I and my sister, plus 5 others cycled from London to Paris last year. We struggled to find a good route for amateur cyclists to use. In the end we chose the route, Day 1. Dartford to Dover via Faversham and Canterbury, Day 2 Calais to Hesdin, via Desvres, Day3 Hesdin to Beauvais via Ameins Day 4; Beauvais to Paris via Mery sur Oise and Pontoise. Not the easiest of routes as it is very very hilly and mainly travelling west, so we were head to wind all the time. Our experience was:

a: We were not fit enough and I would recommend anyone doing the ride to really sort out their training. We cycled 70-80miles a day for each day and it was exhausting.

b: We cycled in August and it was blooming hot so getting enough liquid was a problem. I found I went through about 8litres a day

c: Alot of it is about mental attitude. It took a couple of days for us to get to the point where we could say that our heads were in the right space. We had to go to bed with the thought that we we were going to cycle 80miles the next day.

d; Getting enough to eat was a problem, esp on the Sunday and Saturday afternoon. The French countryside seems to shut at lunchtime and weekends. We needed soooooooo many calories.

e: Map reading and cycling is hard. One mistake can cost a lot of extra miles and lots of cross faces.

f: Practice repairing punctures before you go, we had 5 on one day. It was really timeconsuming to keep fixing them. Take as many spare innertubes and tyres as you can carry.

g; Get your bike serviced before you go. I didn’t and we had some severe mechanical problems with my bike – a wheel collapsed.

h; Enjoy it. It is an amazing experience and one very few people have undertaken. The bragging rights when you get home are immense.

Written and submitted by : Richard McKenzie (Sep 2014)