ALMOST 15,000 cyclists braved boiling temperatures to slog more than 50 miles in the annual London to Brighton bike ride.

Brighton’s city centre and seafront were rammed yesterday as thousands of sweaty cyclist poured down from the capital.

Participants said temperatures reaching 26C made the event extra challenging.

More than 14,700 people took part in the legendary event organised by the British Heart Foundation.

Some had to divert around a collision between cyclists as they passed the A27 on the final stretch into the city.

Shonali Rodrigues, head of events at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s been an absolutely unforgettable day and we cannot thank our riders enough for their incredible support and sheer determination to make it across the finish line.”

Cyclists said they had to stop more and take on extra water and slather up in extra sunblock to make the 52-mile journey – with the slog up Ditchling Beacon the most gruelling part of the event.

But thousands crossed the finishing line, including those carrying their bikes and dragging their team mates.

Lynn Gale, 63, and a team of over sixties from Rushton in Northamptonshire was delighted to finish in five hours.

She said: “The atmosphere was brilliant. Everyone just kept everyone else going.”

Husband and wife team Katie and Brinsley Lazell, of Maidstone, said the heat was particularly difficult to bear.

Katie said: “It has been really hot. We didn’t stop. I walked up Ditchling Beacon but Brinsley caried on. All the rest stops looked really enticing but I knew my legs would just seize up if I stopped so kept on going, but it was pretty tough.”

Football pundit Paul Merson took part in memory of teammate Ugo Ehiogu

Ugo Ehiogu died tragically from a cardiac arrest in April after collapsing on the academy training pitches at Tottenham Hotspur where he coached the Under 23s team. He was 44.

Paul said: “Ugo was a fantastic player and friend who was in the prime of his life when he died, so to lose him so unexpectedly is absolutely devastating for all who knew him. We’ve lost so many good players to heart disease recently, it just shows that it can affect anyone, no matter how young or healthy you are.”

Now in its 42nd year, the London to Brighton Bike Ride is Europe’s oldest charity cycling event. Over the years it has seen hundreds of thousands pedalling more than 41 million miles, helping raise nearly £70 million.