Thousands of cyclists and supporters took over the streets of Raynes Park and Wimbledon yesterday as riders raced towards the finish line of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycle challenge.

Faced with heavy rain and wind from the tail end of Hurricane Bertha , organisers shortened the 100-mile course to 86 miles, missing out Leith Hill and Box Hill in Surrey.

But the Merton section, running from Coombe Lane in Raynes Park to Wimbledon Village via Wimbledon Hill Road was not altered and large crowds gathered to watch the riders and attend street parties, despite occasional torrential rain.

Raynes Park couple Gary Watson and Lisa Russell, who took a breather to wed at Richmond Park's Pembroke Lodge in the middle of the race, were among more than 20,000 amateur cyclists participating in the event.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Newlyweds: Lisa Russell and Gary Watson

Noelle Simmons, who has so far raised £45 for the Mayor of Merton's charities Shooting Star Chase and Merton Street Pastors, kept her spirits high as she cycled through the wind-swept streets of Wimbledon.

A street party with a steel band, face-painting, balloon modelling and bicycle-themed entertainment was hosted by Love Wimbledon business improvement district (BID) and local businesses in Wimbledon Hill Road.

Helen Clark-Bell, BID manager, said: "It went very well from our perspective aside from the weather. We had a really good community feel with the street party. We were there from seven o'clock in the morning until seven o'clock at night." 

Wimbledon Guardian:

Cheering on the cyclists in Wimbledon: L-R Tamara Khayat, Ann Claire Herr and Andrea Herr.

Raynes Park Community Church (RPCC) also hosted live music and children's activities at a street party in Worple Road.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Music and dancing at Raynes Park Community Church street party 

Jill Grinsted, RPCC administrator, said: "It was really good. We were there nine hours. The atmosphere was amazing, so many people came to cheer on the cyclists and everyone was dancing."

Wimbledon Guardian:

Nearly there: Noelle Simmons stops off for a breather in Wimbledon as she approaches the finish

Prudential RideLondon was developed by the Mayor of London, Transport for London and London and Partners in partnership with Surrey County Council.

The event was managed by the London and Surrey Cycling Partnership and sponsored by Prudential.

Did you take part in RideLondon or enjoy a street party? Send your pictures and comments to