Cycling to Paris within 24 hours: Preparation

Cycling to Paris within 24 hours: Preparation

A friend of mine (Daniel Speed) and I are planning a bike ride from London to Paris this coming weekend (8/9th June 2013). We are attempting to complete the ride in less than 24 hours. I have done the ride to Paris twice, but spent a really casual day down to the south coast of England both times.

Paris on my bike
Getting to Paris when I cycled to Barcelona

We are going to complete London to Newhaven on Saturday – leaving from Westminster Bridge at about 1400. Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe at 2230, getting in at about 0430 Sunday morning. It will be very cold there in the middle of northern France at that time, even in the summer, so we will be taking tracksuit bottoms and a hoody to keep warm. Fortunately the sun will be up before 0600 which makes for less dark riding with head torches.

There are about 45 miles of perfectly paved over railway line (called the Avenue Verte) from just a few miles after getting off the ferry. We will then stop at about 0700 for some breakfast once it is light enough, warm enough and cafe’s are open! Then onward for another 70 odd miles until we reach the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hopefully, since there are only two of us which shouldn’t slow us down too much and we can benefit from drafting each other, we will be there by about midday/1300 on Sunday for a nice lunch at a local cafe in Paris. We are then taking the Eurostar back that evening. All good fun to complete London to Paris within 24 hours!

All in all about 180 miles (65 miles for London to Newhaven, then 115 miles for Dieppe to Paris). Easily do-able!

Reaching Brighton with Dan Speed (middle) and Dan Sherry (left) a couple of years ago
Reaching Brighton with Dan Speed (middle) and Dan Sherry (left) a couple of years ago

Normally I load up Google maps on my iPhone whilst in wifi range (or within the UK on data) and look at the whole route at a sensible zoom level to be able to tell all the turnings I would need to do. They then get cached so you can still track your position (as GPS runs off a separate system) and look at the map without having to incur ridiculous costs of data roaming. Also it is a lot cheaper than a Garmin that a few friends have needlessly bought!

I used the Cycle Meter app on the South of France ride where you could pre-load a GPS map, but again you would have to load the maps over data to see the exact turnings. This app was very good if you pre-load your route on it – which I am going to attempt to do this trip…if I get time!

Below is a picture of some of the things we need to take:

  • Water bottle
  • Multi-tool
  • Spare inner tube(s)
  • Tyre levers
  • Gloves
  • Bandana (to keep you cool during the day and warm in the early hours of the morning)
  • Helmet
  • GoPro (attached to the helmet)
  • Phone charger
  • Converter to charge phone on ferry
  • Lights (front and back)
  • Speedometer
  • New batteries to put in my lights and speedometer
  • Deoderant, toothpaste and moisturiser
  • Phone case for handlebars
  • Passport


A few things to make sure I have


There are some obvious things like making sure you have enough tread on your tires, pumped up tires, a well lubricated chain, enough brake pads and general decent standard of your bike.

I will let you know how we get on – now to charge everything up!

Route we will take in detail:


London to Brighton along the normal route I take to Brighton, then an extra 10 miles on to Newhaven where we will take the ferry at 2230 and arrive at Dieppe at 0430.

Westminster bridge, Brixton, Purley, Turners Hill, Haywards Heath, Brighton, Newhaven. I hope to upload a GPS map too but here is a Google Maps version as I find that nice and easy to use.


Early start and head south from Dieppe, along the Avenue Verte for about 45 miles, Neufchatel-en-Bray, Forges-les-Eaux, Gournay-en-Bray, Gisors, Pontoise, Trocadero. Google Map


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