Thousands of cyclists take on 112 mile challenge over Lake District fells

This morning, hundreds of cyclists have set off on a gruelling 112 mile route billed as the ‘hardest day ride in the UK’.

Between 6am and 8am riders saddled up to take on the Wheelbase Fred Whitton Challenge as the event celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The 112 mile route around the Lake District starts at Grasmere and climbs up Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott, Wrynose and Blea Tarn.

The annual charity event, held in honour of the late cycling enthusiast Fred Whitton, has been raising money for charity since it began in 1999.

Fred Whitton was an extremely popular member of the Lakes Road Club so when he died in 1998 at the age of 50, his friends decided to cycle around his home in the Lake District and donate to a good cause in his memory.

The ride sees cyclists tackle an astonishing 3500m of climbing –over a third of the climb up mount Everest – and encounter a maximum 30% incline at Hardknott Pass which is described as one of the most challenging roads in Britain.

Over the past two decades, they have raised money for 30 different charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and The Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team. To date, they have raised £2,278,000 plus.

Top riders complete the route in just under six hours but eleven hours and over are not uncommon for the average cyclist.