London to Paris top tips
Check out these London to Paris top tips from our team of experts who have a wealth of knowledge between them on this iconic bike ride.

London to Paris top tips

1 Train long
By this I mean include at least some rides in your training of comparable length to your longest day. Don’t think that cycling a 10 miles round trip on your daily commute prepares you for a 60-mile day. Build up your stamina in advance and you’ll have a much better time.
(Donald Hirsch - 'The Route Designer')

My best tip would be to make sure you have trained, trained and trained some more, and that you have also practiced cycling in hilly terrain. Fitness-wise people should aim to be cycling at a minimum of 12mph for more than eight hours.
(Craig Wilson, UK & European Event Manager for Global Adventure Challenges)

2 Test all your equipment
The ride itself is not the place to go and test lots of new stuff – the training beforehand is where you should be doing that so that you’re comfortable and familiar with everything before you set off and understand how it all works. For example, I’m currently test out new ways of charging up my electronics – I’m reconfiguring the way the dynamo system works on the bike so that it will charge all the devices up for me. But I don’t want to be testing that on the ride itself and working out what its limitations are, I’m going to be testing it well in advance – and in different conditions. So that when I get there, I can focus on the other stuff.
(Dominic Irvine - 'The Record Breaker')

3 Travel light
If you're carrying your own luggage, then taking too many creature comforts will make you much less comfortable as you struggle up hills. Use tomorrow’s clean clothes for tonight’s evening wear. Your hosts would rather see you turn up to dinner in a T shirt than have you arrive a quivering wreck.
(Donald Hirsch - 'The Route Designer')

4 Come with an open mind
Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, expect the unexpected, and come with an open mind so that you are ready to engage and talk with others, as that’s what sets this experience out from anything else. The ride is amazing but I believe the experience tops that and people make an experience.
(Martin Mears - BHF's Head of Regional Events)

5 Meet the locals
Try to make at least one stop at a French-run B&B, with an evening meal. It’ll make you feel you’ve visited France, not just passed through it.
(Donald Hirsch - 'The Route Designer')

6 Fuel for the ride
Spend time getting to grips with nutrition and, as with the equipment, don’t suddenly try something new. So if you’ve been training in the UK and tend to have a banana or bar when you stop it might not be a good idea to get to France and stop at a French patisserie for something which looks lovely but will have a much higher fat content than you’re used to eating. Clearly it depends what sort of rides you are doing but on the ultra rides I think that where most people get it wrong around nutrition is the whole electrolyte thing. If you don’t have enough electrolytes in, you don’t absorb food well enough, and because you don’t absorb food well enough, you end up feeling sick – and because you’re feeling sick, you end up struggling to go properly and potentially you end up abandoning. So learn as much as you can about it beforehand.
(Dominic Irvine - 'The Record Breaker')

7 Allow time
Give yourself a bit of leeway for things to take longer than you thought (and for punctures). The larger your group, the more leeway you’ll need. Yes, I know you want to set a personal best of miles cycled in a day, but don’t cut things too fine. Two particular things you’ll find problematic are a premature departure from those yummy breakfasts (few people resolving to leave at 7am get away before 9) and a hurried entry into Paris. Finding your way through the final forests takes a bit longer than on the open road. A mad dash through Paris traffic from the Eiffel Tower to the Gare du Nord to catch your Eurostar is NOT the ideal way to end your holiday…
(Donald Hirsch - 'The Route Designer')


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