How to train for cycling London to Paris in 24 hours

Fancy cycling London to Paris in 24 hours? Now's your chance!

cycling London to Paris in 24 hours
cycling London to Paris in 24 hours

We've just launched the inaugural, fully supported, London to Paris sportive.

Our dream and aim is to provide you with the opportunity and companionship to achieve the extraordinary.

It's been one of my favourite adventures for years, I've helped hundreds of people complete it by offering advice and answering questions through my blog, I've led individual tours and I led a ride of 75 Google entrepreneurs in September 2014. All of this has paved the way for me launching this sportive on Friday and opening up the opportunity for anyone to join in the adventure. The response has been fantastic with many people taking advantage of the early bird discount of £295.

1. What it is?

The London to Paris sportive offers you the chance to complete one of the world's most iconic challenges between these two incredible cities. It involves cycling 199 miles / 320 kms over a 24 hour period. Departing from Greenwich, London at 4pm on Saturday 2nd May, and finishing under the Eiffel Tower within 24 hours on Sunday 3rd of May.

This cycling event is fully supported offering you the chance to take on this epic challenge without having to focus on the stress of the logistics, organisation and navigation. The price includes overnight accommodation in Paris and bike transfer to London. Taking advantage of the May Bank Holiday on Monday 4th May, you can travel back at your own leisure and return to work on Tuesday with a huge smile and sense of pride in tow.

Priced at £295, we wanted to make it affordable and accessible whilst also providing you with the companionship of like-minded people to complete this challenge with you.

Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours
Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours

2. How to train for it?

I've had a lot of questions from people about whether they are fit enough. I'm not a cycling coach, but having completed this challenge six times with cyclists of different levels of experience, I can certainly share with you what I've learnt and what worked for me.

The first time I cycled London to Paris in 24 hours, I had been cycling for 6 months, had completed an olympic distance triathlon and cycled 60 miles, once. I was not a very strong cyclist! What I lacked in experience and fitness I made up for in determination and drive, and the mindset that anything is possible if you keep going, was what got me through it.

Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours
Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours

I've learned:

  • You do not need to have a lot of cycling experience to complete this challenge
  • If you have cycled 60-100 miles before you are most certainly at the right level
  • If you've completed a multiday cycling challenge (for example, London to Paris over 3 days), the increase in distance covered over one day will not be as hard as you might imagine
  • If you are worried about not having someone to do this with, that's one of the reasons we've set up this sportive to provide you with that companionship. There's plenty of people who will be in the same boat, so join in!
  • It is not about how fast you can cycle but about keeping going. Speed is what kills your chances of success, not distance.
  • You should aim to cycle an average of 12mph including stops, our team will be on hand to help you do this
  • If you are a seasoned cyclist, we will be looking forward to you challenging yourself in one of our lead peletons which will be cruising however fast you want to push it!
Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours
Cycling London to Paris in 24 hours

Training plan

The absolutely key to training is to enjoy it. Don't over train, allocate time for rest and don't beat yourself up if you miss a session. Get out on your bike, challenge yourself, ride up hills and you will feel yourself improving in no time.

Here are my top tips:

  • Aim for one ride per week where you can build your distance up to 100 miles before the end of April. Pretty much anyone with a reasonable level of fitness will be able to cycle 50 miles right now. Each week, build this distance from 50-100. It's all about the baby steps!
  • During the week, you do not need to do long rides, any time in the saddle you can find will help you. Commuting to work, a 30-60 minute cycle here and there. Every mile helps
  • Include one speed work session per week to develop your fast-twitch fibres. This will help you improve your overall speed and endurance quicker than just getting the miles in. Find a hill and do laps, sprinting up and cycling back down for one hour
  • Focus on any other endurance challenges you have between now and May. Running, cycling, strength and conditioning work in the gym, it all helps to build muscle strength and endurance for the challenge
  • Join a local cycling club or find people to train with to maintain motivation and focus towards your cycling goals. Plus it's more fun!
  • Practise your nutrition and kit set up
  • Allocate rest days, it is through rest that we become stronger cyclists!
  • Cycle in bad weather, it makes you feel badass!
  • Fit your training around your life and work commitments. For example, incorporate training into your daily commute, train in your lunch break or instead of driving to social events
  • Focus on what you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you won't find training a chore and you'll want to do it more. Check out my blog on Confidence Training for more on this!

Places on the London to Paris sportive are filling up quickly and I want as many of you as possible to be able to take advantage of the early bird discount of £295.

If you have any other questions regarding training or details on the event, email me I can't wait to share this adventure with you.