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Hundreds of cyclists start 205-mile Chase The Sun bike ride from the Isle of Sheppey


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Almost 1,000 cyclists went riding through Kent as part of the annual Chase The Sun bike ride.

They began at dawn on the Isle of Sheppey and finished at sunset around 9.33pm on the seafront at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, after a 205-mile trek across Britain "following the sun" to celebrate the longest day of the year, which will be on Tuesday.

Chase The Sun route map from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to Somerset to mark the longest day of the year (57404209)
Chase The Sun route map from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to Somerset to mark the longest day of the year (57404209)

Cyclists began arriving on the Island on Friday with some staying in hotels in Sittingbourne before the start at 4.41am on Saturday (June 18) as the sun was rising over The Leas at Minster.

Check-in had been at the Abbey Hotel in The Broadway, Minster, where a silver caravan had been parked.

Hundreds of cyclists lined up along the promenade for the official start and left in timed intervals to prevent congestion on the roads.

Ironically, many arrived late for the check-in after being delayed in traffic on the M25 and M26.

Riders were asked by organiser Simon Steggles to keep noise to a minimum as they waited for the start so as not to wake sleeping residents living along The Leas. He had also warned householders in advance by a letter delivered through every door.

Cyclists waiting for the start of the 2022 Chase The Sun 205-mile bike ride on The Leas at Minster, Sheppey. Picture: Simon Steggles
Cyclists waiting for the start of the 2022 Chase The Sun 205-mile bike ride on The Leas at Minster, Sheppey. Picture: Simon Steggles

He warned: "This year interest in the ride had grown further. There is anticipated to be up to 900 riders taking part. All participants have been requested to be as quiet as possible to minimise any noise from the gathering."

He added: "I hope you may excuse the use of your stunning seafront for the start of this unique event."

The route took riders across south London, bridging the Thames onto Wiggin’s Olympic time trial route, before hitting country lanes and villages through the Vale of Pewsey, climbing the Mendip hills, descending into the Cheddar Gorge and then ending on the west coast.

Chase The Sun is a non-competitive ride open to all with no rules, route-signs, timing or medals. It is, however, a physical, motivational and navigational challenge.

The event was first launched by Ollie Moore and three friends in 2008 and has happened every year since for Covid. Last year it went ahead but briefings had to be held via video links.

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