ProfJoeCain at Ditchling Beacon on the LondonToBrighton Bike Ride 2019

The BHF LondonToBrighton Bike Ride is an annual fundraising event organised by the charity, The British Heart Foundation.

In 2019, I took part.

Film about LondonToBrighton Bike Ride 2019

I used a GoPro to capture some of the ride. It rained a lot and I did not know what to expect, so I took more-or-less random fragments plus start and finish. I expected to splice it together quickly and post it to those who contributed to the fundraising. I wanted them to (1) see I had done it, and (2) get a sense of effort on the day.

Pre-event video to encourage fundraising

The LondonToBrighton Bike Ride is a fundraising event. I used, which the BHP recommended. The advice encouraged videos, so I made one. This is cheap and cheerful – not perfect by any means – but it makes the point.

The fundraising advice focused on “telling a story”. The story I wrote was simple:

I’m doing this bike ride for HOPE.
My mother died of heart disease.
My father almost died of heart disease.
I hope it doesn’t happen to me.
I hope it doesn’t happen to my brothers and sisters, my colleagues and friends, or my extended family.
Heart disease is on the rise. Massively so. We’ve got to keep up the fight.
British Heart Foundation funds a lot of research and invests in science for the long term. 
So, please, please, please give a little, or give a lot. Just think about giving something.

I also make use of my social media, especially Twitter @profjoecain.

Training for the LondonToBrighton Bike Ride

I spent about six months training for the LondonToBrighton Bike Ride. I joined a gym (Change Hove), a family-run independent gym nearby. The first three months involved general conditioning; simply put, I wanted to wake-up my muscles and get it ready for more serious work. In the three months before the ride, I made a schedule for riding a stationary bicycle and added increasingly long rides on the street. A typical session would involve 20 miles at a pace of about 3.5-4.0 minutes per mile on the stationary bike, then 5-10 miles on the road bike thereafter. I tried to ensure I did this four days a week.

I also stopped drinking alcohol for six weeks before the event, and I added lots of vegetables to my diet. Dropping one pound in weight meant it was one fewer I needed to carry on the ride. The more, the better.

I’m not especially fit. I’m not a cycling-nut. I did not expect massive changes. But I could see the progress, little by little. I kept track of the results on the stationary bicycle. This was important for motivation as it gave me evidence of real progress along the way. The largest problem I encountered was finding the time to spent 2 hours per session in the context of normal working days and family events on the weekend. Joining a gym helped that, as it let me find time early in the morning and later in the evening. It also offered independence from adverse weather.

The results paid off both in terms of endurance and power. In the LondonToBrighton Bike Ride, I certainly could feel the differences from even my best cycling the previous year.

As the event drew near, I took my bike in for a tune-up. Cycle Brighton is a local favourite. When I dropped off the bike, I explained my needs and concerns. My bike is a bog-standard, off-the-shelf good starter bike from Evans Cycle – nothing special. The shop made a few specific adjustments. Far more important, the general tune up ensured cables were tight, brakes were fresh, tyres/tubes were fresh, and wheels/chain were lubed. I wanted to reduce the chances of punctures, traction slips, and mushy-braking on this ride. Plus, I wanted to make every rotation count for as much as possible. Before taking my bike in, I thought it felt in good shape. After I collected it, there was a noticeable improvement all around. Not only did I experience no mechanical problems on the ride, but I felt I really benefited every mile from good brakes and quick gear changes. Cost me £50. Worth ten times that.

I also searched for online advice about the ride. Ade’s blog on tactics was the most useful.

It feels good to finish

It feels food to finish LondonToBrighton Bike Ride. At a few points in the ride, I didn’t think I would get there. But the preparation paid off. So did the planning for what I was going to eat, drink, and do on the day. And most important was the help and support of family and friends. Making a donation is a special thing. It means something. And knowing it goes to a good cause means something, too.

The BHF announced Monday morning that over £2million was raised from from the LondonToBrighton Bike Ride 2019.