This year two TC regulars completed London to Paris- Bob and Trix, but not together……..
Trix completed an organised charity ride whereas Bob organised the whole trip for him and his work colleagues over just three days!!!
London to Paris what can I say if you get an opportunity to do it do it its an amazing, highly rewarding ride and can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.
I wont bore you with all the nitty gritty and how it all came about suffice to say I suggested it for our annual works charity ride and consequently I got to organise it.
I had completed the 4 day charity challenge some years ago so had an idea of where to start and ironically where to finish, what I needed to do was work out where to stop in between, how many days, the overall distance and when.
The when was easy last weekend of the tour, simple. All ferries out and train back booked following google advice on when the tour would finish except once all booked the dates changed so a slightly awkward phone call was required to all participants.
How many days, we chose 3 mainly due to work commitments and wanting a tough challenge of 100 miles a day, oh by the way Kent and Northern France are not as flat as you think, each day was in excess of 4000 feet of climbing with day two having 80% of this in one 20 mile section (bad planning lol). This decision basically dictated our overnight stop in France.
We started our journey at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich after spending the night before in London (where a couple of beers were consumed). The first 25 miles on semi busy roads taking you out of London through Dartford then into North Kent and the start of the Pilgrims way, 92 miles later and 4300 feet of climbing got us to Dover ready for an overnight stop.
A very early ferry from Dover to Calais got us on our way to Amiens. 2 or 3 miles getting out of Calais then into the quiet and beautiful lanes of Northern France before 20 miles of steady climbing. If we saw a car it was a novelty and the local population must have all been in bed or away on holiday as we saw practically no one in village after peaceful village. Amiens arrived in 103 miles and 5300 feet of climbing.
Not such an early start this morning but with 102 miles left and a bit more climbing we were on our way by 09.00. Wow, the route from Amiens was just incredible quiet roads through vast forests, lunch by the river, rolling terrain with the odd “lump”, pedalling on cobbles past the Chateaux at Chantilly then riding across the gallops followed by the long slow drop into Paris, the final ride around the Arc de Triomphe and the last blast up the Champ-Elysees to our final destination at the Eiffel tower where we were met by our wives, colleagues and Champagne ……………….
Would I do it again absolutely, would I organise another trip why not.
If you are wanting to organise your own trip and not wishing to teach anyone to suck eggs I hope the below pointers help.
1. Plan to the weakest rider.
2. Take as many days as you want it’s your trip.
3. Expensive or cheap it’s your choice.
4. I found Map my ride the best route planner – If you can drive the route beforehand do so as I found that a number of cycling roads were now dual carriageways.
5. Be prepared to re-route on the hoof.
6. Use someone else’s routes and doctor them its easier (Thanks MG for the 25 mile run into Paris).
7. Nothing is open in France at the times we would call conventional lunch times so be prepared to carry your own grub.
We had a support vehicle that carried all our gear and supplied lunches en-route. I have done other self guided rides through Belgium and Holland unsupported with nothing but a Rucksack so all options are possible with a little planning and the will.
I hope I’ve not bored you and that this little piece has been of interest.
Trixie does London to Paris 2019.
I had a significant birthday this year and thought I would celebrate by riding London to Paris for the Alzheimer’s charity. Many of you kindly sponsored me and I raised over £1,700.00 for this worthwhile cause.
Mark Goodridge completed this some time ago and gave me some really useful advice and was also kind enough to give my bike the once over before departure.
I have consciously been focusing on distance this year rather than speed and have had some fantastic support from other Club members such as Steve, Andy and Jon, who have been prepared to come out and put the steady miles in, often going out at 07:00hrs in the morning. It didn’t seem fair to try to combine these rides with the faster Sunday rides as they were generally sub 17 plods and I am sure I would not have been thanked! 🙂
JB simple advice of “just enjoy it” was as always practical and correct. Ray selfishly missed the last two weeks of my training as he was riding the Tour de France course (chapeau Ray!), but adapted my PT accordingly.
That all sounds a little bit like an Oscars acceptance speech, but it is important for me to know that I really appreciated the help people gave me, from the training, the sponsorship, to the fantastic BBQ that Steve and Pam completed for the Leisure Riders completely at their own cost and all the lovely cakes Mrs JB made!
The ride itself starts from Blackheath at 0700 on a Wednesday morning. I linked up with Chris, Dane and Nick From the Narwhals CC in Kent. What a fantastic three guys to meet, ride with and become friends with! The first day through Kent was 86 miles and the most lumpy day. Not helped by a course diversion for a UXB which had to be removed by the bomb squad. There was unfortunately a two + hour queue for the ferry, but once we got off in Calais it was only 3 miles to the hotel. 82 miles today.
Day 2 Calais to Arras
HOT, HOT, HOT! Garmin was reading 46.3,degrees and we stopped at every church we saw for fresh water. There was no wind and we were just melting but another 80 in the bag.
Day 3 Arras to Compiegne
Went to Thieval, saw the Ravens tree and cycled through the Somme. It was peaceful and humbling. 80 miles again today.
Day 4 Compiegne to Paris
It rained!!! But it was really warm so it was bearable. I managed to land my new frame on a metal bollard 24 miles outside Paris. Fantastic hole down near the bottom bracket and cracked 2/3rds of the way round! OUCH! I was chaperoned into Paris by John and Buzz, both x Squaddies, as well as the Narwhals. We went round the Arc de Triomphe a couple of times ( we were lost) and then 130 of us met in a park ready to ride down the Champs Elysses en masse to the Eiffel Tower. John met me there which was great and he brought champagne which was even greater!
The two mile ride back to the hotel turned into 11 after a few glasses of champagne but riding in Paris was awesome!
In the bar until 0300hrs the next morning celebrating which is not bad for a tee total person, although I did hit the champagne again!
On the Sunday we saw the prep for the Tour and Colombians massing, but had to leave before the riders arrived which was a shame.
Good friends made, money raised for charity and out on my bike- PERFICK!
Thank you again to all who supported me