Kent to Paris by Bicycle
I've just signed up to a last minute charity ride in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
There's a group of us spending the long weekend cycling from Kent to Paris
It's a ~250 mile cycle over three days, and I've just checked the weather, it's looking very interesting
The End Result
Overall the team raised more than £13,000.
Thanks to the FT for matching my fundraising, who will bump up that total to £700.
Thanks also to Rob and Anneke for all the planning that went into the ride.
It also wouldn't have been possible without the support from Anneke's parents and her old school PE teacher and his wife, who kept us fed and watered throughout the journey.
The Live Updates
Saturday Morning — Kent to Folkestone
~8am, it's Saturday morning and I'm in Kent, mostly ready to go.
There are 13 riders in total, and 14 bikes just in case.
First up is a ride to the tunnel, should take us a handful of hours. From there we pack everything in a van and cross the channel.
~10:30am, we made it to Tesco in Folkestone, time for some pain au chocolate!
Saturday Afternoon — Calais to Somewhere on the Coast of France
~1:00pm, just queuing for the train. So far the weather has been absolutely amazing
~3:00pm local time, and we're out the other side. Hello France
It's ~5:30pm French time and we're doing a quick water run in a nice town called La Capelle-lès-Boulogne. 20km down, quite a chunk to go! Looking forward to a nice cold beer at the end of todays ride
6:20pm, we've just been through the wonderful Boulogne Forest. A couple of nice climbs and beautiful scenery
7:45pm, it was a cracking flat 10km ride down to Le Touquet on the French coast.
That wraps up the day, with 116km sent
Sunday Morning — Le Touquet to Château de Rambures
Aiming for a 7:30am start today. Weather isn't looking quite as good as yesterday, sunny start converting to thunderstorms in the afternoon...
There's 150km to get through today, a bit more than yesterday. Google's saying it should be about 8h on the saddle
8:05am, almost ready to set off
~9:30am, quick stop for the first puncture of the trip. Gravel on a roundabout. We're making amazing progress, sticking together as a group with some amazing pace, eating up the kilometers
11:10am, second pit stop before lunch. Breaking out the suncream and polo mints. 98km left for today, about 60km in.
11:11am, second puncture of the day, with a spontaneous release of air from Jackob's front tire
11:44pm, we're down a couple of riders, waiting to group up. Lunch just an arm's reach away!
~1:00pm, time for lunch in the village square. 84km done for this first leg. Lot's of 2nd and 3rd helpings, some muscle rolling, joint clicking, and stretching too. Water stop 34km from here.
Sunday Afternoon — Château de Rambures to Beauvais
1:45pm, and we're just about to set off.
2:15pm, one bike making a clicking noise, so it's a quick post lunch stop
2:50pm, pitstop at the top of a hulk of a hill. Everyones finding their new limits, making so much progress up hills today. We're just next to a dilapidated farm, geese roaming free.
3:55pm, almost at the water stop, solid riding for the whole hour. 25°C, and no sign of that thunderstorm...
5:05pm, another stop, top of a hill overlooking another amazing forest
5:40pm, water stop in a little French town called Troissereux
6:30pm and we've made it to Hotel Kyriad, that last 10km was an effort, lots of hills and lots of stops. Chris had a near miss with a car, looking forward to a few more of those in Paris
10:30pm about to pass out.
Monday Morning — Beauvais to the Eiffel Tower
6:50am and we're up. Discussing the merits of chamois and the Daily Mail's high quality reporting on a suncream pill.
7:20am, finishing up breakfast and it's looking like we'll manage to dodge all the bad weather. Few thunderstorms yesterday evening while we were eating.
8:10am, final preparations before the final leg. Hayfever tablets all round. Lots of water filling, lots of tinkering. Can't wait to see what Paris is all about
8:25am, still tinkering, Chris and I questioning our relationship while we wait to start.
9:15am, set off a while back. Just recovering at the top of today's big climb. A 9% gradient according to Anneke, not sure that's entirely true
10:00am, first stop for nature in Amblainville. Sticking together more and more, 25km seen off with a good effort from everyone.
10:30am, about 1km from today's half way point. Lovely views of and rolling hills and powerlines
10:53am, pitstop in Auvers-sur-Oise. There's mention of Vincent van Gogh being here. 42km down, not far left now. However there's an increasing number of traffic lights
11:02am, just found a bakery! Vanhauwe Franck, we're all stopping for a croissant
11:19am, I think we might be calling it a day here. Everyone seems very settled.
11:55am, just passed through Taverny, nature calls. All that water consumption seems to be working
1:50pm, made it
Monday Afternoon — Paris
6:16pm, celebrations done. Picnic lunch at the Champ de Mars. We're just heading out for dinner and drinks
00:02am, in a jazz bar called Sunset-Sunside, in the middle of Paris 🤷.