We understand that a five day cycling challenge is a massive commitment so we want to make it as easy as possible for you to decide whether it's right for you!

So whether you have questions about the route, fundraising, equipment, insurance or the snacking itinerary, hopefully this FAQ can help. It is available to read below or download.

If you have any further queries, please get in touch with the fundraising team on [email protected]. If your queries relate to entering as a corporate team, please contact [email protected].

Download FAQ


Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2019 FAQ

TAKING PART

How fit do you have to be?

The ride will suit all abilities, from inexperienced to more seasoned cyclists. It is however important that once you sign up to the plan; you become used to getting out on your bike for long rides. A training guide is provided to help, and group rides are organised at times throughout the year when you should be aiming to comfortably cover 20, 40 and 60 mile distances. 

Is it ok to take part as an individual?

Absolutely! Every year we get feedback about how great the group atmosphere is and how you make friends for life. There are a series of social rides and information evenings in the lead up to the event so you will also get the chance to get to know people at these.

Can you take part as a team?

Yes of course. Each year we have a variety of teams – it’s great to help motivate each other, for example if you work together. We can help to set up team fundraising pages and it can be great to get some team sponsorship for your cycling jerseys. Don’t forget the quirky team name!

What sort of insurance do I need?

You are required to take out travel insurance to cover you on a trip of this nature. Full details can be provided. We will request all details from you in advance of the trip. You will not be permitted to travel without insurance.

It is advisable to also get your bike insured. Sometimes this can be included on your home insurance, but should be checked with your insurer. While not compulsory, it is also advisable to get third party cycling insurance.


FUNDRAISING

What if we don’t reach the target?

By registering in this challenge you are pledging to raise the minimum sponsorship of £1,550.00 and understand that it is the endeavour of this challenge to raise as much above this amount as possible in aid of Above & Beyond. Of monies raised approx. £996 will be used to cover the costs of your transport, accommodation, food, transfers, guides and back-up team.

If you cannot raise the minimum sponsorship your place will be forfeited unless you make up the balance yourself.

The Fundraising Team will support you as much as possible in planning your fundraising to help you reach your target – we haven’t had anyone not succeed yet!

Is there a deadline on fundraising?

You are required to have sent to Above & Beyond 80% of the minimum sponsorship 13 weeks before the trip; the remaining 20% will be due four weeks before.


CYCLING KIT

Do I need a bike lock?

No, your bikes will be kept in secure areas throughout the trip and a lock isn’t necessary.

How many spare inner tubes do I need?

Two spare inner tubes are recommended. The mechanics will have some should you be unfortunate enough to get more than two punctures. You will be charged for the cost any additional tubes, which you can settle with them during the ride.

How many pairs of cycling shorts do I need?

A minimum of two. You can always rinse these in the hotel at night and allow them to dry overnight and the following day.

Bib shorts or regular cycling shorts?

This is personal preference. Some cyclists feel bib shorts are more comfortable, fit better and create less pressure points on the body. Most importantly, the shorts should have good padding, and you should have worn the shorts a number of times before the challenge, so that you are confident that they are comfortable.

Do I need lights on my bike?

While we will not be cycling in the dark, it is advisable in case of low light or fog.

Why do I need a bell?

It is the law in France. It is also helpful when cycling on cycle paths shared with pedestrians.

Cleats or no cleats?

This is personal preference. If you choose cleats, make sure you are doing your training rides in them so that you are used to them well in advance of your cycle to Paris.


TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION

What star are the hotels?

Between three and four star. They are all comfortable and clean and are used to accommodating groups of our size.

Do the hotels have hairdryers?

From experience on previous years, most of the hotels do have hairdryers.

Do I need to bring a towel?

No, all hotels will provide towels for you, including the ferry.

What berth are the cabins on the ferry?

For the majority of the group, the cabins will be 4-berth, but there will be some 2-berth. You will be allocated rooms and sharing requests will be considered when organising this.

Is all accommodation and return travel included?

Yes this is all included. Approx. £996 of your fundraising target is trip costs. This includes all accommodation, travel, food, mechanics, medical cover, and vehicle support. You can opt to self-fund your cost element if you prefer.

