This event is for cyclists looking to take on a challenge. The event isn't a race although you will need to train for it. You can choose to ride with one of four speed groups depending on your ability. The slowest of these will be riding at an average speed of 20kmh but will receive the same support from our specialist crew as the fastest group who will be riding at 32kmh.
Is it really closed roads throughout France?
Yes! Once you hit Calais, our lovely French motorcycle outriders close the roads around you, which means no traffic, no traffic lights and no waiting at junctions or roundabouts. This includes Paris! In fact, we cause a huge traffic jam in the centre of Paris just so you get the best experience. And the French are so excited to see you all that they don’t even mind.
Where do we stay each night?
In Calais, Abbeville and Beauvais, we split up across several hotels because we’re too big a group for any one hotel to accommodate. We keep teams together though, and if you’re on your own, we try to place you where we think you’ll make the most friends! It’s a big job to work out who stays in which hotel, and it can change right up until the event, which is why we don’t tell you where you’re staying until August when you’ll find it in your starter pack.
In Paris, we’re all staying at the Pullman Montparnasse.
How fit do I need to be?
The challenge will require a good level of fitness, a commitment to train for the ride ahead and a sense of adventure to match. You must be able to comfortably ride over 100km within the minimum speed requirements (an average of 20kmh). If at any point during the ride we feel you're with the wrong speed group or failing to meet the minimum speed requirements, it's at our discretion to move riders within groups or to the sweeper van. If you have any worries about your health, please consult a doctor before signing up.
Are there really physios at every stop?
Yes! And they’re so popular that last year we actually saw people throw down their bikes and run to be first in the queue.
How much does the ride cost and when is the money due?
Each place on the ride costs £849, which includes all meals, energy drinks, accommodation, transfers, travel, bike transport, mechanical support, sports physios, your cycling kit and the celebratory gala dinner on the last night. Riders are also expected to raise at least £1,000 in sponsorship, as the entry fee only covers the cost of the ride.
We understand that £849 can feel like a lot of money, so it is possible to pay a £149 deposit to secure your place now, and then pay the remaining £700 by 31 July 2016. Please note this cannot be taken out of sponsorship money. After the payment deadline, the balance is non-refundable.
How much sponsorship money do I need to raise?
We ask all riders to commit to raising at least £1,000 and we have a fantastic team on hand to help you reach this target.
Once you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to create an online fundraising page on our website. We’ll also send you lots of fundraising advice from now until the event to help you raise as much as you can, and if you need any extra support or materials, we can provide them.
What happens if I get a mechanical?
We have an expert team of mechanics with us and they are super quick at fixing things. If you experience a puncture, you’ll pull over to the side, put your hand in the air, and before you know it, they’ve swapped out your wheel and towed you back into the peloton.
When will I get my pack with the kit and final info?
August. This ensures you don’t have much of a chance to ruin your kit ahead of the event, at means that the info we send you in your packs is unlikely to change much, if at all, before the event. If you are getting anxious at any point and just want some info, or there’s anything you need to know to help you plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message in the Facebook group.
What do I need to bring?
You will of course need to bring your own bike, cycle helmet, base layers and shoes. A month before the event, we will send you a pack containing your branded cycle kit and a kit list of everything else you will need to bring. In addition to a change of clothes for each evening, we would recommend bringing Euros with you, to spend at the bar!
Do I need to bring my own energy drinks?
Absolutely not! Our wonderful nutrition sponsor has given us endless amounts of TORQ powder in various flavours so you can fill up your bottles at every stop. And not only do we have the TORQ powder, we have TORQ founder Matt Hart cycling with us again! We’ve branded him up in his own special kit, so if you have any nutrition questions, you’ll know who to ask. He’s also a total expert at inventive mixing of the flavours, which are blackcurrant, orange, lemon, lime & lemon, pink grapefruit and vanilla. Please note that you’ll need to bring your own energy gels and bars if you want them.
What about luggage?
Your luggage will be transported between each stage by our support vehicles so you won’t need to carry it with you up those hills! Energy drinks, snacks and sunblock will be available at each stop, and anything else you need to carry can either go into your pockets or a small bag if you choose to carry one.
What happens when we get to Paris?
You’ll finish at the Stadium Emile Anthoine, right by the Eiffel Tower and get immediately presented with a medal and beer/wine. You’ll also give us your bikes to send back to London. Assuming the weather is good enough, we’ll stay for a bit to take photos and drink more beer and wine, before getting you on coaches to the hotel. Once at the hotel, you’ll check in with our team, pick up your luggage and have a chance to show and get ready for the champagne reception and gala dinner. We’ll spend the evening reliving the last four days and toasting your incredible efforts. The party goes well into the night…
Can my friends/family meet us in Paris?
Yes! Friends and family are very welcome to join us for the finish and gala dinner. You’ll receive an email soon containing an online form where you can book in additional guests for dinner and/or accommodation on Sunday evening. Please note we cannot book accommodation for guests on the Saturday night.
If all goes to schedule, riders should arrive in Paris around 15:30. We recommend the space between the south side of the Avenue de la Grande Armée and the Avenue Foch on the Étoile as the best place for spectators to gather to watch the peloton head up towards the Arc de Triomphe. The finish line is inside the Center Sportif Emile Anthoine near the Eiffel Tower.
What time is the Eurostar train and what time does it arrive back in London?
When you sign up you will have the choice of trains: 10:13 or 16:13. These are the times the Eurostar leaves the Gare du Nord on the morning of Monday 19 September 2016. The trains will arrive at King’s Cross St. Pancras in London at 11:39 and 17:39 respectively.
Can I stay in Paris for a few days after the event?
We need everyone to have collected their bikes from us by 18:15 on the day we return to London. If you can arrange for someone to collect your bike on your behalf, you are welcome to stay behind. However you will need to arrange and pay for this, and your return journey will be at your own cost.