So its been a week since we adventured en masse to Paris. It was an epic trip the miles and days seemed to merge into one another, but there were several notable moments!
Day 1 saw us fuel up at the Regency Cafe, we left with a true taste of London fresh in minds and mouth. Here we were introduced to Alex and Wilson who had signed up to ride through the facebook event, Alex had traveled from Lille that morning, exclaiming that with the time difference it had only taken him 20 mins to reach us; he was then to ride back to Paris with us. We were chaperoned by ALF and Flavio who were to accompany us to Newhaven, we were also followed the support van which allowed us to carry a full spread of spares such as the tyres from Halo and the Masterpiece toolkit from Pedros meaning any early mechanicals could be easily resolved. The only thing the Masterpiece couldn’t repair was Fitz’s broken crown after he rolled down a significant descent out of the London Basin. Johnny experienced a double blow out, strap failure and car contact. Incidentally this same hill saw us reach the top speed of the trip. With ambulances dispatched and support vans following we were confident Johnny could rejoin us; which he did, looking significantly like a certain Mr men character.
Day 2 began at sun up for those who had decided to rough it after maximising the luxuries of the overnight ferry to Dieppe. From the moment we touched down on foreign soil we never met by anything but warm and helpful welcomes, from the refilling of bottles from kitchen windows in rural France, to the cooking of 12 steaks when kitchens were closed. The first half of the day was tucked away swiftly with 30 miles of the Avenue Vert as we made our way towards Beauvais. Paradoxically the true nature of the trip was felt on the second half of the day where terrain undulated but temperatures soared to 40 degrees C. We quickly refreshed on arrival in Beauvais; not through the amenities of our F1 Motel but by sneaking into the outdoor pool of the adjoining hotel.
Day 3 commenced with the departure of the Van driven by Toria’s dad that had became not only the support vehicle for riders and their bikes but also pace maker and motivator. This also meant that we were now self sufficient, fortunately we were in the best possible shape with a full bevy of bags provided primarily by VAG – X but also Burro and Lars. There bags were put through their rigors especially in the forests on the outskirts of Paris where we were subjected to a soaking. This bleak moment was quickly overshadowed by the pinnacle that is the Eiffel tower. Making our way towards it was an unforgettable moment, not just because of the cobbles but also the surreal realisation that we were so obviously in another country, underneath an icon but brought there by and now sitting upon our now very familiar bikes. When we hugged it out with John from Landscape Magazine who had come to welcome us, it wasn’t so much a feeling as the trip had finished but that the party had begun…
Not deterred by saddle soreness we explored the streets of Paris pretty aimlessly until the shouts of ‘Yo Fixie’ from myself summoned 2 curious riders, Jean-Phillipe from Pignon Chic and Pignon Fixe and Bakatono Sama. These guys really took us under their wing taking us the scenic route through the city to an awesome bar. On the way home through the Embassy and Government district i managed to shred all 5 chain-ring bolts, this was an impossible fix at 2am on a Sunday morning with the Police Nationale glaring on. With camaraderie levels at an all time high after bonding on the trip the guys truly carried me home, check out the clip!
Luke, Matt, Mark and Wilson had been accommodated generously by The Mittens and were able to take part in ‘Oakley Rollin’ here riders could attach a camera to their bike and have their clips displayed in the gallery, the guys also truly cleaned up at the raffle too. The rest of us made our way to the one of the most impressive inner city skate spots ive seen, the Palais de Tokyo. From here we settled down for the world cup final, with everyone somehow inspired by a pretty lame game we set out to make our own footballing excitement, which we found in the gardens surrounding the Eiffel tower, a game of 7 a-side against an all Algerian tea ensued lit by the lights from the tower. We weren’t able to right the wrongs of the National team and while the other guys took the grief ive never been happier to exclaim ‘Je suis ecossais!’. The following morning we departed on the Eurostar, putting into good use the pound shop XL laundry bags from the Walworth Road to house the bikes. Less than a mile from his house Matt managed to pick up a ticket for running a red his diva exclamations of, ‘ do you know where I’ve just ridden to?’ fell on deaf ears.