Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Anyone fancy London - Paris?

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited August 2012 in Tour & expedition
As there was no way I could raise the usual £1200-1500 to take part in one of the charity rides, I did this as a solo trip last year going the London-Newhaven-Dieppe-Paris route.

I'm thinking about doing it again this year but on the longer Dover-Calais route and wondered if anyone else fancied it?

I wouldnt be looking to take any money off anyone - just agree the ferry crossing time, overnight stops and hotel bookings etc - so there's no risk of being ripped off. My brother-in-law works for a French holiday company and can usually get deals on ferries/Eurostar/hotels etc - it would be up to you if you wanted to take advantage of them though.

I'm a reasonable cyclist so I wouldnt be ambling along. I'd be looking to finish in Paris on day 3 of the trip if that gives you some idea of the pace, but I'm not trying to kill myself getting there either. Ideally it would be a nice sociable ride with some like-minded folk.

I don't have any maximum/minimum numbers in mind, if there's a few people around me to chat to as we ride that would be just as good as a huge crowd.

If you're interested then maybe we can start talking dates and routes?

Cheers

Tom
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  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 2,259
    Sounds like a great idea. I can understand these "charity figures" that get dreamt up. I would rather just jump on the bike and go. Depending what time of year etc Id be interested. Be good if we could get a resonable group. Im in Mallorca but have some holiday to take so would like a week where i fly uk for a week do paris straight away then get back to uk for some time with the family before coming back here. If somethign gets put together and the dates work if we can work a basic cost (basic im not too fussed) woudl be interested! good call been wondering if anyone else just does it themselves. More than happy to do a quick trip but as you say would prefer the longer route too.
    Cheers

    jeff
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Nice to hear you're interested. I PMed someone about it earlier today with a more detailed plan - let me know if you'd like this sending on

    Cheers

    Tom
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 2,259
    Yes Please Tom. Thanks
    jeff
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    I'd like to see the detailed plan too if that's ok. I have often fancied doing a similar trip with a group, but I don't want the agg, of having to raise money for a charity. Can you pm me the plan or email to carl at NettieTheDog dot net all lowercase.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    edited April 2012
    OK, PMs on their way (now in my outbox - if they don't arrive let me know and I'll cut and paste to the thread).

    I don't want to overplay the "detailed" nature of it at this stage. It's a sketch with elements to be filled out by the group once we get enough firm commitment to make this a runner (I have no fixed/minimum numbers in mind) but should give you more of an idea.

    Issues we'd need to flesh out or agree on would be -

    Date

    Route for French leg (I have no fixed ideas here but should be very easy to plot one or simply lift one from a GPS site)

    Starting point in London (I'm keen on Trafalgar Sq for it's symbolic value and convenience for central London accommodation the night before but I'm not that strongly wedded to it)
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    On reflection, if you would like me to plan everything on a more detailed basis I'd be happy to do so.

    At the moment I'm keen not to put anyone off the idea by being too dogmatic on how this would work. I enjoy planning and organising though (being a sad git!) so if you're feeling lazy I'll get to work ;-)
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    rodgers73 wrote:
    On reflection, if you would like me to plan everything on a more detailed basis I'd be happy to do so.

    At the moment I'm keen not to put anyone off the idea by being too dogmatic on how this would work. I enjoy planning and organising though (being a sad git!) so if you're feeling lazy I'll get to work ;-)

    Thanks for the pm, that all works for me, in terms of budget and hotels and travel, but the date is a little awkward as I have sportive booked on the 19th August in Blenhiem. If the date is flexible then I would love to join in, but don't worry if changing the date is troublesome. I live about 50 miles from London, so I can get the enemy to drop me off on the day. In terms oh route planning I have no idea, so I am happy to follow your route.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 2,259
    if it all comes together im along the lines of P9uma too. Sounds great
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Ok, going to do a more fleshed out and detailed plan over next few days that can be "launched" whenever it suits anyone interested.
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Ok, going to do a more fleshed out and detailed plan over next few days that can be "launched" whenever it suits anyone interested.

    Looking forward to seeing it.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • bigjimbigjim Posts: 780
    Hi
    I got your PM. Thanks. Looks good but I am now mulling over if I am fit enough for the daily mileage. I do a few 90 to 100 mile club runs in hilly Lancashire but to be honest I tend to do them by mistake and I'm knackered that evening so it might spoil the trip for me. Does anybody know what the terrain is like and are there decent stretches of tarmac where its easy to up the mileage rather than the UK where you are constantly stopping?

    Jim.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    The route from Dieppe to Paris was relatively flat and the roads generally better than UK surfaces. Once I've plotted (or found on a GPS site) a route for the French sections you can have a look at the gradients.

