good time.

“One lady unfortunately had five punctures in one day which is a record.

“We are looking to hold a five-day ride next year through Bruges, Ghent and Brussels and there are a lot of people showing interest in that.”

To donate to The Argus Appeal send cheques made payable to The Argus Appeal and send it to: The Argus, Argus House, Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, Brighton BN1 8AR.

For more details visit theargus.co.uk/argusappeal.

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