You’ve seen enough of the English countryside and fancy spreading your biking wings a little more; what better way to do this than with the well trodden London to Paris bike ride. Here is your guide in 5 simple steps!
Going as part of an organised tour can end up very expensive and I imagine everyone wants to go at their own pace so you end up spending a lot of time waiting around.
It’s surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding to organise this little cycle jaunt by yourself! However, I found it hard when researching to get everything I wanted to know in one place. That’s why I’ve written this handy little CycleFox guide to make the ride all the more smooth…
Step 1 – Deciding on your London to Paris Route
There are loads of different options to choose from as there are a variety of ferry routes operating from British soils to the French coast.
The most popular London to Paris bike ride route is by far the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry. Although the ferry only goes three times a day in high season the ride on the other side (mostly along an old railway track) is magnificent and a breezy 175km to Paris in comparison to the 279km slog from Calais.
The cycle route to Paris is well signed so you can make it the whole way just following the little bikes! We used GPS & although slightly longer this route proved to be excellent.
The ferry timetable is a bit annoying as there are only 3 crossings a day and it takes a vomit inducing 4 hours. Combined with the time difference you have to work out how many realistic cycling hours you will have when you get there. For more details on ferry times check out the DFDS website.
Step 2 – Deciding how long you want the ride to take
This is the next key point you need to consider – how much pain do you want from your London to Paris bike ride? 24 hours for the brave perhaps; more like 48 for those who want to have some sort of enjoyment along the ride! You are pretty much dependant on the ferry times but here are a the main options:
The Breeze (48hours)
Starting in London late afternoon ——> staying in Newhaven ——> first ferry —-> cycle half way in Normandy ——> stay over ——> last leg (well 85km) to Paris.
The Demanding (36 hours)
Starting mid morning in London ——> staying over in Dieppe ——> smashing the 175km to Paris.
The Herculean (24 hours)
Start late afternoon in London ——> take the overnight ferry —> do the full French ride & get to Paris before the day is out.
Step 3 – Deciding where to stay
Staying over somewhere is the best option if you want to genuinely enjoy the ride and there are plenty of bed and breakfasts along the well trodden route depending on how far you want to cycle on the first day.
We passed tons of beautiful villages with places to stay & I would even suggest not booking a place and just stopping & finding a place to stay when you feel tired/ are done for the day.
A highly recommended place if you are going to split the French part of the journey into 2 legs is Les Chambre du Confiturier.
An incredible meal awaited us on arrival and the breakfast (including homemade jam) was all a hungry cyclist needed to be set up for the day!
Step 4 – Deciding what to pack
The best advice here is take nothing!!
We stupidly took back packs and it was so unnecessary and severely slowed us down! So if you really do want to take some non sweaty clothes I would highly recommend panniers or just a small bag which clips onto your frame.
The essentials though are really only a toothbrush, clean t-shirt & underwear (depending on how long you plan to stay in Paris) and a phone charger.
Don’t take anything else! It will annoy you and just hinder the ride.
Step 5 – Deciding how to get back to London from your cycle ride to Paris
Unless you loved it so much that you want to turn round and do it all over again I imagine you will choose the Eurostar as the desired method of transport home…..
Don’t let them take your bike apart!!! Eurostar make the info on this very unclear. You would assume you would want your bike on the same train as you right. This is very rarely possible as there are only a maximum of 2 spaces on each train for fully assembled bikes. Chances are they will make you take it apart and put it in a box if you want it on your train. Who wants to rock up at St Pan and reassemble their bike after all that riding!
So when you arrive in Paris just drop your bike off as soon as you can and they will put it FULLY ASSEMBLED (woop!) on the next available train. Then when you stroll off in London you will be laughing at those people fiddling with the tool kit!
It’s also cheaper to just drop your bike off in Paris rather than pre booking it onto a specific train (around 25 Euros).
The luggage drop off isn’t the easiest to find at Gard du Nord; you have to walk down the first Eurostar platform (on far left nearest to Taxis) about half way and then you find a little office.
So there you have it. 5 simple steps to working out how to complete your own London to Paris bike ride. Once you’ve completed the ride, drop back here and leave your tips for future explorers!
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