London to Paris on two wheels

We are really pleased to report that our MD, Nigel Gittins has triumphantly completed his four day London to Paris cycle ride and raised a massive £1,760 for the JDR charity. “I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who sponsored me; it means such a lot that everyone has been so generous.” Said Nigel.

Day 1 – Bexley to Calais

The event, which was organised by Global Challenge, started in Bexley Hill in Kent. “There was a really great atmosphere at the start, everyone was feeling energetic and excited.” Nigel commented. The group of 35 cyclists stayed together for the first few miles before everyone took up their own comfortable pace. A small group got lost not long after starting, but Nigel quickly managed to get them back on track. Nigel said “there were yellow arrows on lamp posts which told us where to go, after not seeing any for a few miles we realised we had got lost already!”

The 70 odd miles took them through Rochester and Canterbury before making a speedy decent into Dover where the whole group cycled onto the ferry.

The short crossing gave them a quick breather before the group cycled off the ferry and to a hotel in Calais. “The first night was not great, I shared a room with someone who can’t sleep unless the TV is on, so I ended up getting up in the middle of the night to turn the TV off!” Explained Nigel.

Day 2 – Calais to Arras

Day two began with an early start; “we were on the road at 7.30am, but it was hard to get going after very little sleep!” commented Nigel. Each day the group had a water break after every 20 miles and a lunch break after the first 40 miles, splitting the day into 4 manageable chunks.

The group began the 75 mile ride to Arras in blazing 38 degree sunshine. This was possibly the hardest day for the group as they battled up a 4 mile steep hill on the way to Arras, where they stayed overnight.

Day 3 – Arras to Compiegne

After yet another sleepless night in a hot and noisy hotel, day three began with spirits and team morale being low. “People were tired at this point and needed some spurring on.”  Added Nigel. However as they set off spirits and team morale quickly grew again and so did the temperature, which  got up to 40 degrees as the team cycled to Compiegne. En route the they stopped off at a World War 1 cemetery for an eerie but well deserved break.

They arrived in Compiegne, but then got lost trying to find the hotel as the locals had taken the yellow arrows down! It was at this point when Nigel had his first fall – stationery (yes, he fell over whilst standing still!) the group had stopped at some traffic lights and Nigel unclipped his left foot from the pedal, but then went to put his right foot down! (Too much sun, we think!)

Day 4 – Compiegne to Paris

Day four began with torrential rain and thunderstorms. The group cycled through thick forest which made for hard work and dangerous cycling. Everyone was covered in mud, and there were a lot of falls and skids. Nigel had fortunately brought a waterproof jacket, much to the envy of his team members who were drenched!

On the other side of the forest they cycled for 10 miles through beautiful towns and countryside until hitting the North of Paris. Once in Paris they followed the River Seine into the centre of the city.

Nigel and a few of his team members arrived at the Musée du Louvree where they waited for the rest of the group. Then all 35 cyclists cycled around the Arc de Triomph and on to the finish line at the Eifel Tower. “It was an amazing feeling to have finished and there was such a great atmosphere when we arrived. The Germany vs Argentina football match was being shown on a giant screen, so there was a lot of locals and tourists in the area, which added to the atmosphere.”

After a well deserved glass of champagne, the group headed to a Parisian hotel where they had a final meal before heading back to London on the Eurostar the following day.