Between London to Paris in 24 hours

You’ve probably already heard about Scope’s cycle event, London to Paris 24, which challenges you to cycle the 280 miles from London to Paris in just 24 hours. Unable to take part in the event because of an injury, Lucy Alliot was determined to cycle part of the 280 mile distance and created her own event – Lucy cycles between London to Paris in 24 hours. Here’s her guest blog looking back at her very unique event.

I completed it. Not quite as expected, but nevertheless I got there in the end with a bit of an added adventure! I departed from London at 11am on Saturday. Despite the rain I had a very smooth run down to Newhaven (including an accidental diversion to Croydon). I took the ferry over to Dieppe and set up my lights on the bike to head out along the dark French roads in the direction of Paris.

Unfortunately at 2.27am (French time), my bike derailleur completely snapped off. Even with an extensive tool kit there was nothing that could be done without a new part. Determined not to give up I assessed the options:

  1.  Borrow the velo I’d seen propped up by La Poste in the previous village, and commit to getting it back at a reasonable time the next day before anyone realised.
  2.  Walk to Paris.
  3. Try to find a bike shop open on a Sunday in France!

Since the French bike was built for a 7 foot man and walking would take 1.5 days, I decided to throw the bike in the car and try to find a repair shop. After a lot of searching we found what seemed to be the only bike shop open in France on a Sunday (Gepetto & Velos, Paris). At 5am we set-up camp outside to wait for it to open. Soon we realised sleep was near impossible so took the opportunity to take a whistle stop tour of the Parisian sites.

When the bike shop finally opened at 10 in the morning I attempted to negotiate with my limited French to have the bike fixed and sussed out the rusty second hand bikes to buy as a back-up. After a bit of a bodge job I was thrilled to be able to walk away with a bike whose wheels turned, despite not being able to cycle in the bottom cog – but it would get me going!

It was time to depart from La Tour Effiel and head back toward the scene of the crime, completing the route backwards, now greeted by a beautiful headwind. Nevertheless the weather was stunning and I could actually see what I was cycling past now. I finally arrived 22 hours later (excluding a few for fixing the bike in Paris!). Not quite the scenic end that I had anticipated, however I took a second attempt at the hill that had originally left my bike broken.

Lucy has received fantastic support from her friends and family, already raising over £1400 for Scope’s work. She wants to thank the very kind support car that stayed awake for 40 hours to help her finish what she had set out to do. Fancy taking part yourself in 2016? You can get your place today.

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