London Paris London Challenge Tour 2023
After the success of our Edinburgh to London Challenge Tour in 2022 we chose another iconic tour for 2023: London to Paris. And back again. In eight days. A ride that would be a challenge and an achievement. But it had to be fun too.
The tour took the form of an overnight ride from London to Newhaven (in the best Fridays tradition) and then a ferry to Dieppe. From there we took a circular route around Northern France, including a tour of Paris, with rides of around 80 miles a day.
Almost 50 riders participated in the London to Newhaven leg, with 27 of those going on to France for the tour. Some were seasoned tourists, others had never done a multi-day tour before. All were up for it.
We had overnight stays in Evreux and the Paris suburbs close to Versailles, from where on our rest day we went on a cycle tour of Paris, taking in all the main sights. It took us two days to get to Paris, and three days back to Calais. Our route back took us through Compiegne and Arras, then passing by the incredibly moving Vimy Ridge WW1 war memorial, before we rolled into Calais.
After a wash and brush up, it was time to celebrate. Alcohol was taken, excellent food was consumed and the atmosphere was the kind that can only be inspired amongst a group who had bonded on a proper challenge. We’d all had our difficult moments on the tour, we’d all had doubts, but we were each and every one bolstered by the new friendships we’d made and memories that would stay with us forever. And we’d come through it. Together.
The next day, after riding through some of Kent’s finest scenery we were finally back where we started. London. Eight days after we’d left. 560 miles in total.