    From what I've heard the Calais-Paris route isn't too hilly, but we'll see.
  • DF33DF33 Posts: 732
    Copy me in please with your mail, I have to be in Paris for a couple of days and could post a clothes parcel out to a French friend there and ride out with you.
    Peter
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    I am really quite keen to do this, however, I have just thought about my level of fitness. I am fairly new to road cycling and whilst I am getting fitter every day, and i will train for this ride I wonder if I'll be able to keep up with everyone. I don't want to hold everyone up. What level of rider is everyone, are you all superfit road heroes?
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I'm reasonably fit but would not be looking to set any records on this trip. The reason I'm looking to get a group together is so it's a sociable experience rather than a dash to the Eiffel Tower.

    Once you see the route and gradients etc you'll have a better idea of how it will be for you, but don't imagine that I'd be blasting down those roads leaving everyone in my dust! I'll be looking out for good places to stop for lunch, elevenses, afternoon tea etc etc ;-)
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm reasonably fit but would not be looking to set any records on this trip. The reason I'm looking to get a group together is so it's a sociable experience rather than a dash to the Eiffel Tower.

    Once you see the route and gradients etc you'll have a better idea of how it will be for you, but don't imagine that I'd be blasting down those roads leaving everyone in my dust! I'll be looking out for good places to stop for lunch, elevenses, afternoon tea etc etc ;-)


    Cool, nice one.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • lastantlastant Posts: 526
    I'd be interested in this too - like others above I'd be a little concerned about perhaps slowing down the group. I managed to do my LEJOG at a 'leisurely' average speed, although that was solo and it's always easier to keep moving when you're with others. If you could forward on a rough plan that'd be great.

    Perhaps if there's a few of us that are noticeably not as quick we could always meet up with others later on that evening. I'm not talking days different, but a couple of hours etc. wouldn't be too bad would it?
    One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    lastant wrote:
    I'd be interested in this too - like others above I'd be a little concerned about perhaps slowing down the group. I managed to do my LEJOG at a 'leisurely' average speed, although that was solo and it's always easier to keep moving when you're with others. If you could forward on a rough plan that'd be great.

    Perhaps if there's a few of us that are noticeably not as quick we could always meet up with others later on that evening. I'm not talking days different, but a couple of hours etc. wouldn't be too bad would it?


    Blimey! I read your entire blog last night, I ain't sure I'll be able to keep up with you. How you did tha LEJOG on your own is beyond me.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 2,259
    well i dont mind being on the front the whole way if it helps
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    OK, here we go - detailed plan...
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Here is a draft itinerary based on the trip being run from Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th August –

    1. Wednesday (Evening Prior)

    Group assembles in London at St Pancras Youth Hostel. This has dormitory beds for £25-30 and plenty of secure bike storage space in the underground car park, also a decent sized lounge area where you can get dinner and drinks, which would be a good place to gather to discuss the next day’s arrangements. Otherwise, there are plenty of pubs nearby for that sort of thing.

    http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/london-st-pancras

    Also in the same area are Travelodge –

    http://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/258/ ... ross-hotel

    And Premier Inn –

    http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/KINP ... st-pancras


    2. Thursday – London to Dover

    8.00am set off to Trafalgar Square for photos then continue on to Dover

    I’m happy to use this route from Ride With GPS –

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/79327 (to be modified for our own start point)

    This shows a total distance of 83 miles to Dover, mainly using the A2. Although this probably isn’t the most inspirational road available, it does take us past some good sized towns that would be able to provide a decent lunch and/or café stop. For instance -

    Gravesend - at 27 miles
    Chatham – at 35 miles
    Sittingbourne – at 45 miles
    Canterbury – at 66 miles

    Anyone looking to join us along the way, rather than start in London, can pick a location on that route (or further back in east London) where we can meet up – its then just a question of getting the meeting time sorted (a quick text message should do it).

    The most suitable ferry sailing times from Dover to Calais are –

    18.35
    19.15
    20.15
    20.40
    21.20
    22.05

    The crossing time is 90 mins plus the extra hour for French time, so it’s effectively a 2.5hrs. There is no guidance for when cyclists need to check in by but based on travelling by car in the past I would say it would be best to arrive an hour in advance.

    The ferry crossings for the Dover to Calais route are run entirely by P&O. Their website says that foot passengers can only cross up until 7.00pm. I rang to check this and if you call they will book you on as a vehicle at later times of the day. They will still give you the online foot passenger fare if you book this way.

    The number to call is 08716 642121 (or 01304 863000 if you don’t fancy paying 10p p/min!). The web address is –

    http://www.poferries.com/

    The fare is showing as £25 at the moment, but I doubt that changes a great deal.

    I would suggest booking the 19.15 crossing. I’d also consider booking a later crossing as a back up in case you run into any problems or delays (or just miss it by 5 mins!) as it will no doubt cost a lot more to book on the spot.

    Assuming an 8.00am getaway from Trafalgar Square and three hours for lunch and café stops on the way, this means 7 hours of cycling at an average speed of 12mph for us to arrive at the ferry check in at 18.15. This seems quite manageable.

    The ferry will dock at 21.45 meaning it will be pretty late to be finding a restaurant open in Calais so dinner on the ferry would be a good idea.

