SUPPORTERS of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are encouraged to sign up for a fundraising cycle challenge.

The Coast to Coast 2014 challenge involves cycling through the Dorset countryside but is not designed as a race, and takes place on May 18 this year.

The challenge offers two different routes and distances; the larger 54-mile cycle starts in Somerset and finishes at West Bay near Bridport, but there’s also a shorter 11-mile route which begins at Drimpton and finishes at West Bay.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance CEO, Bill Sivewright, said: “Our cycle challenge is currently the only fundraising event we organise in-house, and each year we listen to event feedback and try to build on the success of the previous year.

“A number of eager supporters spotted that our online registration for the challenge went live just before Christmas, and we are pleased to say that we have made a great start to entries.

“As we have done previously, we are restricting our numbers to 600 cyclists to keep the event as safe as possible but also to encourage all standards of cyclists to take part without fear of being overcrowded.

“We are really looking forward to the event this year and hope that everyone who enters will once again encourage their family and friends to sponsor them in a bid to make this the best Coast to Coast Cycle challenge yet.”

With a mix of quiet back roads and some demanding climbs and descents, the charity say there is something for everyone.

Last year, the event was a sell-out and raised over £60,000 for the life-saving charity.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has attended more than 9,700 emergencies since its launch in March 2000 but relies on public fundraising and support.

For more information or to register for the cycle challenge online, visit dsairambulance.