No doubt you have lots of questions about the Paris to Swansea Bike Ride 2018. Hopefully the following list of the most frequently asked questions we get asked about the ride will help answer any queries you may have.
When is the ride?
The event covers 5 days from 1st August to 5th August 2018. The first day will be spent travelling to Paris but don’t worry it won’t be on a bike! The next 4 days will then see you cycle your way from Paris through France and the UK, before arriving in Swansea on Sunday, 5th August.
What is included in the tour costs?
All air fares, hotel accommodation, food (apart from evening meal) and energy drinks, luggage and bike transportation, basic bike repairs and maintenance whilst on the ride is also included, as well as a support/recovery vehicle as back-up during the ride. We’ll also give you a souvenir t-shirt/cycle jersey for the ride.
How do I raise sponsorship?
We recommend that you organise a variety of fundraising events, such as a cake selling day in work, a curry and quiz night down the local and even some static bike spin sessions in your local supermarket. Another good way of raising money is by setting up a JustGiving or Virgin Money Giving page so you can share your fundraising links via Facebook and Twitter. Of course you can also nag your friends and family using a sponsorship form.
Who organises the ride?
Sarn Helen Cycle Events are the main organisers. The company has more than 15 years experience in organising cycling tours and events.
Do you provide insurance?
No. You will need to provide your own insurance. Some annual holiday insurance policies will cover your bikes but please check with your insurer and explain that you are taking part in a charity cycle ride (not a race). It is important to get the correct insurance for the event, so have a read of our cycling insurance guide before you purchase any type of insurance.
How fit do I need to be?
Even if you haven’t been on a bike for a couple of decades, you can still do the ride! People of all ages and abilities take part – from cycling enthusiasts to complete novices – and you are grouped on the ride according to your experience and fitness levels. We will make an assessment of your ability when you register and provide you with a tailored training plan that we encourage you to stick to prior to the event. We recommend a MINIMUM of 4 months training for the ride.
Do I need to train on my own?
We organise weekly training rides based on abilities, including invaluable peloton training sessions, and encourage riders to train together as often as they can. We suggest that you try and make as many of these as possible as it’s not only a chance to train but also meet the other riders. On past challenges, many riders have used the Facebook group to organise additional weekend and evening rides.
How many miles will we be cycling each day?
Each day will be between 75 and 90 miles. There will be a back up vehicle for those riders that need to opt out for a short while.
What equipment do I need?
You will need to provide your own bike – we recommend that you use a road bike. All riders MUST wear a cycling helmet at all times. You will not be allowed on any training rides or take part in the challenge without one. We also suggest that you wear cycling shorts, particularly on the longer rides, and have a waterproof jacket, gloves and glasses with different lenses depending on the weather. Some cyclists find cycle shoes and cleats more effective on long rides. We can advise on the best ones for you and help you get used to them. Water bottles are also essential.
A full list of equipment needed for the challenge is provided in greater detail during our dedicated event meeting.
Do many people sign up on their own?
The majority of riders don’t know anyone before they start training. We have weekly training sessions so you get a chance to meet others. In previous years, riders have got together and organised additional training rides – as well as the essential social gatherings!
How does my bike and luggage arrive in Paris?
You will need to drop your bike and luggage to the Sarn Helen Events in Swansea at a stipulated date and time. We take great care with your bike when transporting it. We can’t accept bike boxes though so you will need to make sure that your bikes are adequately protected. These are then taken on ahead and will be waiting for you at the hotel where you will stay the night before the ride commences. At the start of each day, you will need to load your suitcase onto the truck and it will be waiting for you in the hotel that evening.
Is there a luggage restriction?
Because of the amount of equipment we are taking for the ride, we ask that all riders bring just one suitcase weighing no more than 18kg. For the flights, it is hand luggage only.
What about airport transfers?
You will need to make your own way to the relevant airport on day one unless group transport has been arranged by Sarn Helen Cycle Events.
What is the accommodation like?
We tend to stay in budget hotels (such as Ibis Budget and Etap) in order to keep the tour costs down and give as much money as possible to the charity. All accommodation is shared – you can nominate a roommate if you wish.
What about food and drink during the ride?
Breakfast is included in the tour costs. During the ride, we have a number of stops throughout the day when we provide snacks, energy drinks and water. Lunch is also provided by our food wagon team. Make sure you bring two water bottles for your ride so you can top-up regularly. The evening meal is the only meal not provided but the hotels tend to be located close to restaurants.
What is a typical day like?
We are normally up at 7am for breakfast and bike checks. The truck is then loaded with the luggage and we usually set off by 8.30am. There are a number of stops throughout the day for snacks and lunch and the riding tends to finish by 5pm. We try and find a secure room in the hotels to store the bikes but you may need to keep it in your room if this is not available. After collecting your luggage, you are free to do whatever you want for the evening.
What if I get lost?
All riders are placed into a group depending on ability and allocated a team leader. They will have a Garmin loaded with the route and take responsibility during the day, making sure everyone stays together. There will be a navigational vehicle at the front of the first group and a back-up vehicle at the rear. We haven’t lost anyone yet!
Do I need a Garmin or similar for the ride?
Some riders like to have the route uploaded onto their own bike computers as it shows them average speeds, calorie counts etc but it isn’t a necessity.
What if there’s a problem with my bike during the ride?
There will be cycle mechanics patrolling the route with spare parts. Even though our mechanics will carry everything you need, it is worth taking a spare inner tube and pump with you. At the start and end of each, we recommend that you do basic bike checks – the mechanics will be around to help.
If you still have any questions then please contact us and we’ll be glad to help.