THOUSANDS of cyclists braced “biblical” amounts of rain to travel 56 miles for the London to Brighton Bike Ride.

For 44 years, dedicated cyclists have taken part in the capital to coast cycling challenge to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

This year, more than £2 million was raised for the charity and some riders collected sums for other worthy causes.

Sarah Nash raised £2,000 to combat Pancreatic Cancer, after her husband died from the disease seven months ago.

The 54-year-old grandmother, from Henley, Oxfordshire, was cycling with her friend Matt Gordon and her three sons.

She said: “It was very, very wet.

“I did it in about 4 hours and ten minutes, which isn’t too bad because we had planned to do it in eight. It was a piece of cake, but a seagull did poo on my sock.”

Sarah’s friend Matt said: “The hardest thing was putting up with Sarah for a few hours.

“That and Beacon Hill.

“It was easy for her as she had an electric bike.”

The riders set off from Clapham common and finished in Madeira Drive on Brighton seafront.

Every rider was given a medal once they crossed the finishing line.

Noel Oliver, 56, has taken part in every ride over the last ten years with his 23-year-old son, Nathan.

Each year they ride in aid of Noel’s late father, who survived a heart operation more than a decade ago.

He said: “All-in-all it was a great day out, but certainly the wettest we’ve done.

“We have done it every year for ten years – I think it just gets easier.

“We do it as my dad had a triple heart bypass and I don’t think he would have survived if it wasn’t for the BHF.”

Noel’s son, Nathan, said he had a “good father’s day” cycling with his father.

At the end of the route riders, friends, family members and spectators gathered on the beach.

Here, people could wash their bikes, listen to live music, charge their phones, use the toilet or grab a beer from a repurposed bus.

Workmates Sam Wilkes James Creedy, and Darren Newman, enjoyed a well-deserved beer on Brighton beach after finishing the trek in four and a half hours.

Sam Wilkes, from Jersey, said: “The rain was biblical.

“It was my first time and it was wetter, windier and hillier than I thought it would be.

“But the sun came out for us as we got into Brighton.”

Darren Newman, from East London, who raised more than £1,000 for the BHF, said: “The real rush isn’t crossing the finish line, it’s getting to the top of Ditchling Beacon, looking ahead, and seeing the sea.

“It’s all downhill from there.

“The stewards were cheering us on the whole way which is great.

“Then people were lining up and cheering us on in Brighton.”

Cyclist Jesse Embury, 26, said that although it rained for “40 per cent of the time”, he had a great day out.

He said; “It was relentless, as soon as I crossed the finish line I limped over to get a seat and a beer.I did it in 4 hours and ten minutes, which isn’t bad but isn’t great. The whole thing was inspiring really.”

Since the event’s inception, elite and novice riders alike have pedalled more than 41 million miles between them and raised more than £70 million to help the charity “beat heartbreak forever”.

Roshan Teeluck , head of events at the BHF, said: “We’re thrilled to have raised an outstanding amount and we’re truly grateful to all the BHF champions who took part. Their dedication and commitment means we can continue to fund lifesaving research and make a lasting difference.”