London to Paris for BuildAfrica Day 4: Beauvais To Paris

Earlier start – promised to be a hot day, so travelled light – just small rucksack, and water bottle. A very long hill – 2 miles – quite shortly into the ride, so not warmed up by any means. I got to the top past a few people pushing their bikes – by focusing on the next tree or bush, pacing myself slowly, I got to the top. First waterstop came sooner than anticipated, and now the fun country side bit all but finished.

Coming into the extended urban sprawl of Paris, with small towns, melting from one to the next – roads getting narrower, and lots more local traffic as well as appalling road surfaces, full of potholes, and the cars left no room for manoeuvre – some getting quite cross with the bikes. In spite of our numbers, they made no concessions! Mostly the French have been really courteous, but not so much in the suburbs. Our route took us through Meru, Epinay, and Obvert the Seine to our lunch spot on the riverside at Villeneuve.

Well fed and watered we left for our final rendez vous at the holding area in the Bois de Bologne – we continued along the Seine, crossing back and enjoying better roads, wider and largely traffic free entry to the city. Some signs of business as usual at the Bois, famous for its prostitutes!

Welcomed in by James – hi fiving each bike as it drove through the posts, we gathered by the boating lake, filled our water bottles, collected the t shirts and got ready for the final push to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Followinng our lead vehicle, 120 of us fomed a phalanx the processed slowly over the cobbles – much ringing of bells and air horns – mexican waves at the lights and generel merriment and noise – cheered on by the on lookers and motorists. Paris almost traffic free in the center – must all be on holiday.

Half an our brought us past the Eiffel tower. We did three circuits of the roundabout and were sprayed with bubbly as we rode past – a huge feeling of elation as family members and friends cheered our arrival. Drinks, photos, introductions to babies, parents, siblings, and then onto the hotel, the last 2 miles up the hill to Montparnnasse.

After a shower, the serious drinking commenced…

London to Paris cycle ride on 27th July. I would really appreciate it if you sponsored me – a fiver would be brilliant, I know that there are lots of demands all the time. My page is http://www.justgiving.com/chantal-coady

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