Leave London at midnight, hit Brighton in time for breakfast

The London to Brighton Bike Ride is one of the biggest events on the UK cycling calendar, each year attracting 30,000 cyclists to tackle the route from the capital to the coast, including the infamous Ditchling Beacon, and over the years has raised millions of pounds for the British Heart Foundation. Now, Martlets Hospice, in Hove, has launched its own nocturnal version of the ride.

Organisers hope that the second edition, departing from Central London at midnight on Friday 3 September with the aim of arriving in Brighton in time for breakfast, will build on the success of the inaugural ride earlier this year.

The charity says that it aims to "attract hundreds of cyclists, not thousands," and that riders will raise as much money for it as possible, with ride organiser Simon Legg saying: "Our London to Brighton bike ride is a ride like no other. You don't need a smart bike, and you don't have to be ultra-fit.

"You do have to bring a smile. Our 'tail-end charlies' will look after stragglers and help with mechanicals."

Brighton cyclist Allison Baldasare, who rode in the first edition of the event in March, said: "The ride was brilliant. Cycling in London for the first time was a treat with 60 or so other cyclists around me.

"Yellow and orange high-vis were in abundance. Departing from under Constitution Arch was majestic,” she continued.

"There were coasting bits and some great downhills which I was too cautious to bomb. There were a few tough hills, and with relatively zero training, I even made it up three-quarters of Ditchling Beacon.

"Overall, the organisers were amazing. The weather was with us, the night silent and stoic, the daybreak delightful.

"And you can't imagine how wonderful it feels to own the roads from midnight to 6am."

Mr Legg added: "This ride raises sponsorship for the hospice, we must raise over £8,000 every day to care for our patients, so please raise as much sponsorship as you can.

"To add a little incentive for our riders there will be bonus prizes for everyone who raises over £600."

The ride is being organised in partnership with the Cheam and Morden Cycling Touring Club, with registration costing £12. All sponsorship money raised will go towards helping the hospice provide end of life care services to adults with terminal illnesses.

You can register online at www.themartlets.org.uk or obtain an entry form by ringing 01273 747455.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.