    Hotels in Calais seem to be clustered around the port (where they are expensive) or just outside town in Coquelles where the hypermarkets are located. There are a cluster of budget hotels in Coquelles, including –

    Hotel F1 (£30) - http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-245 ... ndex.shtml

    B&B Hotel (£45) - http://www.hotel-bb.com/reservation-hot ... telId=4130

    Kyriad Hotel (£50) - http://www.kyriad.com/hotel-kyriad/en/f ... calais.htm

    So it would be easy to keep the group together even if we can’t all get into the same place. Coquelles is a 6 mile ride from the ferry terminal and at that time of year we’d be riding in daylight still.

    If you cant be bothered with the extra miles straight after your dinner then the hotels in town seem to be around £60 and there are some privately owned ones that may be cheaper but don’t offer online booking, so they remain a mystery.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    3. Friday – Calais to Amiens

    Again using a route from Ride With GPS –

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1030924

    This shows a total distance of 98 miles but the gradients aren’t too harsh. If I am reading the chart correctly it shows a maximum climb of 7%.

    Again assuming 3 hours for lunch and café stops, if we left at 9.00am and arrived at 7.00pm that’s 7 hours riding at an average of 14mph, so a little more demanding than the day before. Unless of course we started earlier or finished later in the day!

    The hotel situation in Amiens is similar to Calais. The budget ones are on the outskirts, the city centre places are a bit more pricey. However, unlike Calais, I’d imagine Amiens is a city worth having a night out in so the small extra cost is probably worth it.

    City Centre places –

    Ibis (£50) - http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/booking/r ... 2226217583

    Holiday Inn (£55) - http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/fr/fr/r ... n/roomrate

    All Seasons (£77) - http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/booking/r ... 8208419759


    Outskirts –

    Hotel F1 (£30) - http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-231 ... ndex.shtml

    Premiere Class (£45) - http://www.premiereclasse.com/hotel/en/ ... amiens.htm


    4. Saturday – Amiens to Paris

    I wouldn’t use this Ride With GPS route as it finishes a mile or two short of the Eiffel Tower but it’s useful for seeing the distance and gradients –

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/270873

    Basically, it’s 90 miles but with some steeper gradients than the day before. These come in after Beauvais so I’m familiar with that section of the route as I did Beauvais – Paris last year and it’s quite bearable.

    Using the same calculations as the previous two days – 7 hours riding and 3 hours resting – it’s an average speed of 13mph.

    Once we’re there I’ve no idea what people would want to do accommodation wise. I guess there’s less reason to stay in the same area, but I would imagine a group dinner that night or on the Sunday would be a good idea. So, I’d say fend for yourselves on this front unless anyone wants to get an apartment instead of a hotel to keep costs down.


    5. Sunday/Monday - Return Home

    Eurostar is showing single fares for Paris-London for £45.00 (with no flexibility). You can take a bike on there for a charge of £30 if you reserve a place or send it on separately for £25. See below –

    http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/t ... cycles.jsp


    6. Total Costs

    London hotel - £30
    Ferry - £25
    Calais hotel - £30
    Amiens hotel - £50
    Eurostar ticket - £45
    Eurostar bike reservation - £25

    Total - £205

    Add to that food and drink, wherever you stay in Paris and transport to London (if needed) and you’ve got a fairly cheap trip.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    This thread better not sink without a trace after all that! :wink:
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    Excellent work and many thanks for doing it. It all works for me except the date, that is the only week in August I can not do. Is that date cast in stone?
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I'm not sure - I suppose it will depend on what the others can do. It may be tricky for me to shift it but I need to check my diary.

    I'd say to anyone interested in doing this - when are you free? Then we can agree on a date that suits all of us.
  • p9umap9uma Posts: 565
    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm not sure - I suppose it will depend on what the others can do. It may be tricky for me to shift it but I need to check my diary.

    I'd say to anyone interested in doing this - when are you free? Then we can agree on a date that suits all of us.

    Fair enough, if it can't be changed so be it, maybe another time. Many thanks for the work you have put into it though.
    Trek Madone 3.5
    Whyte Coniston
    1970 Dawes Kingpin
  • Quite a few oof us off her did this a couple of years ago. We left a site open for people to look at. with a lot of the relevant info. It's not an easy task as a lot of trust is involved and you have problems with people wanting to take control etc....

    http://cjwoods.com/london2paris/YaBB.pl

    Hope this helps
    Bianchi. There are no alternatives only compromises!
    I RIDE A KONA CADABRA -would you like to come and have a play with my magic link?
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    p9uma wrote:
    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm not sure - I suppose it will depend on what the others can do. It may be tricky for me to shift it but I need to check my diary.

    I'd say to anyone interested in doing this - when are you free? Then we can agree on a date that suits all of us.

    Fair enough, if it can't be changed so be it, maybe another time. Many thanks for the work you have put into it though.

    I think I was a bit tired when I posted that - basically, I'm open to shifting the date. We just need to co-ordinate it.
  • Paul_iowPaul_iow Posts: 110
    Count me in please! I have wanted to do this for a while but can never justify the expense of going with an organsied group. Any dates are fine with me :D
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    To anyone else interested - what dates are good for you?
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