Can I use my Eurostar trip on another day?

Unfortunately not. Tickets are not exchangeable. If you are extending your stay, you would need to purchase a separate return ticket home.

How do we get back from Paris?

We will travel from Paris on Sunday afternoon after a morning free around the city. A coach will take us from the hotel in Paris to the Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar to St Pancras. A coach will meet us at the station in London to take us back to The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol. You will need to organise to be collected from The Mall – further details will be provided closer to the time.

How do I get my bike back to Bristol?

Your bikes are loaded onto the support vans in Paris and are driven back to the UK. You are then reunited with them on Sunday evening when you arrive back in Bristol on the bus.

If you are planning on extending your stay in Paris, you either need to keep your bike with you, or organise for a friend or relative to collect your bike when it reaches Bristol. Timings will be confirmed closer to the time.

Does my luggage get transported?

Yes, you will be required to pack into two bags – an overnight bag, and a day bag. These will go on different vans each morning to be transported to the next hotel. Your day bag should be used for anything that you might want to get access to at stops during the day. You will not be able to access your overnight bag during the day as it will be on a van that won’t always be at the break stops.

When can I get access to my day bag?

At some of the break stops in the morning and afternoon, and also at the lunch stop every day. 


FOOD AND REST STOPS

How long will we have for lunch?

It varies each day. We wait for all cyclists to regroup and eat before we all set off again together. This can be around an hour, a little longer if you are first in, and a little shorter if you are last in.

What is the food like?

We cater to all dietary requirements, so please ensure you have told us about any allergies etc as soon as possible. The food is varied across each venue, with either a set meal or buffet.

Breakfast is usually a continental buffet with some cooked options.

Lunch will usually be soup and sandwich.

Dinner is a hot cooked two or three course meal.

Other than breakfast, drinks are not usually included at each meal, so if you would like anything other than water, please ensure you bring money to purchase your own.

Do I need to bring snacks?

The Classic Challenge team provide a huge variety of snacks along the way, with between one and two stops each morning and afternoon. Snacks provided will include fruit, sweets, biscuits, and nuts or crisps, so there is plenty of choice. If you are gluten free, they will also provide appropriate snacks. If you have a particular preference for your own snacks, or you feel you may need more along the journey, please bring your own.

Water and squash will also be available at every stop so that you can top up you water bottles.

Will I need extra spending money?

The only time you will need money is to buy your own drinks at mealtimes and for food on the free day after we arrive in Paris.


THE ROUTE

What route do we take to Paris?

Our fifth anniversary ride is taking in a slightly different and longer route:

  • Day 1 – Bristol to Andover (approx. 118km) – departing from Ashton Court and heading out of Bristol and on to country roads to lunch stop around Melksham and then on to Andover.
  • Day 2 – Andover to Portsmouth (approx. 95km) – leaving Andover and heading south and stopping for lunch, then into Portsmouth to load up the vans for the ferry, stop for dinner, and then board for a night crossing.
  • Day 3 – Le Harvre to Gourney en Bray (approx. 145km) - disembarking at Le Harvre and heading east towards Gourney en Bray, via a lunch stop in Rouen.
  • Day 4 – Gourney en Bray to Paris (approx. 112km) – leaving the town and going slightly south for lunch and on to Paris.

Are route maps available to follow?

Outline maps will be provided closer to the date to show rough routes and elevations. We do not provide electronic maps to upload onto devices, as you will need to follow the arrows as set out by the tour operator each day. This means that any last minute route changes due to road closures or otherwise can be accommodated.

The route is well signed in advance of us heading out each day, so you can go at your own pace and follow the arrows the entire way.


FAMILY & FRIENDS

Can my family come to the celebratory meal on the Saturday?

Yes of course. We will send out further details nearer the time where you can book them a space. There will be a set charge per person.

What time do we get into Paris?

Approximately 4.30pm, but we will confirm nearer the time, and will also have a process in place where any friends or family meeting you at the finish line will be able to contact us to find out the arrival time and place.


Visit Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2019 to secure your place on the ride.