Looking back on London to Paris

12 September 2013

A few months after completing the London to Paris bike ride, I thought it would be a good time to write a post on tips for anyone else thinking of riding from London to Paris. I hope you’ll find it of use if you’re contemplating it, or already planning the journey. We did the London to Newhaven, Dieppe to Paris route, which you’ll find a summary of here. Whatever you do, mind, don’t base your route on that map; more of that later.

Travel and route

Day 1 was pretty standard; from Parliament Square to New Haven, following the well-trodden London to Brighton cycle route. Lots of bike-friendly roads, with the treat of Devil’s *** to ease in to the finishing straight. We chose to get the 11pm crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe. In theory, this means that you can get 3 hours’ kip. In practice, it’s about an hour by the you get to sleep in spite of the party going on in the cabin next door and the crew waking you up an hour before docking. Tip #1: Take the morning ferry, rather than the 11pm crossing.

The route above is by no means a recommended route. I doubt whoever wrote that website has ever been on the A100 from Beauvais, or if they have they clearly have a death wish. It’s a major trunk road to Paris, and link caused us much constanation at the beginning of the final day. We’d not heard of the Avenue du Verte when we were planning our trip, but I would recommend it highly. On the recommendation of a group we met on the ferry, we followed it from Dieppe to Beauvais. The first portion, a converted disused railway line, did get a bit monotonous, but monotonous can also be an advantage at 4 in the morning after 2 hours’ sleep. On our final day, after the early encounter with the A100, we located a wonderful route that meandered as far as possible through country lanes on the approached to Paris. You could, if time permits, take the Avenue du Verte the whole way.

Equipment

We travelled light, without a support team, and also didn’t much like the idea of panniers. Possibly a decision I later regretted, but the NAME AND MODEL rucksack served me well and was just about the right size for a 3-day trip. Other things I’d recommend:

  • A selection of energy gels
  • Bike repair equipment
  • A lightweight change of clothes for the evenings and for Paris. Being weight-conscious, I took only a pair of flip-flops for footwear, which backfired when it spent the day pouring when we got to Paris

Bike prep

A service from my local bike shop



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