So, it has been a very long time since I did this ride. All that you need to know was that it was incredible. I would recommend it to anyone. Even Josh grudgingly admitted the ride was worthwhile.
A map of the route we took can be found on the Bike Rides page of this blog. It appears in two stages, the first being our rigorous ride from London to Calais on day one, and the second part been the French part of the journey to Paris from Calais.
We averaged about 70 miles per day, doing 85 miles on each of the first two days, and a mere 60 mile leisurely journey from Beauvais to Paris! According to the mapmyride data, there were 14 'category 5' climbs on our route, which disappointed me in a way, as I swear a couple of them felt worse. Despite how little mileage we all had under our belts at that point in time, all three of us (my housemates Rob and Josh included) were able to successfully climb the hills put in front us. I would say with ease, but in all honesty I fell off my bike on one of the bigger climbs, and there were a number of times when we all felt like giving up and walking.
The 1st day was very hard, as it involved cycling along an 'A road', which was both dangerous and very VERY boring. But I would definitely say the 3rd day was the toughest, as it involved cycling along some fairly flat, but exposed terrain and after hours of cycling against the wind it did begin to wear us down. But frequent (too frequent) stops at the local 'boulangeries' kept spirits high.
There was only really one scare throughout the entire journey, which is really accredited to the quiet route Rob managed to find. I was nearly wiped out by a truck at a junction on the third day. If it hadn't of been for Josh yelping 'DAANNN' at a pitch I have never heard before, I wouldn't be here today. It happened primarily through sheer exhaustion and partly down to the traffic driving on the wrong side of the road. But luckily, I managed to avoid certain death by pulling out at the junction through a combination of the driver's very good awareness and braking, and me putting on the boosters on, which were powered by fright.
Moving on, Northern France is absolutely beautiful. The lack of English spoken by locals made the adventure more fun, but could have been an issue had one of us not spoken 'pigeon' French. Our stop off points were Calais, Abbeville, Beauvais and Paris totaling approximately 280 miles. In each place we stopped at very low cost hostels/F1 hotels (including Paris). This kept cost down too a minimum, and the hotels were actually really nice. Josh didn't really appreciate sharing a room with Rob and I, which is understandable, but the rooms were made up of a single and a double, with three duvets. So for those sharing the double bed - do not fear.
I wont go into anymore detail , as I think I have covered the essential parts. But I will summarise by saying that this ride was an amazing adventure. We had a GPS system to follow, which is absolutely essential when cycling abroad, in my opinion. And although the daily mileage can be tough, it was made bearable by great company and some fantastic scenery.
I would recommend this cycle to anyone. As I kept saying to myself throughout my stay in Paris, "I got to Paris......on a bike".
If you require any more detail information, please feel free to comment below and I will happily get back to you.