LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan joined thousands of cyclists in completing the London to Brighton Bike Ride to raise money for charity.

More than 14,000 riders flooded the streets yesterday for the return of the event after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, with cyclists raising money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Bikers, including Mr Khan, completed the 54-mile route from the city to the coast, starting in the early hours from Clapham and ending at Madeira Drive on Brighton seafront.

After crossing the finish line, Mr Khan described this year’s event as a “triumph”.

The Argus: More than 14,000 cyclists took part in the London to Brighton Bike RideMore than 14,000 cyclists took part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride

He said: “I was delighted to join 14,000 other cyclists taking on the route from my south London home turf to Brighton’s historic seafront, where a fantastic crowd gave us riders a much-needed boost for the final push.

“Most importantly, all the money raised from today’s ride will go towards the BHF’s lifesaving research, helping to support the 7.6 million people around the country living with heart and circulatory disease.”

Joining the Mayor on the journey was drummer of The Cure Jason Cooper, who was riding in memory of his former drum tech Paul "Ricky" Welton - who died of a heart attack in 2019.

Jason raised more than £8,000 for the ground-breaking science conducted by the BHF.

On completing the ride, Jason said: “The atmosphere was amazing, especially the crowds coming into Brighton cheering us on.

“I am proud to be raising money for the BHF in memory of my great friend Ricky. He was a fantastic drum technician, and we shared momentous times together. But more importantly, he was just a lovely guy and we all miss him dearly.”

The London to Brighton Bike Ride has hosted hundreds of thousands of cyclists over its 45 years, raising more than £70 million for lifesaving research.

The challenge saw riders set off from Clapham Common, before heading through the Surrey and Sussex countryside, across a challenging summit at Ditchling Beacon, and crossing the finish line at the esplanade in Brighton.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive of the BHF, said she was “thrilled” to see the bike ride return.

She said: “We couldn’t fund our lifesaving heart and circulatory disease research without the support of people like our London to Brighton cyclists who have raised an incredible amount for us this year.

“Public support has helped the BHF turn research that once seemed like science fiction into reality. But there is still so much more to do and every penny raised from Sunday’s event will power our research and help us support the millions of people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK.

“It was particularly special to be there at the start line to wave off our riders like the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and rock legend Jason Cooper, as well as everyone else cycling for a cause close to their heart.”

Registration for next year’s event is now open, with more information available on the British Heart Foundation’s website.