The London-Paris 2012 ride by events organiser HotChillee starts on 21st June. At the first event nine years ago there were 13 riders; now there are 450 riders, most of them wealthy. (I promise not to mention 'cycling is the new golf').
The event has rolling road closures in France, motorbike outriders, Skoda lead vehicles, Mavic neutral service and mechanical support. Timed flagged sections enable the riders to compete for jerseys.
This year there are seven speed groups, led by 17 HotChillee Ride Captains. One is former pro Stephen Roche who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Triple Crown Win (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and World Championships). As part of the celebrations he will be riding his Battaglin bike into Paris; the bike he won the Tour de France on in 1987.
Other pros riding the event include Magnus Backstedt. Former Formula One driver Nigel Mansell, rugby star Will Carling and former professional footballer Geoff Thomas will also be part of the pack.
This year also marks the first year a hand cyclist team has taken on the challenge. The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust team, sponsored by Stewarts Law LLP, will complete The London-Paris 2012 with the aim of raising £500,000.
Many of those riding are part of corporate teams, including teams from Adobe, ICAP, Tullett Prebon, Hogan Lovells, Moet & Chandon, DHL and Blackberry.
Adobe is the official Training Jersey partner and Garmin is an official Ride Captain Sponsor, supplying all Ride Captains with Garmin Edge 800 computers.
The official retailer is Chain Reaction Cycles. Other sponsors include LeMarq, Cyclosure, DHL, Skoda, Chazal, Vitus and Wattbike. Equipment providers include Mavic, SiS, MapMyTracks, Eurosport, The TriTouch, Stephen Roche Training Camps and 76 Harley Street.
The riders are treated to Tour de France style rolling road closures when they reach Paris.