In 2018, with a group of 12 ‘Diabetes Dads’, we did a four day trip via Newhaven, Gisors and Chambourcy.
The good bits:
With a group of 12 it was great that a lot of us knew each other well and the others joined our team page on Facebook and later WhatsApp to become friends before the ride.
Day 1 started really well, leaving with a great send off from the JDRF London HQ team, including all the directors and CEO. Once we’d got to Greenwich the route was lovely. The stop at Oxted was great and the hills seemed shallower than the 2015 route via Turner’s Hill.
Day 2 saw us leave Dieppe and get to Neufchatel for 8:30am, which was a good choice, meaning we had lunch near St Germer de Fly at a decent time. The route was again lovely, especially the new bit to Gisors.
Night 2 saw us cram into a great pizzeria close to the hotel, the hotel was good as was the breakfast the next day.
Day 3, the countryside was lovely, the rolling hills route with its pretty villages was great.
Night 3, the budget hotel had a hypermarket next door which had bars, restaurants and fast food places. So we bought stuff and then watched the football in the hotel’s common room.
Day 4, leaving early at 7:30 was a great idea, meaning we had a leisurely ride and arrived early at the Trocadero at 11:30am.
The not-so-good bits:
Day 1, leaving London from further north meant a lot more time even getting to the river. It rained for the last 65km and we were all soaked tired and hungry upon reaching Newhaven. Learned lesson to take proper wet weather gear next time.
Day 2, some people had mechanical issues which they weren’t prepared for. Lessons learned: make sure everyone has basic stuff for their own bike, such as emergency chain links, and tools. Will also suggest anyone with old tyres changes them before such a big ride.
Day 3’s route at the end was rubbish, we should have gone via Triel-sur-Seine.
Day 3, personally for me, it was awful, felt so sick but I still managed to ride the distance and felt better the next day.