From Paris to London, On a Bike


Paris to London is just an hour-long flight, or a two-hour train ride. Therefore, we now know that it’s a few days if you choose to go by bike. Here’s the story of four buddies who decided to go from Paris to London by bike, to accomplish something, but also for a lot of other reasons. 330 kilometers (205 miles) later, they tell us about their trip, illustrated by our famous Lomo LC-A.

We already told you how much we loved bikes here on Lomography. It is 100% analogue (and we all know that the future is analogue), it’s good for you and for the planet : we think it’s the best way to travel from point A to point B. These four guys decided that the point A would be Paris, and the point B would be London, 330 kilometers (205 miles) away from each other, all of that with two little Lomo LC-A in their bags. We met them so that they could tell us a little bit about this crazy trip…

Hi guys, can you please introduce yourself in a few words ?

Sabri : If I had to sum it up, this crew is = buddies x bike x the internets.

Ed : Yup, it could have been running or boxing, but we all happened to really like fixies, which is perfect when you live in Paris. And just riding toghether is always a good reason to see each other, it sounds way better than saying “I’m going out to get drunk” while leaving your wife and your children at home.

Flo :I’d just add that our crew was mostly from the “78” (Yvelines department, west of Paris) as the guys are almost all from there. And as I happen to be like a child in this group, this kinda helps to build the crew’s consistency.

Where did this idea come from ?

Sabri : The idea came from a footage made by Nike, where 10 american bike messengers (including one called Massan that I really like) who travelled from London to Paris to meet Lance Armstrong at the start of the Tour de France (you can see the footage
and the finish pictures )

The road, the mood, the challenge, and all the pictures of joy really gave us trust. We thought that we could also do it , and that it would be a great way to spend time and have fun together (and also, by the same way, to leave the cliché of the people who are just posing with their bikes near the Canal Saint Martin in Paris).

Ed : Haha, yeah, this “strike the pose” stuff is really annoying, when it’s all about having the right brand of frame, the right padlock… we don’t really care about that. We do care about looks and style, but we wanted our gears to be no more and no less than “grown up toys", and think about those as convinient tools to travel from home to work.

On the other hand, we also have connections with Brighton (which was a stopping point on our 3rd stage), and one of us lives in London. We really wanted to go hard on this, sweating and even hurting ourselves… then the journey naturally came to us.

Flo : Actually, I just rode twice with Ed and Sabri, and one day, Sabri said “Paris to London, yeah ?” and I said yes. It was simple, quick and obvious. Just like having intercourse while being slightly drunk.

Eloi: I remember that we started talking about bikes pretty soon. I’m living in London and I found out that the guys from Paris were really into this thing as well. What I enjoyed the most was the “road trip” state of mind, with friends and a nice physical challenge. I’ve been living in London for ages now, and I’ve been travelling by car, plane, train, boat… bike was the only one missing !

Do you have one or two fun stories to tell us about this trip ?

Sabri : There are a few ones : we performed a song live in a London bus, with incredibly deep lyrics. And on the way to London, I was scared when I couldn’t feel anything between my legs.

Ed : The two of us using brakeless bikes really impressed us, especially on a 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) downhill road, full of potholes, all of that while remembering to drive on the left side. On another subject, in the first fifteen minutes we spent in London, we saw more nice bikes and fixies than in a whole year in Paris. London definitely “owned us” on the bikes’ looks. And the only flat wheel we got on the whole trip wasn’t on the road, but when we stayed at our friend’s place in London. Ridiculous.

Flo : I think it’s time to tell you about my mother’s tiramisu (an italian dessert). I saw one on the menu of the restaurant in Dieppe, at the end of our stage 2 but I could feel that it wouldn’t be as good as mommy’s one, so I decided not to have it. Pretty anecdotic, right ?

Aside from that, I can’t really remember anything as it’s now late and my head is full. I just can remember that we had lots of fun on this trip. The whole crew has kick-ass humor and wittiness.

Eloi : For me, it’s gonna be the London finishing line. The city’s so big that we’ve been riding 35 kilometers between buses before spotting the center… then the finishing line… and then the pub… and then, the pint. “I’m swearin’, guys, we’re just 10 minutes away from it now.” – “Yeah, you said 10 minutes 45 minutes ago…”

We’d like to thank Charli, following us in a car, and patiently waiting for us in every café on the french Normandy road…

What if you had to do it again ?

Sabri : We will do it again ! Personnally, I’m thinking about San Sebastian in Spain, but as it’s lots of uphill and downhill, I don’t think that I’ll do it on a fixed gear.

Ed : I’d do it tomorrow, without hesitation. The preparation stage is also wicked, excitation rising up as we get closer to the starting day, and all the people who told us that we wouldn’t be able to do it… So it’ll probably be a Bordeaux to San Sebastian ride, next spring.

Flo : Ok, so it’ll be Bordeaux to San Sebastian, I’m learning it as you read it. On this trip, I really enjoyed the french part of the Paris – London ride. Normandy is great, I’d enjoy doing it again, but with at least a brake this time. On the other hand, I didn’t really enjoy the english countryside, roads are hardcore, cars go like hell, overtake without seeing what’s coming in front of them, and the best has to be this guy throwing away a starbucks cup on Sabri while driving super fast, like, I don’t know, 80 miles per hour… but the city of London is dope. People have a very strong bike culture out there.

Eloi : Where do I sign to do it again ?

Tell us a bit about this seris of pictures

Sabri : The pictures are great, they look exactly like what I remember.

Ed : That’s exactly what I saw behind my sunglasses. Seeing these pictures again brought me back into these good times. It is said that you remind mind pain easier than physical pain, but just looking at these pictures makes my thighs and my butt hurt so much…

Flo : I’m rewriting here what I sent to the other guys : F*** YEAH THE PICTURES ARE REALLY NICE. Despite our tiredness and a tight planning, we captured some nice instants, and some of these are super cool. We have some on our bikes, and some other ones all along the trip, which is “nice”, as Ed would say. I think I’ll print some to give to my mommy… in exchange for a tiramisu. I’m also thinking about making spokecards that we’ll put on our back wheel to ride the parisian streets. So, thanks a lot for your help !

Eloi : Photos are great, the LC-A was perfect for this trip. I scared myself two or three times by shooting while riding, framing was weird but the result is excellent. I get goosebumps everytime I look at this series !

330,5 km later, smiling.

Have a look at all their pictures :

Have a look a Ed's bikemap profile

See you in Bordeaux next year ! We’ll be supporting you again !

written by fredericdith on 2011-06-29 #lifestyle #analogue #bike #velo #paris #lca #londres
translated by fredericdith

One Comment

  1. hslswain
    hslswain ·

    Bikes + Lomography = an utterly splendid combination.

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