Skip to page contents


The Imperial Riders

London to Brighton - In Praise of Padded Shorts...

There comes a moment in the British Heart Foundation sponsored cycle ride from London British Heart Foundation Logoto Brighton when, after the undulating hills and gentle inclines of the Surrey and Sussex countryside, the rider hits a hill at Ditchling, a hill that separates the women from the girls, the men from the boys, the strong from the weak and the Imperial team ... from the rest of the pack.

At this moment the rider realises two things; first that any investment in British Heart Foundation might ultimately be in his/her self interest; second that a smart tee shirt and lycra shorts are not enough, and that any sum paid for padded shorts has been worth its weight in ... pain relief!

Of course any good Imperial management team (an oxymoron?) would know these facts and would also know that to overcome the battles ahead it would need to send out an advance party, a path finding unit capable of undertaking a feasibility study, devising a project plan and sharing information quickly. Some path finder the self selected front rider turned out to be. Despite setting off early to ‘boldly go’ where 27,000 others wouldBike also travel he failed to advise how the remainder of the quartet could carve its way through the masses of walking cyclists, how to retain sufficient energy to make it up the hill and even how easily to locate him at the finishing line...

But, undeterred by the ‘path finder’s’ ineptitude the remaining trio set off. And intrepid they were; battling against such major hurdles as technical problems (a broken toe clip is oh so serious), unparalleled communications issues (the loss of a mobile telephone number), the AWOL of one team member half way through the trip, and the serious wounding to the pride of that same team member after he came off his bike at the dangerous speed of three miles an hour.

But this heroic trio fought on, and even when confronted by the killer hill still they tried to cycle to the top. However, the mass of weakened cyclists walking up the hill took its toll, The Teamand prevented two of the three cycling up (well, that’s their excuse anyway), with the third only to able to carve his way through via the use of some very feisty, and non Imperial, language. Nevertheless they made it!

Then, after the blood, sweat and tears of fifty miles of cycling and five hours in the saddle, blinded by perspiration and only just surviving the near death experience of the hill climb there then appeared the sea. What joy ... what relief ... for then it was only a gentle five mile ride coasting down to the crowds, the applause, the finish line and the reserved seats in a restaurant that the path finder had at least managed to find (the only creditable thing he did all day).

But still, it was all worth while. The team raised the best part of £1000, suffered no serious mishaps and plans to go again next year. So thanks to all those who sponsored it, and if you fancy joining this select group next year please let us know; it is a fun day...really...and don’t forget the padded shorts!!!

Pathfinder = Stephen Reid
Trio = Wendy Collidge, Andrew Murphy and Neil Varey

  © 2007 Imperial College London

Past projects
The Centenary Campaign

Through the first decade of the twenty-first century the campaign seeks to philanthropically raise £207 million from Imperial’s alumni, staff and friends, and donations from charitable foundations and industry.

Where your support can make a difference
Give now
Staff & student portraits
Staff and student portraits

Imperial’s Centenary Year provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate members of the Imperial community.

View staff and student portraits