3 weekends, 3 Point 2 Point Challenges, 3 different routes, 3 fabulous groups.
In this blog post we reflect on the last 3 weekends trips - the challenges, the high's and what next?
After a busy April and May in the Spanish sun, our attention turned to a different type of adventure in late May.
Ardingly to Paris
First up was our first ever school trip. We had the great privilege of guiding a group of 14 students and 2 staff to Paris from Ardingly School. The route largely followed the Avenue Verte when in France aside for some deviations based upon appropriate accommodation and finding the 'safest' way into the city.
We had ridden with the students a couple of times prior to the event and had been exceptionally impressed by the students both on and off the bike - this was no different when in France where every boy should be very proud of what they achieved and how they conducted themselves.
The Avenue Verte is a lovely and very well signposted route when on French soil, we also took a 'gravel option' on road bikes through the forest of St Germain. We were then in Paris in plenty of time to enable the students to have an explore of Paris and catch the climax of the Premier League season on French TV. For our first school trip and first point to point of the year we could not ask for much more!!
Balham 2 Balham
Next up was a different kid of trip supporting Balham Cycling Club on their Balham 2 Balham epic. For this trip we were very much a supporting cast with vehicles on the road following the 48 hour and 24 hour groups. This was a very long day out for the riders with approximately 330km cycling and only a few hours sleep on the ferry for the 24 hour group.
The riders faced freezing cold temps waiting for the ferry, then very warm temperatures and a steady headwind for the last 50km. Epic is an over used word, but this ride ticks all the 'epic' boxes. We went away feeling very fortunate to have been a part of the adventure and happy not to be driving the vans for too much longer!!
Phoenix Peloton - London to Paris - 4 day
And to round out the P2P hat trick we had the great pleasure of working with the newly formed Phoenix Peloton on their inaugural adventure - a 4 day London to Paris cycle. This is a route we love - starting in Greenwich Park and ending at the Eiffel Tower - via Calais, Lens and Compiegne.
This 4 day route is one of our absolute favourites. The ride to Dover is rolling with the odd 'spicy climb', however from day 2 onwards it reveals the very best of Northern France. The hilltop town of Cassel hosts the French National Championships this June and and is great for a taste of cobbles as the route heads south to the Vimy Ridge. WW1 sites are a feature of the days 2 and 3, which skirt the front line from 1916 to 1917 including crossing the Somme river half way through day 3.
The town of Compiegne is best known in the cycling world as the start line of Paris Roubaix, and the neighbouring forest was also the site where the 1918 Armistice was signed and Hitler's retribution armistice in 1941. However, back to the cycling...........from Compiegne the next 50km continue the theme of the previous two days. The final 30km into Paris is somewhat more stressful and less picturesque, but this is quickly forgotten as the final loop around Paris including a lap of the Champs Elysee are a real thrill.
What next for Point 2 Point adventures and Bike+?
Well....in short...... these trips are a real logistical challenge and definitely more stressful to organise and deliver than single destination holidays and training camps. However, they are incredibly rewarding - particularly witnessing the tired euphoria of cyclists as they complete their challenge.
London to Paris is a very enjoyable trip - whether it is a 3 day or 4 - We love Paris and hope to continue being able to visit.
However, we are also keen to try other route combinations - next year we have a London to Brussels ride planned via the climbs of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. We are also investigating other combinations of major cities/transport hubs. The key factor for us is maximising the adventure whilst trying to the costs manageable.....Watch this space for more cool adventures and get in touch if you and your ride buddies fancy one of their own.