Hundreds of riders set off on Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride

DM17417026a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017.  Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-210313008

DM17417026a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-210313008

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The Broadway was buzzing with excitement as crowds gathered for the start of the Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride 2017 on Sunday (April 2).

More than 600 riders of all ages joined the event, tackling four routes ranging from the family-friendly 12.5 mile course to the Wiggins Way, a challenging 74.5 mile haul.

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames cuts the tape

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames cuts the tape

The early morning mist was already giving way to clear skies and beautiful sunshine as the last of the riders set of just before 9am.

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames joined Town Mayor Sujan Wickremaratchi to cut the ribbon and fire the starting gun to begin the ride.

Sir Nicholas said: “‘Ride Local, Give Local’ was the message this year and the day was another great success. This annual Bike Ride has raised an enormous amount of funds to support local people and each year it has grown in its ambition to become a truly fun day out for everyone. I congratulate everyone who has contributed to making it such a great event.”

“What an amazing day!” added Mayor Sujan Wickremaratchi. “Not only does our Bike Ride support local charities, but it brings the community together, young and old, to be part of something very special, as well as to show visitors just what beautiful countryside surrounds us.

Not only does our Bike Ride support local charities, but it brings the community together, young and old, to be part of something very special

“It’s been an honour to be part of such a wonderful event; long may it continue and I’m looking forward to helping for many years to come.”

Riders, including Twinned Town visitors from Traunstein and Bondue, set off amidst cheers of encouragement and along a bunting-filled Broadway.

All the riders had ‘chipped’ numbers, so that their time out and back was recorded, giving the speedier amongst them a record of their success – as well, of course, as a special commemorative medal and choice of massage for those in need.

Helping start the event were some of the local sponsors, 1st CENTRAL, The Orchards Shopping Centre, Masters & Son, the Collinson Group, Fairfax Properties, Mike Oliver Associates, Leaders, Stuart & Partners and Mansell McTaggart. Organisers also thanked Linea Health & Fitness who provided all the goodies for the Feed Stations.

DM17416959a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017.  Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-210115008

DM17416959a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-210115008

The Middy is proud to be a media partner for the event.

The riders returned home to some great entertainment as the party began. Local band Big Yellow Taxi had even the tiredest of legs dancing, while singers, Tania Rodd and Cylvian Flynn had the Broadway jumping to end what had been a glorious day.

Organiser, Martyn Armitage, was delighted: “It was an incredible day and, once again, in brilliant sunshine; I do so hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

“It was great to meet so many new Lindfield Warrior friends and we were delighted (and honoured) to welcome riders from as far afield as Derbyshire – it’s good to know we’re getting known nationally, as well as throughout the south east!”

DM17417111a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017.  Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-205952008

DM17417111a.jpg. Haywards Heath Bike Ride, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170204-205952008

Ruth de Mierre added: “Our Bike Ride wouldn’t happen without the enormous amount of work and support given by all our volunteers – and, in particular, our lovely Sharon Scott who has been a complete hero throughout.

“And we are, as ever, indebted to Steve Trice and his team at the Town Council, without whose support and commitment we would flounder; they, and our friends at Crawley Wheelers, also ensured all our riders (and marshals) came safely home.

“So a great debt of thanks to them and the enormous number of people who give their time, expertise and knowledge so selflessly every year.”

See this week’s Mid Sussex Times for a special pull-out souvenir of the event, featuring numerous photos.