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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Thousands cycle for charity funds
Brighton bike ride
The fastest cyclists took just over three hours to reach Brighton
About 27,000 cyclists pushed off from London on Sunday to take part in the 29th British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride.

The riders left London at 0600 BST, with the fastest of them arriving in Brighton, 56 miles away, at 0930 BST.

However, they faced a problem getting back to London as participants were, for the first time, not allowed to return by train.

Southern trains said space for cyclists was limited on its new rolling stock.

Coach service

Last year, the company ran 30 special services for participants.

It also removed seats from inside the carriages to provide room for the cyclists.

A spokesman for the company said this was not possible on the new trains, which have room for only two or three bikes in each carriage.

To help those taking part, the British Heart Foundation made alternative travel arrangements, providing a coach and lorry service.

Brighton bike ride
A transport service was organised by the British Heart Foundation

Foundation spokesman David Barker said: "We have had good notice, with two years' to enable us to make alternative arrangements.

"There are very good reasons for why the train company is unable to assist as it has in previous years, and that is purely because it is changing its rolling stock."

A number of riders also made their own arrangements, hiring vans and travelling in groups back to London.

The event, which started in 1976 when about 30 friends set off for Brighton from Hyde Park in London, raised 2.5m for the foundation last year.

The foundation hopes to break the 3m mark this year.




SEE ALSO:
No trains for charity cyclists
15 Jan 04  |  England


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