"I am all for raising money for charity," says Seaton. "But I balk at being required to be impressed by something that many of us do most weekends anyway."
His argument continues: "Why should anyone make a donation to charity because you've ridden 50 or 60 miles across some nice countryside? Given four or five or six hours, virtually anyone can cover the distance. It simply isn't a physical achievement worth recording; it is, so to speak, a walk in the park."
I have to say that I disagree with Matt on three counts:
1. Cycling 50 or 60 miles is a sizeable physical achievement for most people - the majority of the population would seriously struggle with London to Brighton without sufficient training.
2. I'm willing to see anything that encourages people to get out cycling - and raising money for charity is a great motivator when you feel like giving up on a dark and wet February.
3. I don't think anyone said that charity events had to be life-threatening in their seriousness - sitting in a bath of baked beans isn't exactly physically demanding. As long as they raise money - as well as issues...
Having done a couple of cycle rides for charity (Land's End to John O'Groats and Birmingham to the Mediterranean, both around 1,000 miles) the charitable element was certainly a help in motivating me and gave the rides a sense of purpose (although mine weren't organised rides, just me and a bike). And I raised about £4,000 along the way for some very worthy charities (MS, Motor Neurone Disease and Alzheimer's).
I didn't intend to do the Land's End ride for charity, but my wife Clare suggested that as I was doing it, why not use the chance to raise some money?
What I can agree with Matt on is that charity fatigue can start to set in, with seemingly endless requests for sponsorship for relatively trivial distances (especially when I seem to be expected to sponsor people for a 5k run what they sponsored me for a 1,000-mile cycle tour!). And I don't look for sponsorship for every tour for that reason - the next one I do will probably be America Coast-to-Coast in about 10 years.
Of course the most annoying requests are the 'Climb Kilimanjaro' type Matt mentions where the donations go towards paying for someone's trip. I've never taken a penny towards expenses from people's donations - why should I get a free holiday?
But I disagree on Matt's broader point - long may charity cycle rides continue!