Last year, my friend Raffa donate his Dahon Vitesse to me. He had it because it was given to him by a lovely Spanish girl moving back to Madrid. Obviously he does not like riding through the roads of London.
Afterwards, I started riding this bike on a daily basis as part of my routine. One night at home during dinner with a glass of wine, I came out with this brilliant idea to ride with it to Paris.
I know, initially it sound like a crazy idea but slowly with focused training in performing high cadence intervals and spending hours on a spinning bike it became more feasible.
Then, one day I spoke with my friend, Stuart Carpenter, if he fancied to join me, with a beautiful straight answer which was "YES". It did look like a yes of man getting married to his wife!. So he was on board, then I needed somebody else. Someone with great cycling skills, with speed, great mechanical knowledge of bikes, a strong mind and especially thousands of miles on his legs. There is only one person to fulfill this, Nonno Pippo. When I asked him, I received a nodding like Geppetto from Pinocchio. There it is, the team, the 3 Amigos was formed.
Next step, it was to map out a route, book a hotel in Paris, book the ferry for the crossing and try to find sponsors willing to support us in our adventure. My attempt was to travel the furthest on a fold-able bike and to get to Paris within 24hours.
WTB & Freedom Bicycle provided us with great Thickslick tyres and Volt Saddles. Biotex provided some clothing like yellow fluo socks and wind resistant vest. Upgrade Bikes, UK distributor for Lezyne provided us with powerful strong lights and various accessories. A more detailed review of the products will be done in a different blog.
We decided to start our journey at 5pm on Friday 12th of September 2014 from Big Ben but for a safety point we moved the starting point at the Westminster Abbey Square by the main entrance.
At the sound of the Big Ben at 5pm we departed, after having a goodbye party from friends and supporters with photos taken and decided to hit hard on the road to get out of London as fast as possible. There was plenty of traffic, in fact the first 23km was a continuous slalom within cars and buses.
We whisked away like bullets through the roads of London, and making a fast approach to our destination in comparison to our preset time schedule. The speed was also rising thanks to our powerful Lezyne SuperDrive XL Lights beaming out throughout the country lanes.
We arrived at Newhaven port for our ferry 6 minutes to 9pm, which included a collective P... stop and refill water bottles stop. We rode 95km in 3hours and 24minutes giving us an average speed of 26.7km/h, not really bad for a Dahon 20 inches wheel bike.
You can check the Strava file here.
The first stage was complete, but the hardest part was having to wait for the ferry in cold and windy conditions for more than 4 hours in sweaty & smelly bodies.
We finally landed in Normandy, Dieppe. It was an early, cold, windy, dark, foggy September morning. After passport control we just start riveting hard, we wanted to keep warm and get to the first stop 55km away from the port, therefore, we adventured out at full throttle through the Avenue Verte. We did meet other cyclists along the route but without knowing we reached our stop quicker then expected.
The temperature was rising but for me I still needed to ask the " garçon " for some hot water to stick in my water bottle. The scenery was spectacular from open fields, various animals crossing our path, the smell of bread from the boulangeries, we were just speechless. Chateaux and Farms were along the route. We were getting closer to Paris quicker than expected, therefore, after consulting my team mate to stop ahead for a nice lunch. Obviously they agreed.
The concentration on my behalf dropped down due to the proximity of Paris and without noticing it I was on the deck, cuddling the concrete of the road. No injuries sustained, just few bruises.
In the approach of Paris, in the Peripherique Areas various cultures could be spotted, we decided to stop at a Portuguese bar.
We were early in our schedule therefore the lunch was tasty for various reasons. Healthy, lengthy, juicy and friendly. The sun was shining in our sweaty bodies. The camaraderie was there, it did run smoothly all the way.
The last 15 miles there were the most interesting part because we got lost, the map was throwing us onto a motorway, so we had to act like a lookout man in a ship. Trying to look for the Eiffel Tower.
Luckily, Paris sits below compared to the outskirts, therefore, the Tower could be spotted. It was a great help for us to follow.
We finally arrived at the tower just after 3pm local time (2pm British Time) making our total trip of 21 hours. Rode 270km in 10 hours and 54 minutes. Great pace, total ascent short of 2000 metres.
There was the entire entourage of people waiting for us the predetermined location, it was beautiful to see familiar faces. We then took a copious number of photos then headed to the hotel, where Stewart Ramsay from W5 Physio gave us a flabbergasting massage to recovery from the various pains.
The SaddleDrunk Team wish to say thanks to all supporters, sponsors, friends and family for helping us in achieving this epic ride.
The Dieppe to Paris file can be found in here.
A detailed review of products and a gallery of the photos will follow shortly.
Remember to get SaddleDrunk, everything is possible. Make sure you to bring cycling into your culture. Do Stop at red lights, share the road with others users. Do not feel under pressure if you don't wear Lycra or have the most expensive bike in the peloton.
Just enjoy cycling and Intoxicate yourself with the freedom of Cycling.