Where: Paris France
Distance: 320 Km
The night before I headed off from Trafalgar square was hard to sleep. Last minute things racing around in my head kept me up until after 2am. A group of seven of us would meet at Trafalgar square and begin the cycle to Paris. (Ndaba, Phil, Chris, Naomi, Trent, Renea & myself) The rest of the group would meet in the suburbs of London.
Pedaling down the hill from Trafalgar square towards Big Ben I was full of excitement and dread. For more than two months I would be cycling with Athens as my aim. Over 4,000 kilometers separated me. The hard work of raising money for kids and organizing London to Paris had been done. Now the fun of an adventure and life long memories had begun.
London to Paris
The next 4 days would prove exhausting but wonderful. Getting 18 cyclists to Paris at times felt like herding cats up a hill. There were moments of sadness, fear, awe and ecstasy. A huge thanks to Vid, Kobi and Kyle for your help and all the cyclists for your fundraising and making the trip unforgettable.
Day 2 Newhaven to Rouen
For most of us day 2 would prove to be one of our best days. After the four hour rest on the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe most of us where ready to hit the road. What struck me as soon as we got off the ferry was just how nice the French drivers are to cyclists.
Dieppe is a lovely seaside town well worth spending a day or few hours exploring the sites. Sadly we had eight hours before night fall and we would need every one of them to make it to Rouen. After less than an hour the 18 cyclists were spread out over several kilometers. Most of us were enjoying the stunning French countryside. Some were already in a world of pain cursing me that there were a lot of hills. It wasnt until night fall that most of us made it into Rouen. Rouen is a stunning rural French village. I think I can safely say Jen and I were the most excited to see the twinkling lights of Rouen. That is another positive Jen. 🙂
Day 3 Rouen to Vernon
For most people day 3 would prove to be the hardest. With hills and rain we were all very happy to call it a night.
Day 4 was perfect.
From the rolling hills to the small country lanes to the proud trees lining the Seine. With about 20 kilometers to go we crested a hill and saw the Eiffel Tower. If anyone in the group had doubted we would make it that moment silenced the doubts. Everyone felt a new surge of energy.
The ride into Paris was just magical. We all slowed to 15 kilometers an hour and just enjoyed the moments. Winding our way into Paris tracing the Seine River was the best possible end to an unforgettable four days. As we turned onto the final stretch up to the Arch de Triumph shouts of excitement went up. We had done it. I must say my heart was in my mouth as a dream was realized. From a dreary London office to the reality of riding down the champs elysee.
Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true. Leon Joseph