Made it

Made it. By the skin of my butt. I seriously considered retiring after the first day. I was cold, miserable, tired, and I’d been holding the rest of the group back.

Everyone was encouraging. “Tomorrow will be better” was the continual litany.

Some tough lessons learned: I’m not going to attempt anything like this again unless I drop some serious weight. And I’m going to take my bike.

The itinerary needs a Day 4. That’s the day you get the bike (and yourself, incidentally) back to the starting point.

The play-by-play of the ride is available on Twitter.

Here’s Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weatherman

A look at the forecasts today opened my eyes a bit more than I’d hoped: the highs in France (Days 2 & 3 of the ride) are about 5 degrees lower than I’d expected from the long-range forecasts in February. OK, so make that two T-shirts under the (not actually) waterproof windbreaker.

Pretty much finished packing now. A separate vinyl bag for each day on the road: Two T-shirts, underwear and socks. It will be the same shorts and windbreaker throughout (as well as gloves, helmet, bandana).

Kind of optimistic now to think I’ll need sunscreen, but the temps are more of a worry for me than that. Glad to see the borrowed bike has full fenders.

Brighton microdirections

Ride along Brighton seafront (there’s a cycle lane) as far as the marina. Continue straight through the marina leaving Asda on your left. At the end cross the bridge over the lock and turn right towards the sea wall. Take the path behind the chandler’s inland towards the undercliff path, then swing right and follow the path west. This will take you on a flat traffic-free path by the sea all the way to Rottingdean, about 3 miles or so.

Unfortunately you then have to rejoin the main road, but it helps make the most of Brighton.

Courtesy of Jonathan

How to Travel with a Bike on Eurostar

Friend Jonathan points to this link.

If you’ve got a bag and can fit your bike in it at less than 85cm total length (both wheels off, and perhaps the handlebars, methinks) then it travels with you at no extra cost.

Options for the bike traveling separately in a box are available for reasonable rates. Not guaranteed the bike will be on the same train in all instances, but within 24 hours. It’s not bad overall.

Practice!

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

As the famous joke goes:

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice!

I had two years of French in junior high school, from an American teacher whose accent was indubitably far from formidable.

Since that time, I’ve had a year of college German, and then more than 25 years of immersion in Japanese.

Of French and German, all I can say is that when I attempt to speak either, I’ll be back in Japanese before three words are out of my mouth. A native once famously told me that I spoke French worse than his (Japanese) girlfriend. (Which, in general, is really saying a lot … )

From what I’ve heard of my companions on the trip, though, I may be the bee’s knees when it comes to polly vous

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Où est la Tour Eiffel?

Hominid vs the elements

It’s a sad commentary on the state of pro cycling that a competitor in a sanctioned race using an electric motor is termed “mechanical doping”.

The technology has been around for years, of course, and recent advances in batteries bring us to the point of packing 100W of power into a water bottle-sized package. That actually makes it a worthwhile trade-off for the added weight over, say, a 250km Tour de France stage.

The busted rider, Femke Van den Driessche, says the bike belonged to a friend, and mistakenly found its way into her race-day bike lineup. To which we say, with respect, *cough* *cough* Bullshit! *cough*

Bikes with hidden electric motors are commercially available, and apparently difficult to distinguish from the genuine article.

I don't know about you, but if my ride looked like that I'd be happy!
I don’t know about you, but if my ride looked like that I’d be happy!

Look, if someone disadvantaged wants to join L2P on a motorized bicycle, as far as I’m concerned they’re welcome and I’ll shout the celebratory champers on the Champs Élysées. But as for those of us who are only handicapped by age and (over)weight, it’s strictly hominid vs the elements.

That’s the whole point, innit?

The route — Dieppe to Paris

Donal Hirsch, London to Paris
L2P in 24 hours

There’s a wealth of material covering this route. It seems it’s become a very popular outing.

The master of this is Donald Hirsch, who has done the entire London-Paris route in 24 hours. More power to him! Others have fleshed out his route with maps, guides and descriptions, such as this one: Cycling from London to Paris in less than 24 hours.

At bikely.com, Here’s London to Paris section from Dieppe via Avenue Verte and forest tracks into Paris described by Donald Hirsch. The distance is 208km.

From this route it looks like the hotel we’ll be staying at the end of Day 2 is just less than 135km from Dieppe. So, all things being equal and with a grain of salt for actual conditions matching Google data, that makes Day 3 about 75km.

Here’s the guide by Mr Hirsch himself.

(And here’s our local copy of the same guide.)