Two hundred cyclists have taken to their bikes to raise thousands of pounds in support of a cancer charity.

The 26th edition of the Macmillan Castles Bike Ride took place on June 1, with cyclists from Swindon and the surrounding areas getting involved.

The event raised around £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support to help the charity provide support to people living with the illness.

The 2024 Macmillan Castles Bike RideThe 2024 Macmillan Castles Bike Ride (Image: Macmillan Castles Bike Ride)

The sun was out and the riders set off in small groups from Coate Water Country Park.

From there, they travelled over the Curly Wurly M4 bridge for Barbury Castle and the Marlborough Downs following trails such as the National Cycle Network route 45 and The White Horse Trail.

They then returned to Swindon from Ogbourne St George along the old railway path which used to be the Midland and South West Junction Railway.

Riders had the option of a family-friendly seven mile route, a more challenging 19-mile route that included a quick break at Barbury Castle, or a gruelling 29-mile trail that headed west past Hackpen.

The longest option then turned back towards the Rockley refreshment stop and up to Barbury Castle where it joined the riders on the medium route for the grassy trail down Smeeth’s ridge to Ogbourne St George.

Jerry Light was the first finisherJerry Light was the first finisher (Image: Macmillan Castles Bike Ride)

Around 30 volunteer marshals and first aiders helped to ensure that the riders safely followed the correct trail, although the disappearance of some waymarks did hinder a few riders on the long course.

The event organisers said they "extend a huge thanks to all the volunteers out on the course and at Coate Water and to the main event sponsors Mitchell Cycles".

Arkells Brewery supplied drinks and Fyffes Bananas provided food.

The organisers said: "Everyone enjoyed the day out in the fresh air on their bikes and the first aiders came back with all their plasters".

Next year’s event is already being planned for June 1, and organisers are hopeful of a record turnout, aiming to surpass the peak that was achieved in 2017.

Macmillan says there are currently more than three million people living with cancer in the UK, and that this figure will rise to four million by 2030.

The charity provides physical, financial and emotional support.

The charity says it will "do whatever it takes" to support people "no matter what a person's needs are, we will listen and support them however they need us to — big or small".