Sensei Andy Gillies London to Brighton Cycle Ride

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

As part of our series of 'CFTS: Off The Mat', Sensei Andy Gillies takes us for a bike ride...


British Heart Foundation London to Brighton cycle ride June 21st 2015

The day began with a 6.30am start, in preparation for another Father's Day charity ride for the British Heart Foundation. This year's ride was to be the 40th anniversary of this event.


To honour the occasion, its patron, Pippa Middleton, herself an avid cyclist, was to join over 28,000 other riders on the day along with her brother, James.


We arrived at Clapham Common, the starting point at 8.45am, which would give me plenty of time to assemble the bike, check the brakes and warm up. The common was quite busy - as usual for that time of start, especially so with many groups running some half hour behind their respective set off times.

Eventually we passed through the holding pen and started the ride after the traditional motivational speech from the starter of the race finishing with…

“You’re going to beat Ditchling Beacon, aren’t you!?“ This was met with enthusiastic replies from the participants… Along with the usual crescendo of bicycle horns and bells... up to the point the starter horn was sounded and we passed through the start 9.30am gate at 10.15am


Having 'experienced' the route before, I knew I had to keep focus; with so many travelling through the streets of London it is a prime time for accidents with various minor incidents that could finish your bike or your ride.

It was a case of head down and keep going with the aid of the bike, my legs and my trusty hydration backpack. Along with thoughts of all the people who kindly donated, especially C.F.T.S. Karate-ka , friends and families and the many people who would benefit from the days event to drive me onward to the finish line.


There were unfortunately 3 accidents during the time I was riding, one very serious, where the organisers had to ferry the unfortunate rider to hospital via ambulance.


The road at these times was highly congested, then gridlocked when the casualties were being dealt with - due to the road then being closed off for some 15-20 mins each time. This added about 1 hour to my 4 hour ride time.

The day ended after 5 hrs in the saddle.....


… Contented and relieved, I celebrated with a carbohydrate-loading session at a local Italian restaurant with friends and family, and a couple of beers. Something I had refrained from during my months of training nearing the day.

The British Heart Foundation will be issuing a formal certificate of recognition in September; £500 was raised – over £200 thanks to Renshi Kidby during a recent grading. That doubled my total at that point and inspired me to push onto £500.


That plus the gift aid gave a total of £625 raised to date.

In recognition of all your support, I will request for a post of the certificate onto the CFTS website when I receive it in September. Until next year... Yes... I am already signed up my interest on the London to Brighton 2016 BHF ride…


Thank you every one for all your support; I couldn’t have done it without you all.