Taking on the London to Paris Bike Ride

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Fri, 28/7/2017

Earlier this July, Lesley Coombs set herself the incredible challenge of completing the London to Paris Bike Ride, and we're honoured that she chose to do it in support of Nordoff Robbins. Here Lesley tells us about her journey, in her own words.

Thank you Lesley!  

Lesley's story

Four years ago, I took up road cycling and joined Rock Choir because I needed a new purpose in my life. I decided I would love to undertake this iconic bike ride from London to Paris, so planned to do it the year I turned 60! I decided to fundraise for Nordoff Robbins because Rock Choir are supporting them at the moment, and the stories of the people receiving the therapy really moved me.

Day one: So at 7am on Wednesday 19 July, myself and 206 other cyclists left Croydon to cycle 300 miles to Paris. As we cycled along the flat busy roads, I felt a great excitement that I was now on my way after all the training I had done. After a few miles we were soon onto the quiet country lanes of beautiful countryside, but that was the end of flat... the hills had begun!! This was to be the toughest day. However, we all arrived in Dover in time for the ferry.

Arriving in Calais was quite a memorable moment, being amongst 450 cyclists disembarking from the ferry! Another seven miles then saw us to our hotel for the night.

Day two: Once we left Calais we turned on to sweeping roads. If we thought that would be the character of the day, we were sadly mistaken... hills appeared again... and some rain. Fortunately that didn't last too long and after lunch the sun came out but, we found ourselves into a very strong headwind. Another tough day on the legs, but arriving in Arras certainly made up for that, such a pretty town.

Day three: Certainly the day that many of us had been looking forward to. We were to cycle through the area of the Somme. It was the best day weather-wise, lovely sunny intervals, but still a fairly strong headwind. We passed by both Allied and German war cemeteries, the contrast between them was profound. After lunch came a beautiful, twisting climb through some forests, followed by an equally lovely twisting decent. There's always a reward for an 'up'!! That afternoon we arrived in Compeigne.

All too quickly day four arrived. This included a lovely ride through forest lanes. The afternoon brought us to the outskirts of Paris where we needed our wits about us for the  bustling traffic. We regrouped at a designated meeting place, and 192 of us made the final part of our ride into Paris past some famous landmarks to finish at the Eiffel Tower.