Cyclists strong of mind and strong of thigh have set off on a gruelling charity bike ride.

Thirty-five cyclists basking in the golden glow of a bright late summer morning left Brighton seafront yesterday morning, final destination Paris.

The hardy riders are taking on the challenge in the name of this newspaper’s charitable arm, The Argus Appeal.

The Argus editor and Argus Appeal chairman Michael Beard, left, led the band of hardy souls from Madeira Drive, Brighton, on the first leg of the five day cycle.

Today the group will ride from Dieppe to Gourney en Bray before another stopover in Chantilly before a final leg into Paris.

They will be joined on the road from Friday by another group of 15 cyclists leaving from Newhaven who are set for an even tougher challenge of 140 miles in a three day challenge.

After crossing the Channel the second group will cycle 90 miles from Dieppe to Gourney en Bray before another 50 mile trek from Gourney to Paris.

Both teams will receive the backing of support teams staffed by volunteers.

The total package includes accommodation and a return to the UK on Eurostar.

The Argus: Argus_appeal_web_logo_960.jpg

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.

Mr Beard, who is taking part in his third cycle ride, said: “The weather is gorgeous. It should be absolutely cracking cycling weather.

“The first day is really all about getting over to Dieppe and everybody did that safely.

“It starts to get more serious from today.

“I have done some training for it and there are one or two hills on the second day but it is fine as long as you take it steady.

“People will take it at different speeds and in their own time.”

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