An early start allows us to avoid the morning traffic as we pass through the outskirts of London onto quieter roads. It’s not long before we are among the rolling fields and villages of rural Kent, passing orchards and traditional oast houses where hops are stored. We follow country roads across the hills of the North Downs to Dover and the coast. Taking the ferry to Calais, we have dinner on board and cycle the short distance to our hotel in Calais.
Next we head south through beautiful rural landscapes. We ride through ancient Desvres, pedalling quiet winding roads running parallel to the coast. After lunch we reach the valleys of the Canche River and head further south towards Crécy-en-Ponthieu – site of the 14th-century Battle of Crécy. Continuing south, our final leg brings us to Abbeville, on the River Somme. Abbeville suffered badly from WW2 air raids, but its beautiful Flemish architecture is still in evidence and its Gothic church has been largely restored to its former glory.
Leaving Abbeville behind us we follow the River Somme east out of the town in the direction of Amiens. These lands are renowned for the terrible battles of the First World War and are scattered with cemeteries and other poignant reminders of the thousands of men who died here. Our route soon turns south and we follow shady beech-tree-lined avenues so typically French, into meandering valleys and traditional farming hamlets. The cycling is mostly flat and through agricultural lands. Our day ends at Beauvais, a town renowned for its large Gothic cathedral.
Our final day’s cycling takes us over the river Théram and south of Beauvais towards the great capital city. Following small country roads we head towards the small town of Meru and continue south through beautiful countryside. As we reach the suburbs of Paris we look out for the distinctive landmarks of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur standing out on the skyline. Reaching the suburb of St. Denis we come to the River Seine; following its northern esplanade in the shadow of the Bois du Boulogne, we ride until we reach the Pont d’Iena and finish beneath the lofty arches of the Eiffel Tower. Its then time to enjoy a great celebration to mark our achievements.
Eurostar train back to St Pancras, to be reunited with our bikes.
We’ll not only have completed an epic journey, but helped thousands of people affected by myeloma.