ESSEX is set to welcome thousands of cyclists as a huge festival returns for a second year.

Ford RideLondon-Essex, part of the world’s greatest festival of cycling, is back in the county after its success last year.

The event, which is tomorrow, Sunday, May 28, is preceded by two stages of the Ford RideLondon Classique in 2023, the professional women’s cycling race which features the world’s best cyclists. 

The first stage was yesterday, Friday, May 26 starting in King Street, Saffron Walden and finishing in Colchester High Street, Colchester.

The second stage is today, Saturday, May 27 starting in Maldon’s Promenade Park at 11am and finishing on the High Street, Maldon, at about 2.15pm.

Following this, tomorrow, is the main Ford RideLondon-Essex event.

Some 25,000 cyclists will be traversing the roads with thousands of people using the event to raise crucial funds for charity.

Known as the London Marathon on wheels, Ford RideLondon-Essex gives every day cyclists the rare opportunity to take on either a 100, 60 or 30 mile challenge ride on traffic-free roads in London and parts of Essex. 

Brentwood Live: Riders - some 25,000 cyclists will be taking part in this year's eventRiders - some 25,000 cyclists will be taking part in this year's event (Image: RideLondon)

The 2023 routes all start in central London and head out to Essex via Epping Forest, passing through Epping, North Weald, Ongar, Fyfield and Leaden Roding, before reaching Great Dunmow.

From Dunmow, the route takes riders on part of the 2014 Tour de France route, through Felsted, Great Waltham, the Melbourne area of Chelmsford and Writtle before going back through Ongar and onwards toward the finish in London.

As the host county, in 2022, Essex was awarded £1 million by the London Marathon Foundation, the parent charity of Ford RideLondon-Essex event organisers, London Marathon Events, to inspire activity.

This funding has helped more than 15,000 residents across the county get active through more than 200 initiatives, sessions and programmes that have been supported by the funding.

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Since the event began in 2013 it is estimated that more than £80 million has been raised for charity.

More than 350 charities will have riders taking part in this year’s event.

The official charity of the year of the Ford RideLondon-Essex 100 is Alzheimer’s Society and the Charity of the Year of the Ford RideLondon-Essex 60 is Eve Appeal.

Essex charities being represented include the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, Havens Hospice, Headway Essex and MS-UK.

Brentwood Live: Smiles - MS-UK is one of the charities being represented at the eventSmiles - MS-UK is one of the charities being represented at the event (Image: RideLondon)

Road closures will be necessary on the Sundayto ensure the safety of participants taking part.

As a result, residents on or near the route are encouraged to plan ahead by familiarising themselves with maps, road closure times and community access plans.

These can be found at

Essex County Council highways boss Lee Scott said: “We are really looking forward to seeing Ford RideLondon-Essex back in the county.

“Thanks to last year’s event, Essex has benefitted from £1 million of funding for activities that inspire people to be more physically active.

“It is fantastic to see that more than 200 initiatives, sessions and programmes have already been delivered as a direct result of Ford RideLondon-Essex.” 

Brentwood Live: Fundraiser - more than 350 charities will have riders taking part in this year’s eventFundraiser - more than 350 charities will have riders taking part in this year’s event (Image: Andy Lauwers)

Event director Hugh Brasher added: “After a successful first year of the event in Essex in 2022, we are very excited to be bringing back Ford RideLondon-Essex in 2023.

“We have made a number of improvements to the event for 2023 following many discussions with people, communities and organisations across the route and we expect this year’s Ford RideLondon-Essex to be even better for both our participants and the people of Essex.

“We’re particularly delighted to be working with communities and businesses across the route to create local activations that will make Ford RideLondon-Essex a real celebration of both cycling and community.”