Essential Tips For Cycling From London To Paris
As well as cycling Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG), another particularly popular cycling activity for long distance cyclists is cycling from London, all the way to Paris. Now this appears to be a very daunting challenge, however, proper preparation and a reasonable amount of fitness will help you to accomplish this challenge with the least amount of problems. We also highly recommend that you ride with a companion for both safety and company.
1. Pack the Proper Equipment
Packing the proper equipment means including only what is necessary and leaving out items which have no particularly important use. Remember, you are on a bike and how comfortably you can pedal will be affected by the total weight of your bike. Here is a good list of important items that you can start with:
- Phone charger
- Adequate clothing for the number of days you will be traveling (clothing should also be appropriate to the prevailing weather conditions)
- Money, along with spare change in both Euros and GBP
- French ER number
- EU health card
Essential Bike Equipment
- 2 spare inner tubes
- 3 spare tyres
- Puncture repair kit
- Tyre levers
- Extra bike chain
- Compass or GPS
- Route Map
- High visibility front and rear bike lights
First Aid Equipment
- Sterile bandages and dressings
- Cold compress
- Heat packs
- Rehydration formula
- Pain killers and antipyretics
- Eye drops
2. Proper Route Planning
Obviously this is an essential part of your journey as you have to know your way from London to Paris. Pick out the best routes for your own purposes. A GPS and/or a compass are also an indispensable tool if this is your first time and you are not familiar with the route.
3. Stay Dry as Much as Possible
Comfort is a big factor in making your trip a pleasant experience, and staying dry is one aspect of comfort. We all know how fickle English weather can be so make sure to bring cycling rain wear, no matter what the weather forecasts say. It would also be a good idea to attach mudguards to the front and rear of your bike to keep you and your bike clean.
4. Take Adequate Breaks and Stops
A trip from London to Paris is not a race so it is appropriate to take adequate breaks and stops. This allows you to check your map, inspect your bike, take on water and food, as well as enjoy the sights. It also helps to ensure that you do not tire yourself out too much during the trip.
5. Bring Adequate Amounts of Food of Water
Avoid thinking that food is readily available on the road. You don’t know when your hunger pangs or thirst will strike while pedaling, so it is best if you take your own food and water with you. Remember, food and water are the fuel the will help you to accomplish your journey.
6. Practice Regular Bike Maintenance before the Trip
Have your bike properly inspected by a qualified bike mechanic before a trip to ensure that it is in condition for a very long ride. In addition, learn some of the more important basics yourself such as changing a tyre, repairing an inner tube puncture, and repairing a bicycle chain, as there is a big risk of these happening during your journey. It would also be helpful to have an English – French dictionary should you be caught with mechanical problems on the French side of your trip.
7. Always Ride in a Group
There is a margin of safety in numbers and it is a wise idea to travel in a group. It also breaks the monotony of cycling on your own.
8. Remember to Pack Properly
Invest in some light weight panniers for your bike. This helps to relieve your shoulders of weight from the backpack, and allows you to carry more and heavier items with you comfortably.
9. Bring Chamois Cream for that Sore Bum
Apply chamois cream on your cycling pads before a trip, and apply again as needed. This helps to prevent or relieve sore bums, which is pretty much inevitable on very long rides such as this.
10. Practice Proper Group Communication
Always practice proper group communication to relay important information quickly and accurately. Pass messages forwards and back to make sure the group knows what is happening during the ride. Also, make sure that the person you are relaying a message to can hear and understand you. In addition, provide clear signals when approaching junctions, and always remember to point or call out debris and road obstructions to the cyclist behind you.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my LEJOG Blog. I hope you’ve found it interesting and feel free to post your thoughts and comments. Once again, thank you for visiting Simon’s LEJOG blog
Hans Navarra is a licensed physician and avid sport writer. He is a mountain bike enthusiast and regularly writes for the Land Rover Mountain Bikes blog, among many other cycling-related websites.