London To Paris For A Older Newbie


New Member
Gt Paxton
After a long break from cycling (nearly 30 years), I looking to take part in an organised London/Paris cycle ride next Sept (2018) Part of my motivation is the need to get fit as last year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

I am now 49 years old and have started to slowly train for it. I have Bought a second hand Boardman Road Sport (2015 model I think) as I have a tight budget. I have switched to clipless pedals and plan to chance the saddle when I can afford to.

So far I have managed a ride of 17.3mls in 1hr 38min. I know I have a long way to go to get myself fit for the london to paris. But at the moment I am trying to balance my needs as a diabetic with those of cycling. Also I am trying to work out local rides which keep me of the main roads.

I had a small sucess the other day in that I have a small local route that I do which is 8.4mls, normaly I cant do it in one but I did it in 34mins no stops apart for junctions. I know this will be vsmall stuff to most of you but I am an unfit 107kg

I am sure that there will be someone on this site that has done the london paris. Any advice welcome on any aspect of what I am doing, but please don't say not to do it.


Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
So far I have managed a ride of 17.3mls in 1hr 38min. I know I have a long way to go to get myself fit for the london to paris.
10.6mph. A good start! Do you need to do a particular speed and daily distance for the organised ride you're considering?

Also I am trying to work out local rides which keep me of the main roads. - if you can tolerate the B road to the nearest towns, there's lots of cycle routes beyond that without touching main road, including the lovely St Ives to Cambridge track.


Insert witty title here
I did London to Paris last year, and I'd say definitely do it! Last year we did in over three days (me, at 45 years old, my 14 year old son, and a 65 year old cycling buddy). This year I'd like to do it with my son in 24 hours.

Over three days it's really quite achievable, are you planning a 3 or 4 day route? Believe it or not, a couple of years ago, 11 miles was my limit, so by September next year, you will be fine, so long as you keep gradually increasing the distance. Find out what your longest day will be, and focus on that. Also, ideally, get used to riding back to back days.

What sort of kit are you in? Do you have good bib shorts (with no pants), you may want to consider chamois cream too. Comfort in the saddle is a major factor in this type of ride, or at least can make it a lot more pleasant!

What made the difference for me and my son, was taking our bikes on holiday to France, probably two years ago now. Before that, as I said, we were basically stuck on 11 miles. We started riding along the coast, and our distance went up day by day, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 (not exactly like that). Because it was fairly flat, warm, and pleasant, we realised we could pretty much cover as much distance as we wanted, it just took more time to go further, and if we got too hot or tired, we could usually stop for an ice cream!

Climbing will be the big challenge. Drop as much weight as you can, cycling will certainly help with this, and also make sure that your gearing is appropriate. It probably will be anyway.

To help progress your riding, look around for a cycle club, and ask about their club ride. It may be challenging at first, but you'll find having local cycling buddies will help enormously. They may have an open non drop ride for newcomers which you can come along to. Speaking to more experienced cyclists, they may also help you to optimise your bike set up. Getting the seat height right, or adjusting the stem, can make an enormous difference, both to your pedalling efficiency, and your comfort on the bike.

Feel free to message me, if you send me your phone number I'm happy to chat on the phone, or answer any questions you have. But most of all, just do it, and enjoy the ride, and the achievement. It's a great ride, and I highly recommend it.


Über Member
I did it when I turned 50 and it was an amazing experience. With a year to go, if you stick at it (which is the hard part) you should be fine. And remember chamois cream, chamois cream, chamois cream!!


Über Member
I see the creamed nappy brigade are out in force. Give it a try if you like but don't feel pressured into doing anything which doesn't work for you.
No pressure intended. but it helped me.


Legendary Member
I did London to Paris for the Royal British Legion last year over four days, when I was 55. It was great fun and I would recommend it to anyone.

I started 'training' in March that year. I made a spreadsheet in which I gradually built my distance up and frequency of rides. I didn't worry about speed. I did plenty of audaxes, some back to back, and did wattbike sessions for variety (I was already bored with my local lanes by the time I decided to enter).

If I were to do it all over again, I would also have actively tried to lose weight. I did lose 10lb just through the extra exercise; however weighing less would definitely have helped.

Go for it and feel free to keep posting updates on how you are doing.


Ticking the boxes
Hi Haggis.

I did LTP about 5 years ago when 53 with global adventure and it was brill. You have got plenty of time to build up the necessary mileage, fitness. Just don't try to do to much to soon. I gradually built up over a period of time (about 10 months).

I gradually built up my long ride on a Sunday but I found it was important to get out as often as possible during week initially to build fitness. Better to do more shorter rides than just one long one initially.

Also at some point try to do consecutive days until you can do 3 or 4 together to mirror the actual ride, although not necessary the same distances. I found this particularly helpful.

The organisation with global adventure was first class with regulat stops for food and water.

Most importantly enjoy it.


Über Member
A mate and I did L2P (selfie at the Tower of London, selfie at the Eiffel Tower) in 23 hours, aged 47 a couple of years ago via the Newhaven-Dieppe route, just for a fun thing to do one weekend. Ferry out, Eurostar back and back to work on Monday morning. It was just about the most fun on 2 wheels and I'd recommend any version of it to anyone. Oh, and he's Type 1 and I'm Type 2.

Stick at it, as the Date-in-the-Diary for 2018 will act as a great motivator and also come around quicker than you think. Enjoy!


I have just returned from doing London to Paris with my husband. We decided to do it independently, so that we could take the amount of time that I needed. I have heart failure, following a heart attack four years ago. We took 5 days to get to Paris and averaged 30-40 miles a day. It was a fantastic achievement and we both really enjoyed. For added fun, we went on our tandem and got a lot of attention.

You definitely have time to build up the mileage. I would suggest making a plan to build up the miles slowly and ride several days consecutively. The best of luck. Let us know how you get on.
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