London—Paris—London 2014

By Chris Lamb

I've wanted to ride to Paris for a few months now but was put off by the hassle of taking a bicycle on the Eurostar, as well having a somewhat philosophical and aesthetic objection to taking a bike on a train in the first place. After all, if one already is possession of a mode of transport...

My itinerary was straightforward:

Friday 12h00
London → Newhaven
Friday 23h00
Newhaven → Dieppe (ferry)
Saturday 04h00
Dieppe → Paris
Saturday 23h00
(Sleep)
Sunday 07h00
Paris → Dieppe
Sunday 18h00
Dieppe → Newhaven (ferry)
Sunday 21h00
Newhaven → Peacehaven
Sunday 23h00
(Sleep)
Monday 07h00
Peacehaven → London

Packing list

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/01.jpg
  • Ferry ticket (unnecessary in the end)
  • Passport
  • Credit card
  • USB A male → mini A male (charges phone, battery pack & front light)
  • USB A male → mini B male (for charging or connecting to Edge 800)
  • USB mini A male → OTG A female (for Edge 800 uploads via phone)
  • Waterproof pocket
  • Sleeping mask for ferry (probably unnecessary)
  • Battery pack

Not pictured:

  • Castelli Gabba Windstopper short-sleeve jersey
  • Castelli Velocissimo bib shorts
  • Castelli Nanoflex arm warmers
  • Castelli Squadra rain jacket
  • Garmin Edge 800
  • Phone
  • Front light: Lezyne Macro Drive
  • Rear lights: Knog Gekko (on bike), Knog Frog (on helmet)
  • Inner tubes (X2), Lezyne multitool, tire levers, hand pump

Day 1: London → Newhaven

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/02.jpg

Tower Bridge.

Many attempt to go from Tower Bridge → Eiffel Tower (or Marble Arch → Arc de Triomphe) in less than 24 hours. This would have been quite easy if I had left a couple of hours later.
https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/03.jpg

Fanny's Farm Shop, Merstham, Surrey.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/04.jpg

Plumpton, East Sussex.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/05.jpg

West Pier, Newhaven.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/07.jpg

Leaving Newhaven on the 23h00 ferry.


Day 2: Dieppe → Paris

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Beauvoir-en-Lyons, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/10.jpg

Sérifontaine, Picardie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/12.jpg

La tour Eiffel, Paris.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/13.jpg

Champ de Mars, Paris.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/15.jpg

Pont de Grenelle, Paris.


Day 3: Paris → Dieppe

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/18.jpg

Cormeilles-en-Vexin, Île-de-France.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/20.jpg

Gisors, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/21.jpg

Paris-Brest, Gisors, Haute-Normandie.

Wikipedia: This pastry was created in 1910 to commemorate the Paris–Brest bicycle race begun in 1891. Its circular shape is representative of a wheel. It became popular with riders on the Paris–Brest cycle race, partly because of its energizing high caloric value, and is now found in pâtisseries all over France.
https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/22.jpg

Gournay-en-Bray, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/23.jpg

Début de l'Avenue Verte, Forges-les-Eaux, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/24.jpg

Mesnières-en-Bray, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/26.jpg

Dieppe, Haute-Normandie.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/28.jpg

«La Mancha».


Day 4: Peacehaven → London

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/29.jpg

Peacehaven, East Sussex.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/31.jpg

Highbrook, West Sussex.

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/33.jpg

London weather.


Summary

https://chris-lamb.co.uk/wp-content/2014/london-paris-london/34.jpg
Distance
588.17 km
Pedal turns
~105,795

My only non-obvious tips would be to buy a disposable blanket in the Newhaven Co-Op to help you sleep on the ferry. In addition, as the food on the ferry is good enough you only need to get to the terminal one hour before departure, avoiding time on your feet in unpicturesque Newhaven.

In terms of equipment, I would bring another light for the 4AM start on «L'Avenue Verte» if only as a backup and I would have checked I could arrive at my Parisian Airbnb earlier in the day - I had to hang around for five hours in the heat before I could have a shower, properly relax, etc.

I had been warned not to rely on being able to obtain enough water en route on Sunday but whilst most shops were indeed shut I saw a bustling tabac or boulangerie at least once every 20km so one would never be truly stuck.

Route-wise, the surburbs of London and Paris are both equally dismal and unmotivating and there is about 50km of rather uninspiring and exposed riding on the D915.

However, «L'Avenue Verte» is fantastic even in the pitch-black and the entire trip was worth it simply for the silent and beautiful Normandy sunrise. I will be back.


Chris Lamb is a freelance software developer and the current Debian Project Leader. You can read other posts by me, see software I have written or read more about me. You can also follow me @lolamby.


Tags: Misc Personal Race reports

Planets: ALUG UWCS WUGLUG Debian

Thursday 9th October 2014


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