Cyclists celebrated MK’s 50th birthday with a gruelling bike ride across the city to raise £45,000 for revolutionary medical research.

More than 1,000 riders put their heart – and a lot of legwork – into the challenge, which saw cyclists of all ages and abilities travel 50 miles or 50km on both on and off-road routes on Saturday, all in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Keen amateur cyclist Nick Southworth rode on behalf of The Melrose Directory to raise money to fight against the UK’s biggest killer, which affects 25,000 people in Milton Keynes.

Nick Southworth, 26, said: “It was both easier and tougher then I expected. The distance wasn’t the issue but the initial climb to the top of Woburn woods nearly killed me!

“Once past the nasty first climb the ride was mostly quite enjoyable, the scenery in the area is lovely and the section past the safari park was very picturesque.

“The weather turned out to be far hotter then expected, sun cream was a must even if I managed to miss a few spots!“

“It was a really good event with lots of people of all abilities turning up to ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation at the same time as celebrating MK’s big birthday.

“It was amazing to see how many people where happy to torture themselves for such a good cause!”

Nick’s 50-mile journey with friend James Bryan took him on the Redway around Milton Keynes before venturing onto quiet countryside roads through picturesque villages in both Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, from Rushmere Country Park to Woburn Safari Park, before heading back to the finish line at Willen Lake.

Since launching last year, The Melrose Directory has been determined to use their family-run holiday property rental business to help raise cash for local charities.

At Christmas, the Olney family were inspired by hit film A Street Cat Named Bob to donate their start-up business profits to help the homeless in Milton Keynes.

Following this weekend’s MK bike ride, Maxine Bateman, Event Organiser at the BHF said: “Without the dedication and commitment of our inspiring cyclists, we wouldn’t be able to fund research that has broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed the lives of millions of people in the UK.

“I would like to thank The Melrose Directory and the 1,100 other people who took part, everyone who supported our cyclists and all of our volunteers.

“We have raised an incredible £45,000 so far and the stories of why our amazing supporters take part never fails to amaze me.

“It’s always incredible to see thousands of people take on such a tough challenge and unite in the fight against heart disease.

“Around 25,000 in Milton Keynes are currently living with heart and circulatory disease and it is responsible for close to 400 deaths each year.

“It is only because of the support of people and organisations like The Melrose Directory who take on challenges like the Milton Keynes Bike Ride that we can one day stop heart disease in its tracks.”

Read more from Alison MacLaren