Following last week's interview with Andy Cook, we now have more details about the route from Paris to Swindon!
Note the above map is for illustration purposes only. Andy has also emailed a more detailed itinerary, which we'll be using to provide a closer view for each day of the bike ride. Sadly, there are too many details to squeeze onto today's Google Map!
Pre bike ride - getting to Paris:
Everyone heads for Paris on Friday from various locations, with the final leg of the journey being made via Eurostar. All the cyclists will rendezvous later in the day and on French soil! And then on Saturday 21st September, the bike ride itself starts...
...Andy has added the following enticing pre-ride snippets to whet your appetites:
"Mark [Charlton - Ed] suggested that we might consider building the bikes on the Friday afternoon/evening and ride the short distance from the hotel towards the Arc de Triumph or maybe the Trocedero where we can look out over the Eiffel Tower for an iconic photo. This will very much depend on the timing of group's arrival into Paris and onto the hotel.
It is anticipated that the roads on the Saturday morning will be significantly quieter (although Monday evening in the rush hour was absolutely no problem driving around the Arc de Triumph and along the Champs Elysees)."
And now onto the bike ride itself...
Here's Andy's description of the route after his recent recce [cyclists please note, Andy is also providing the detailed GPX files for anyone needing these for their route planners - Ed]:
Day 1: Paris to Louviers
"The first day's ride comes in at around 77 miles of predominantly flat roads with a few gentle undulations as we deviate from the River Seine before following the river L'Eure into Louviers.
I am delighted to say that the route from Paris out into the countryside is as straightforward and attractive as a city route can be by following the banks of the River Seine for some time towards Versailles prior to taking a North Westerly direction into open countryside and quintessentially sleepy French villages (with possibly a stop at Beynes for coffee/lunch?) on the way to Louviers."
Day 2: Louviers to Le Havre
"Day 2 is around 73 miles as we start with crossing the Seine and pass through the slightly industrial Rouen alongside the River Seine before a climb up to Canteleu prior to a great descent back down to the River Seine once more at St-Martin-de-Boscherville. We continue alongside the river to Duclair, an attractive coffee stop on the quayside watching the boats.
Remaining alongside the river we pass through Le Trait on our way to the picturesque town of Caudebec-en-Caux. Then we remain on the flatter flood plain through Villequier & Norville on our way to the outskirts of Lillebonne - passing the oil refinery...!! We then get great views of the famous Tancarville bridge where we stop for our second stop of the day prior to an Alpine like climb through the woods away from the river. We then pass through La Cerlangue and St-Vigor-d'Ymonville ready for the run in to Le Havre via Harfleur and the impressive blue sports stadium in Le Havre."
Day 3: Portsmouth to Swindon
Andy had still to recce this part of the route when I saw him, though he thinks it'll be similar to last year's Southampton to Swindon route of From S to N, going via Andover and up over the Wiltshire Downs (see Ian Tallamy's bike ride diary from last year - Day 1: Southampton to Marlborough and then part of Day 2 to Swindon). He's also anticipating the final run into Rowan House will be the trickiest part of the ride traffic-wise...
I hope to bring you further details of this latter part of the route as and when they arrive, plus lots more news to come! Stay tuned for further posts in our build up to our first continental bike ride!