Any readers of the MVF blog will know that our team love organising exhausting trips away. Over the weekend just past, Sophie and Simon packed their panniers and set off on another epic voyage.
Last Friday Simon and Sophie took their bicycles to Trafalgar Square after work. Where were they riding? Paris – the one in France.
From Trafalgar Square they set off for the last ferry leaving Newhaven, 70 miles away. The clock was ticking - if they missed the last ferry they’d have to wait around til 6 the following morning. There were 5 cyclists in the fleet. Part-way to Newhaven, 2 members of the group with slower bikes decided to swap to the train.
Sophie and Simon stuck to their pedals though. The ride to the ferry took 5.25 hours in total. Around 3 hours in, cycling through a hilltop town, it became clear they were ahead of schedule: they were going to make the ferry! They didn’t slow up but they could relax…
… And, ten minutes later, who were those two slow-coaches up ahead? The non-MVFers of course. Even with the help of a train they couldn’t outrun our two lead generation heroes.
Sur Le Bateu
Sophie campaigned for beer aboard the ferry at Newhaven but her riding mates were more keen on catching some shuteye. So she took some snaps of Simon sleeping on the floor, and found a ball-pit to curl up in.
The group rolled ashore in Dieppe at 4a.m. Paris was still a hefty 110 miles away. But although getting back on their bikes was exhausting, the ride was stunning: according to Sophie the most beautiful she’s done. The sun was rising as they zipped through yellow rapeseed fields, watched by French horses. Simon led the pack, fortunately going in the right direction.
Throughout the 10 hour cycle from Dieppe they stopped for just 2x20 minutes. At 7a.m. they stopped for breakfast at a French patisserie, where Simon ‘bonked’ – cyclist for hit the wall. A much-needed baguette revived him.
Spirits were high. What kept them going, apart from dreams of devouring steak frites at the base of the Eiffel Tower? For Sophie, a playlist of appalling 80s power ballads.
After a slight mix-up when the GPS died at a tangle of motorways, a patch of urban smog was spotted gathered in a valley. “Paris is in a valley!” Sophie remembered, and so in they rode to the city, up the Champs Elysees and towards the Eiffel Tower, for some weary high fives after their long, exhausting journey.
London ----> Paris
Time taken = 20hrs
That evening they celebrated victory with steak frites and, rashly, some andouillete, drinking plenty of beer to take away the taste of the andouillete.
What do you do after cycling for 20 hours? Walk the hundreds of steps up the Eiffel Tower of course - and at the summit, in the light of the glittering Eiffel Tower fairy lights, discuss when you're going to do it all over again...
(Well done guys...)