Riding from London to Paris with (almost) no training

A friends cycled from London to Paris recently with little training. As someone who has did this once on a hybrid it got me thinking what could you do to make the ride easier if you haven?t put the hard training kilometres in up front.

This is what I came up with:

It is (almost) never too late to train even if you only have a few days to go some sensible longish rides will do you good.

Consider getting a road bike if you have time to do a few rides and get used to it before you leave.

Get your bike serviced before you go. It?ll be less likely to break and will have less grit and new oil etc. A recently serviced bike is and efficient bike. Take the serviced bike for at least one good distance ride before you leave do find out if the service has caused any issues.

Pump your tires up properly every day. Hard tires are more efficient than soft tires.

On the ride never be tempted to race or go fast. Always start each day slowly for an hour.

Find other people who want to ride at your pace and ride in a close group with turns at the front. It?s a lot harder to be the first person in a group hitting the wind so taking turns shares the load. Getting behind a large person is ideal ?

Make sure you have good quality carbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Porridge and pasta are ideal. Snacks are a good idea too. You (probably) can?t overeat on the ride. Drink lots of water and isotonic (with salt) drinks to keep your fluids up.

If anyone is offering a leg massage definitely accept

Get as much sleep as you can each night

Don?t drink alcohol until you finish the final day.

Riding from London (Russell?s) to Brussels

Cam, Russ, Grant, Steve, Phil and I rode from London to Brussels for fun. Since we started at Russell?s flat in Balham we coined the ride ?From Russell?s to Brussels?.

Kelvin and Louise kindly offered to drive a support van for us. Nothing happened between them and Steve has nothing to worry about.

The Route

London to Harwich (overnight ferry to Hook of Holland)
Hook of Holland to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Breda
Breda to Brussels

The total distance was about 550kms but I?ll never really know as my Garmin 910xt stopped recording new route information after Breda. Note for next time, record each day as a separate ride. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/186271823

Day 1 ? London to Harwich

Started the day with Steve getting a flat, followed by Phil. Steve likes to get the first flat on these long rides.

Great warm sunny flat ride all day to Harwich. Harwich has a Morrisons right next to the Port which was excellent for refuelling hungry cyclist prior to the ferry.

The overnight ferry was affordable, good quality, comfortable beds, brilliant showers and a it had a bar ?. Just what everyone needed after a long day in the saddle.

Day 2 ? Hook of Holland to Amsterdam

Day 2 did not go well. Despite the ride being in June/summer the weather was shockingly wet and cold. Hardly anyone had the right cold weather gear to keep warm in the conditions. Luckily I had enough of my commuter cycling clothing so wasn?t too bad. Also the non-commuters had no experience of riding in snow and sleet so it was a bit of a shock for them. At midday we found a mall to hide in and drink lots of hot drinks for a couple of hours. Even luckier the mall had a cycle shop and the boys blew around three hundred euros on cold weather gear.

Day 3 – Amsterdam to Breda

Weather greatly improved but still not really summery. Spent the day getting lost. Amazed by the cycling facilities in Holland.

Day 4 – Breda to Brussels

Final day into Brussels followed by a massive team meal and session on the rums.

All in all a fantastic ride with good mates and lots of good memories.