London to Paris in 24hrs – you in?
‘Challenge Sophie’ Radcliffe is organising a sportive from Greenwich to the Eiffel Tower this May, and wants you to join her…
Ever wanted to cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours? 220 contributor and two-time Ironman Wales vet Sophie Radcliffe is organising a London to Paris sportive on the first Bank Holiday weekend in May. Here she reports on why she’s organising it, how to train for it and what kit you should bring along for the ride (enter here).
London to Paris is very special to me because it was one of my first big cycling adventures. It’s one of those breakthrough challenges that really opens your mind as to what you can do. The feeling of achievement when you arrive at the Eiffel Tower, after cycling from London through the night and the following day – it’s incredible.
Over the last few years I’ve cycled London to Paris in 24 hours a handful of times and always shared my adventures through my blog. Last summer I helped over 50 people complete the challenge on their own trips and, as it has always been my dream to organise my own sportive, I thought this was a perfect opportunity.
One of the hardest parts about completing challenges like this is finding people to share it with. My vision is to create an experience where likeminded cyclists can make friends and achieve something outstanding together. I can’t tell you how excited I am about sharing this adventure with everyone!
Something I’m extremely pleased about is the ratio of women to men who have signed up. Last year I competed at Ironman Wales and only 9% of the field were women. For London to Paris, it looks like 45% are women! That’s huge. It’s going to be amazing.
The event runs from Saturday 2nd to Monday 4th May, the Bank Holiday weekend. A ticket costs £345 per person.
The event is 100% supported, I have a team in place to support your every need; mechanics, catering, route, kit carrying, it’s all there to help you focus on the cycling and enjoying the ride. We take care of all the bookings for travel and accommodation, and we transport your bike back to London, ready for you to pick up on Monday 4th May.
When we arrive in Paris, your dinner, bed and breakfast is also included and we’ll all be staying in a hotel right by the Eiffel Tower. The only thing you need to worry about is booking your return travel to London. Oh and keep spinning those legs!
In terms of kit, as it’s May the weather could fall either way but you want as lightweight kit as you can get. I’d highly recommend cycling shoes and cleats, a lightweight waterproof jacket and accessories to keep you warm on the colder parts of the ride like arm warmers, gloves and a neck scarf. The route is fully arrowed and we’ll be issuing GPS so you don’t need to worry about map reading. There’s a full kit list on the website.
The route we take leaves Greenwich, London at 4pm on Saturday 2nd May and cycles 70 miles down to Newhaven. We catch the 11pm ferry to Dieppe, where we’ll catch a few hours sleep, arriving into Dieppe at 4am local time. From there it’s a 129 mile bike ride into Paris, arriving at the Eiffel Tower some hours later.
My recommendation would be to be able to cycle 100 miles before attempting this. That being said, the first time I completed this challenge I had only cycled 60 miles once before. Drive, determination and ability to suffer goes a long way! Just kidding, there’s no suffering, you’ll be too busy enjoying the experience and soaking up the views.
This is a big challenge, but the average speed will be relatively low. Unless you want to go fast – in which case of course you can! It’s speed that kills attempts for endurance cycling though, not distance. More on training tips here.
Finally, nutrition. We’ll be providing food and drinks at well stocked feed stations along the route but I’d advise you to bring anything specific you use whilst cycling to supplement your nutrition.