Challenge yourself with this demanding but enjoyable four-day ride through the beautiful rolling countryside of southern England, Normandy and Champagne. Starting from St Alban’s Cathedral, where England’s first saint was martyred, we visit the historic cities of Caen, Rouen and Compiegne, finishing in Epernay, the ‘Capitale du Champagne’, where we will celebrate our achievement!
France, with its wide well-maintained roads and open countryside is renowned as the World’s best country for cycling. The ride will be fully supported by Sport Ecosse, who provide regular breaks, snacks and meals, offer running repairs to bikes and carry your bags. All you need to do is get on your bike and enjoy the ride.
Day 1 St Albans - Portsmouth
The full four day ride begins outside the Norman Abbey in St Albans, and follows a route of approximately 100 miles through English towns and countryside to the historic naval city of Portsmout.
There is an option to join the ride at Portsmouth which may suit people who live in London or the Southern counties, or those can only take two full days away from work.
Sailing on an overnight ferry to Caen, we are lulled to sleep in our cabins by the gentle roll of the English Channel.
Day 2 Caen – Rouen
We arrive in the historic town of Caen, seat of William the Conqueror and site of furious battles in the Hundred Years and Second World Wars. After a hearty “petit-dejeuner” we’re off through the rolling green Normandy countryside which produces Camembert and Pont-l’Evéque cheeses.
In the afternoon, we arrive in the great mediaeval city of Rouen on the river Seine, once home to kings of France and England, and where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
Day 3 Rouen – Compiegne
Day three sees us crossing the Oise region, countryside loved by Parisiens seeking to escape the city. It is a landscape of open fields, big skies, forests and historic buildings. Our ride ends in Compiègne, where the Armistice was signed to end WW1.
Day 4 Clermont – Epernay
Day four sees the final push across the battle-fields of the Marne, where in 1914 the French and British routed the Germans to save Paris. We cross into Champagne and approach our final destination riding through the world-famous vineyards to Epernay, the seat of many of the most famous Champagne Houses.
Our ride ends in style with a bubbly celebration meal in the cellars of a champagne vineyard.
Day 5 – Drive to the Gare du Nord, Paris to travel back to London by Eurostar
Place reservation: £75
Minimum target fundraising: £1250
Date: 10 – 14 May 2017 Wednesday - Sunday