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Tips and advice for doing the L2P in summer

alexennisalexennis Posts: 3
edited April 2016 in Tour & expedition
Hi all,

Myself and some friends are doing the London to Paris in June over 3 days. Most of us are relatively novice at long distance riding (though we all commute) and are wondering what general tips and advice those of you who have already done it (or done similar length tours) can give us?

Route wise we are thinking of crossing at Newhaven/Dieppe and then following the Avenue Verte. Should we buy the official guide book or is it well indicated enough that we won't need it? I'm not sure what average speeds we should be expecting to do. Was thinking between 15 and 20 km/h. Is that over-ambitious?

Practical questions: how many spare tubes should we pack for punctures? What is the best (and most cycle friendly) accommodation to go for (B&Bs or motels)? Would you pack a backpack or racks/panniers?




  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    Pace is a bit 'how long is a piece of string' and depends on how fit you are, what you carry, what you ride, the weather (wind), if you are looking to do it as fast as you can or riding along looking at the scenery........
    Personally if I'm not in a really mountainous region I average about 15 kph when touring. But I tend to be on a two week tour riding a converted mountain bike that weights 15 kg plus full camping kit and just riding along not trying to get somewhere fast.

    London to Paris is about 300 miles so at 15-20 kph that's three long days in the saddle (8 to 10 1/2 hours a day of riding). Add in navigating, stopping to eat & pee, repairing the odd puncture and your total time on the ride each day will be considerably more, if it's raining it might feel even more again. I would try a group 100 mile ride some time near the end of April/start of May on a Saturday and see how long it take you. Then try and ride 50 miles the next day and see how your legs, censored and everything else feels.

    If you have a couple of inner tubes each and a puncture repair kit this should be plenty. See what tools you have between you no need for everyone to carry the same, one is plenty (other than a pump I'd have more than one of these). I've toured in a lot of France (but not this bit) for years and only found one Hotel who didn't have somewhere secure indoors to kept our bikes. However, there have been just two of us the more of you there are the harder this will be. I find hotels in France a lot cheaper than UK ones especially family run independent ones, but it is often like stepping back into the 80s and sometimes 70s in terms of décor but if you are only staying one night who cares.

    I would find some way of carrying your stuff on your bike not your back. Whether it's panniers, saddle bags or frame bags it's better than a ruck-sack. You're only riding for 3 days and staying in hotels and will be doing nothing much else other than riding, eating and sleeping so you shouldn't need much stuff. Make sure you practice riding with your bike loaded well before you go.
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Generally good advice above!

    However, doing the newhaven-dieppe crossing makes the distance somewhat shorter than the 300 miles above.

    The French side is about 250km and depending on your route to Newhaven, it will usually be about 100km on the uk side.

    I have done the trip a couple of times. I have never ridden the full avenue verte in the French side, but always roughly followed it.

    The way I have always done it is to get the late night crossing from Newhaven. This means leaving London in the afternoon, having dinner and drinks in a pub (can recommend the flying fish in Denton from my last trip) and then getting on the ferry.

    The ferry arrives in the morning (very early morning), meaning you can cover some good distance that first day. One problem is make sure you have some food as nothing will be open for a while once you set off. Last time on the way to PBP, we found breakfast at Neufchâtel en Bray - but that was a bunch on long distance riders on a mission, so we were moving at a reasonable pace.

    That top section of the avenue verte (until forges les eaux from memory) can be ridden completely off roads on the old railway track. Surface is Tarmac throughout and that section is pretty much flat (sure you are climbing all the way to forges, but very gently, it being a railway track and all).

    The next bits are where I can not offer solid advice as my routes have generally been not quite on the avenue verte. It does get a bit hillier though.

    All in all, fantastic riding and an adventure for sure!
  • Thanks so much for the replies guys. We were thinking of leaving London very early in the morning and then getting the 5.30pm ferry to Dieppe arriving at 10.30pm and staying the night in Dieppe. That way we cover more ground on the first day and can set-off relatively relaxed on the 2nd day knowing we've done most of the hard work(ish!) Do you think this is too risky? I'm aware that a lot of people take the overnight ferry but we're a bit worried about not getting a proper night's sleep on the ferry. Are there decent beds on the ferry or do you have to sleep in a seat?
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    I did this last year and I'm doing it again in July. Down the Av Verte.

    We stayed the night in Newhaven at the Prem Inn which was fine and got a ferry in the morning. Got us to the Diepe around 1 and a nice afternoon ride to the 1st evening.

    Night two we stayed at Gournay En Bray at the Le Cygne Hotel. They don't speak the best english but do have locked garages for lots of bike, standard french rooms and a nice courtyard for getting ready in the morning if you have a larger group.

    Strava data for my rides below:
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Use your training rides to work out how many inner tubes you need. Id never go out without one and for anything important I'd be packing two. Make sure they're the right size and valve length etc.

    If you're riding as s group you're only as good as the weakest link so make sure everyone is out training for it.
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