A scientist is getting on her bike to highlight Cycle 300, a new fundraising challenge from Cancer Research UK.

Maria Suarez is a researcher at the CRUK-funded and appropriately-named Cell Cycle Control lab in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre at the University of Sussex.

She is urging men and women to sign up now and then choose how, when and where to clock up 300 miles on a bike in September.

Maria, 33, who cycles to work every day, is keen to show how pedal power can make a crucial difference to people diagnosed with the disease.

She said: “I love cycling and I think this is a great way to raise money for Cancer Research UK’s vital research.

“People can choose how and when they cycle so that it fits in with their lifestyle.”

The fundraising challenge is totally flexible.

Participants are asked to cycle 300 miles, in September, to raise money for Cancer Research UK but can choose their own routes and pace.

There are many ways to hit the 300-mile mark.

Commuters can notch up ten miles a day on their cycle to work.

Weekend enthusiasts can plan epic 75-mile routes through rolling countryside while gym bunnies can step up the spin classes to hit their target.

Maria said: “I’d like to encourage people to get into gear and help raise money by signing up for Cycle 300.

“Everyone who participates will be supporting the efforts of doctors, nurses and scientists working on the front line against cancer.”

The Cell Cycle Control lab, overseen by Dr Helfrid Hochegger, carries out research into how cells divide. Maria is looking at how cell division starts and stops, to better understand what goes wrong in cancerous cells

Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Sussex, said: “We’re grateful Maria is supporting this initiative and hope it will start a chain reaction, sparking the interest of cyclists of all ages and abilities.

“You can sign up to Cycle 300 on your own or make it a more social affair by challenging family, friends and colleagues to join you.

“Commit to the challenge now, so you have something to aim for in September.

“Taking on Cycle 300 is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of cycling and keeping active.

“As well as helping to build fitness and burn excess calories, cycling regularly encourages a healthier heart, can improve mood, and can also protect against a range of diseases – including cancer.”

Depending on weight and effort, participants could burn roughly between 400 to 750 calories per hour of cycling.

Lynn said: “One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Research is very expensive and the only way we can fund it is with the help of our supporters.

“By taking part in Cycle 300, men and women can make a real difference in the fight against the disease.”

To sign up now for a free fundraising pack visit www.cruk.org/cycle300