Registration for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge will open next week.

The popular annual event will take place on Sunday, May 17 next year, but supporters wishing to take part next year will have to be quick, as demand for the 600 places available is once again expected to be high. Last year, the event sold out within two days.

Next year will be the 20th anniversary of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and it will be the charity’s 10th Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge.

In the past nine years, the event has raised more than £563,000. Based on the approximate cost of a mission equating to £3,000, this means that those who have supported or participated in the event over the years have helped to save or enhance 188 lives.

The Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge is not designed as a race and involves cycling through Dorset and Somerset countryside.

There are two different routes and distances. For those who like a challenge, there is the 56-mile cycle which starts at 11am in the Somerset port of Wachet and finishes at West Bay. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak pub in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance chief executive officer, said: “Our next Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge takes place in our 20th year as a charity and it is the 10th Coast to Coast event we have organised. Those are two excellent reasons for not missing out.

“However, because we feel that more cyclists participating could be intimidating for the less experienced cyclists and potentially spoil the atmosphere of the event, we are continuing to limit the number of participants to 600. That is why we hope that if you assure yourself a place, you will go the extra mile to raise more sponsorship than ever in celebration of the double celebration.”

Online registration opens at 10am on Wednesday, December 4 via the charity’s website at where more information can also be found.

Entrance fees are £30 for adults and £10 for under 16s.