In June 2016 5 of us did London to Paris over 3 days.
I thought it would be interesting to set myself 2 new challenges after this ride:
- Complete it in 24 hours
- Complete it by myself
The time challenge makes sense, the solo challenge, is about head-game, it's also about testing myself to ensure I'm not reliant on other people's fast tube swapping skills. Solo means I can't distribute sharable gear between people (tools, pumps). It means if I'm involved in an accident, there is no-one there to immediately call the emergency services. It means I need to be able to say a few words in French so that I'm not treated too rudely.
From a practical point of view, what I'm most worried about is that I can't easily run into a shop, or a toilet. I'm not going to be bringing a bike lock with me, just a small wire lock (which is only useful if the bike is in my view).
I'd like to add "no-one to slow me down", however the guys I cycle with travel at the same speed as me. It does mean that I'm not waiting on anyone else flat tire though. Flat tires scale linearly with group size, and the whole group will stop for a single flat tire. So the more people you have, the slower the group. Simple relationship. (Although its nice to have moral support when changing a tire).
The idea of this ride had been in my mind for a few months, however I only booked at the last moment. I also wanted a cabin so this added to the cost:
- Eurostar mid week - Paris to London (9:13pm train) £102
- Eurostar bike transportation - £30
- DFDS Boat - Newhaven to Dippe Departing 11pm Newhaven. Arriving 5am Dippe (note that the UK is 1 hour behind France): £28 for the ticket. £70 for the cabin supplement. (I still don't know if I paid for 4 beds in the cabin or 1, I picked a "1 of 4" cabin on the website.
The speed of the ride makes some plans easier. No shoes required for walking around Paris. No change of clothes required. No jeans so I look trendy once we have arrived.
Given I've accepted I'm wearing the same sweaty bib-shorts and jersey for the whole 24 hours, the decision comes down to how I layer myself. Usually I'd go thin jersey. thermal top. Leg + Arm warmers. Maybe some modesty shorts. This time around is different though - It's going to be 34 degrees C in Paris. I'm sleeping in a cabin on the boat which has blankets. this should keep me warm then as well.
I see myself already walking around the boat, in line for Spaghetti with extra pasta, draped in a blanket.
- 1 thin cycling jersey
- 1 pair bib shorts
- 2 pair socks - 1 pair will be an old pair which I'll throw out on the boat
- Cycling shoes
- Leg + arm warmers, in case of an emergency where I'm stuck somewhere in the cold
- Rain jacket
The leg/arm warmers will most surely be unnecessary, however I'm still worried that the temperature may drop and I'll have a catastrophic chain failure.
Gear remains the same as last year. But this time I need to carry all of it.
- 2 bike tubes. If I have a flat tube UK side . I'll purchase 2 more tubes France side
- Bike Pump
- CO2 Inflator (perhaps)
- 2x Tire levers
- 1 x multi-tool
- Phone (Quad Lock mount)
- 10000mha battery
- Thunderbolt cable, micro-usb cable
- Gopro 5 + 2x batteries
The most important part. For this I've researched a few blogs, plenty of people have done this ride, and obviously everyone wants to talk about it. The best post are these, some including ride specifics: