Folding bike ride from London to Paris

You may be one of those cyclists that dabbles in long distance cycling. Maybe you like challenges. Maybe you like folding bikes. Maybe, just maybe, you like Paris. They do make exceedingly good baguettes. Or maybe you have read a book about a French man and his amazing baguette. Maybe I’m rambling!

The 9th of September is the launch of the Folding Bike Challenge. The 4-day bike ride to Paris which goes against conventional wisdom of charity bike rides in that it involves using a folding bike (shown below) as opposed to the more orthodox road bike.

folding bike off gary_foulger flickr stream

To enter you can either raise money for Scope or British Heart Foundation or for the rich amongst us: self fund.  The organisers are pushing this event not so much as a race but as a light-hearted way to raise funds for charity and enjoy some fine food and company along the way. I caught up with director Julian Risley of Action Challenge who is managing the Folding Bike Challenge. Julian is a very keen cyclist and has previously done charity bike rides as far as India. His conquests include tough cycling in the French Alps, Spain and Italy. He uses his Brompton folding bike on a daily commute into London.

I asked Julian about the challenges of running such an event:

The main challenge is resolving en route accommodation requirements for a large group. On this event we wanted to incorporate some of the best country side in Northern France, avoid big cities (apart from Paris)  wherever possible, and have a route that was not too hilly for the folding bikes- finding sufficient hotel rooms outside of the major towns is a challenge in itself.

    and about how they were getting the word out to cyclists:

Initially our main method was giving out leaflets at the major London railway stations, as the folding bike riders are easy to spot! We’ve backed that up with a Google Ads campaign that has been successful, and now intend to run a few press advertisements as well.

Finally Julian has this advice for first timers:

Get a few long rides in (equivalent to a day of the main event) to see how comfortable you are; not so much in terms of fitness, but rather back aches and just getting used to being in the saddle. Then adjust the saddle as required to get the right riding position that suits you over long distances. Apart from the obvious height adjustment to avoid knee problems, small backward/forward adjustments in the saddle position can make a big difference in avoiding back ache.

Whether its for the French food, French women/men or just to prove to your road bike mates that folding bikes are just as capable – the website to look at is Folding Bike Challenge.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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7 Responses to Folding bike ride from London to Paris

  1. David H. Jones 21/04/2009 at 5:50 pm #

    I have booked for this ride and started a Facebook group for it.
    http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=75179230840&ref=ts

  2. Fabian 17/06/2010 at 12:20 pm #

    I almost cycled to Paris on my Brompton at the beginning of the month! However I was just £200 shy of my target to make me pedal all that way on a Brompton…instead I ended up in the category of the 3 speed Pashley…

    Just one tip for those hills when with minimal gears – slalom your way up. It makes a huge difference!

    • Andreas 17/06/2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Sounds like a fun experience Fabian! I like the different takes on the “London to Paris” theme – hoping to do it myself this summer.

      • Fabian 17/06/2010 at 3:25 pm #

        It was great and the people I did it with were legendary. Admittedly a bike with more gears could have made it more pleasant (particularly on the way to Dover), but once I found the knack of tacking my way up hills on day 2, I found I barely needed more than two gears…all of which reminds me I still need to send you a copy of the route…

  3. Hp Test Equipment 24/06/2010 at 6:40 am #

    shares utilize a good site decent Gives with thanks for the efforts to help myself New from Danny | Thermal Scope

  4. Basia 03/08/2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Anything planned for 2011? That a beginner like me would be able to participate in??

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 9:14 am #

      I’m sure these guys will run the event again. Check their webpage! :)

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