London to Paris 24 Hour Cycle

For Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support

170 miles. Over night. Almost No Experience.


Melanie’s Account:

A year ago I would never have imagined that I could now say that I have cycled from London to Paris in under 24 hours. I am not a cyclist and did not have a bike until just before Christmas. But this was for such a good cause (Cancer Research UK and Macmillan) that I could not back out.

On Friday 28th April, along with 12 friends, I set off on the biggest challenge of my life and began the first leg of the cycle to Newhaven. I have to say this was the best long cycle I have ever done – probably the adrenaline helped me along, but a successful cycle saw us arrive at the ferry an hour earlier than expected. We then opened the many containers of pasta we had with us and started to refuel before a much-needed sleep on the ferry (sadly the ferry took only 4 hours). We arrived at Dieppe at 4.30am French time on Saturday morning, a little bleary eyed, but luckily not too sore.

Freezing Fog

What we did not expect for the first leg of our journey in France, was to have to cycle in – 2 ˚C and fog. Despite the first 30 miles being on a cycle trail, the weather made it far from enjoyable and there were more than a few occasions that I was wishing I was in the support car rather than on my bike, but I powered through. We finally stopped for a warming hot chocolate and pastry before setting off again. I enjoyed seeing the fantastic sights along the way, but anyone who thinks there are no hills in France is completely mistaken. Still… every hill we climbed, was one closer to the finish line.

Paris – so near yet so far!

As we were approaching Paris, I had a slight mishap with Google Maps which set us back a few minutes, but we got back on track and headed for the Eiffel Tower. At this point, I decided I wanted to be at the front and miraculously found some energy to do a sprint finish. The feeling of relief when we saw the Eiffel Tower and our family and friends was overwhelming. We were welcomed by cheers, banners, whistles, berets and champagne. It was the best feeling to know we had made it there in 23 hours and 10 minutes and therefore succeeding in our task to make it in under 24 hours whilst managing to raise over £25,000 for our charities.

I feel so proud to have been part of the team and can’t quite believe we all made it in one piece and without a single puncture!”