Do you want to cycle London to Paris in 24 hours?

I know I do, however it was one of those things that I was telling myself that I couldn’t do. I wasn’t a proper ‘cyclist’. Perhaps I would do a longer, less scary version. But then my friend Sophie set up a sportive, taking 200 cyclists fully supported on the 24 hour 199 mile ride, and I started to think that maybe I could do it. I knew I wanted to go on an adventure with her this year, maybe this could be it.

I asked Sophie some questions about the challenge, to get a little more of a feel for what the sportive was all about, the training needed, kit, and support along the way. I know it’s made me very VERY tempted to sign up for the weekend ride of the 2nd May, want to join us?

London to Paris bike ride

Can you tell me about why you first took part in a London to Paris ride? And why you set up your own ride.

It’s such an iconic challenge and I think it was always something that was there in the back of my mind. I’d just finished my first triathlon and cycling was the aspect I had enjoyed the most. Having bought a road bike, I wanted a challenge that would inspire me to ride a lot and this just fit. I remember just thinking that the concept of cycling from London to Paris in 24 hours sounded as insane as it did amazing and I thought “go for it”!

Setting up this ride is a way for me to create this opportunity for other people. One of the hardest parts about doing these challenges is finding the right people who want to share the experience with us and are ready to commit. I strongly believe anyone is capable of completing this challenge and I want to help ordinary people achieve something extraordinary.

I’m not a cyclist, how would you suggest I start adding cycling into my life and workout routine?

 One thing I don’t like about cycling is the rules and labels. People feel that to be a ‘cyclist’ you must have to cycle a lot, look a certain way, have a specific bike or wear specific clothing. Cycling is a beautitful sport and I want to celebrate it and the people who partake in it in all their forms! If you ride a bike, you are a cyclist. Period.
That being said, to incorporate cycling into your routine, undoubtedly the best way is to commute to work on your bike. I used this as a way not only to get used to time in the saddle but also to add in additional laps around my local park before work or hills in my lunch break. On the weekend, find a local club or a friend to go cycling with and explore your local area or catch a train out of town and do a loop to avoid the traffic.

What amount of training would you recommend for the London to Paris in 24hrs?

Time in the saddle is the most important. You need to aim to build up to being able to cycle 100 miles. This may sound a lot and it will be a huge achievement when you get there, but it’s all about the baby steps. Do 20 miles this weekend and build from there. You’ll get to 100 in miles, your first century! If you are a seasoned cyclist, then it will be about building your endurance. A huge part of this is mindset, being inspired by the challenge and training for it will help you find the motivation to continue and dig deep when the going gets tough.

The first time I cycled London to Paris in 24 hours, I had only cycled 60 miles once before. What I lacked in cycling experience I made up for in determination. I learned that if you just keep going, keep spinning those legs, you will get there!

How many long rides do you think I need to fit in between now and then?

As many as you can really, it’s all about you feeling comfortable and ready for the challenge. However, as I said I had only completed one long-ish ride so it’s up to you. A good number to aim for would be 4. That’s one per month, totally achievable!

More about training here: http://www.challengesophie.com/cycling/train-cycling-london-paris-24-hours

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Is it flat?

On the UK side we go over the South and North Downs but then there is a very long (10 mile) descent into Newhaven ferry port. This feels incredible! On the French side it’s undulating so nothing to worry about there.

Any tips for cycling through the winter?

Go out at sunrise and explore your part of the world. As it’s winter, sunrise is later so you don’t have to get up too early. If you get a clear morning you will be in store for something truly spectacular. Other than that, wrap up warm with lots of layers and good gloves, use strong lights and be careful of the ice.

I can’t repair a flat tyre, change an inner tube or do anything with my bike- do I need to learn before London to Paris?

It may come in handy to know how to change an inner tube but it is not necessary at all. We have mechanics on hand to help you if you run into any issues.

What type of kit should I invest in?

Kit to keep you warm if it’s bad weather will be most useful. Arm warmers, a neck scarf and good gloves. That being said, in May you might not need any of those if the weather is good! A small saddle bag to store food, spares kit would be really helpful. A cycling jersey that you can stash things in (it’s quite impressive how much you can fit into the pockets of a jersey!). Cycling shoes and cleats will help you ride your bike much more efficiently, they are well worth investing in. Look for sales as they can be pricey. Finally, a light cycling jacket to protect you from wind and rain will be your lifesaver. You can stash it in your jersey pockets when you don’t need it.

What happens with our bags? Do I need to have panniers on my bike?

We will look after and transport all your kit for you and give you access to it at the feed stations. I would advise against panniers as these will upset the balance of your bike and slow you down on a ride like this.

London to Paris

What makes your ride different to a solo attempt or joining up with a charity group?

It’s different to a solo attempt in that you will have the logistical support of our team and the companionship of the people coming on the ride. You will experience riding in a peloton, meet like minded people who are all up for a challenge and help each other through the ups and downs. You won’t have to worry about food, navigation or carrying your kit and when you get to Paris there’ll be a party waiting for you! You’ll also get to ride with me and I’ll be there to motivate you too. It really is an incredible challenge whether you have any previous cycling experience or not, I’d love to help you achieve it.

It’s different to a charity ride in that you don’t have to raise hundreds of pounds for charity to complete this challenge. There’s nothing like this out there where you can complete this iconic challenge without it costing an arm and a leg. I wanted it to be accessible and affordable to everyone.

I look forward to riding with you!

For any questions email enquiries@londontoparissportive.com

London to Paris

9 Comments

  1. February 2, 2015 / 10:18 am

    I thought about signing up for that one but I’m not so keen on riding in large groups, so I might just try and convince a few friends to ride with me another time. 🙂 It is tempting though. Maybe if I win the lottery.. ha.

    • charlotte
      February 2, 2015 / 10:21 am

      I know what you mean, but I think the group will naturally split up into smaller groups of similar speed and ability! Why not get a few friends signed up with you for this ride 🙂

      • February 3, 2015 / 2:57 pm

        I’m still trying to find those few friends… 🙂 I just moved to the area and don’t know a single soul crazy enough to do so (yet).

  2. February 2, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    Yes the groups will definitely split up and you’ll find your crew of people you’ll end up cycling with. We’re catering to mixed abilities so there will be support for you and also people to ride with. can’t wait to share this adventure with you!

  3. February 2, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    I’ve already told you that I’m there if you’re able to commit! I think this would be such a great thing to accomplish going into the Summer. 🙂

  4. February 2, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    I loved this! My manager and I are looking into doing on in July with our charity of the year, it ends the day before the tour de france ends and as part of the packaging you get to watch the cyclist ride up the champs 🙂

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  5. February 6, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I really *really* want to do this, but I’ve already signed up for the Electric Run with some friends on the 2nd May – I’m so upset! Really hope I can do it next year! I know you’ll have an amazing time, best of luck!

  6. February 8, 2015 / 8:59 am

    sounds tempting 🙂 I think I already have too much on around that time though! Maybe next year!

  7. February 9, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    IF you’ll decide to do it, I’ll cheer you on when you pass by our house 😉 Enjoy the ride, Charlie!!

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