MORE than 500 cyclists jumped on their bikes for the charity Action Medical Research.

The 540 riders had a choice of 39, 68 and 102-mile routes.

Halstead cyclists Jim Spurgeon and James Henderson were first over the line, completing the 39-mile route in a time of 2h 18m 42s.

The event started and finished at the Job Serve Community Stadium in Colchester with riders setting off at 7am.

Jim said: “This was my first ever cycling event – I’m normally a runner.

“My ride partner James is a seasoned cyclist so 39 miles was agreed as a good test of my cycling progression.

“My personal aim was 2h 30m so to beat that was fantastic.

“To then be told we were the first ones home was a bonus. It was a great event, great staff and great charity.

“We will definitely be returning next year for the 70 miles.”

The route went east to Langham, up to Sudbury, over to Great Bardfield and down to Braintree before heading back through Halstead to Colchester.

The ride raised funds for Action Medical Research, a UK-wide children’s charity which funds desperately needed research to tackle diseases that devastate the lives of many children.

They have been funding medical breakthroughs since the charity began in 1952, including helping to introduce the first polio vaccines and developing the use of the ultrasound in pregnancy.

Charity spokesman Tracy Stratford said: “I’m so pleased that Jim and James took on this challenge together and beat their goal finish time by over 11 minutes.

“There was a great mix of experienced cyclists and those taking on new challenges.

“This event could not have happened without our volunteers.

“A big thank you from us all at Action.

“We hope to raise £25,000 for the charity through this one event, which will fund even more vital research to help poorly children and babies.”