Picos Original Riders

Picos Original Riders
Highlights of 2010

Last of the Picos Riders - to Rome Alone!

Our first two charity rides were a huge success - raising over £20,000 for the South East Cancer Help Centre.

The Centre does a fantastic job of supporting patients and carers at the most difficult times of their lives. They make a real difference and you could help them in their work by contributing to our fundraising. Donations can be made via JustGiving.comhttps://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Vaz/ or directly into the Centre. For more details of the Centre and their work see their website at http://www.sechc.org.uk/

After 3 years of rest it seemed time to dust off the old muscles, bones and sinews and do one more spectacular ride in aid of this fabulous charity.

This time I will travel alone for 25 days, mainly following the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigene, covering a distance of around 1,400 miles.

The route travels through Newhaven - Dieppe - Paris before I eventually reach the Via Francigene in Eastern France. From then on it is pretty simple apart from having to cross the Alps without an elephant!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Day 3 Char to Paris

The hammock was very comfortable, so much so that I woke up late. No real incidents apart from someone shouting in the woods, in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere. I should have been worried but exhaustion allowed me to ignore it and go back to sleep.

The route I had so carefully planned for today was a disssaaasssaaaster darling! The middle of Paris is very difficult to get to on a bike. I somehow joined a very busy dual carriageway in the fast lane😠 and that sure scared the hell out of me! After I'd calmed down I worked out a quieter route and was mightily relieved when I eventually saw the Eiffel Tower.

My son Luke was there to meet me wearing a big smile of welcome. One of the photos does make it appear that the tower is leaning but I suspect that it may have been me falling over from the heat 33C is not comfortable cycling.

We had a slightly expensive lunch - water cost as much as a main course back home - but it was worth it to sit together all too briefly before splitting up for our own destinations.

The cycle paths in the middle of Paris,  along the Seine, are a very hard to follow and I struggled up and down the pavements and cobbles. Eventually I hit came off a pavement too hard and the result was a punctured back wheel. All the stuff I'm carrying is very heavy.

I don't know why people say the French are unfriendly. I had two people stop to ask if I needed help and one of them told me of a water fountain around the corner with cool Eau De Paris for free! Great idea! Changing my back tube was hot work in the heat!

While filling up with lovely, cool water I met a guy riding one of these solo wheel thingies. He was amazed that I was travelling to Rome and I was amazed that he wasn't falling over while doing clever tricks!

I eventually stopped for the night on the edge of the canal route on the Eastern side of Paris. A clean, cheap and friendly place. Dinner is en suite ala Des tonight. Bought from the shop across the road - pasta, veg and fruit. Nothing too foreign!

It is a very nice feeling being clean and washed and back in civilisation! But tomorrow may be a different story...


  1. Uri Gellar's got nothing on you! Don't go bending any more iconic buildings.

  2. Glad that you have met up with Luke. I can't believe how hot the weather is.

    Keep cycling.

    Love Jennifer

  3. The Eiffel Tower, Luke & the SECHC flags in your picture looks really nice. What else can I say about the rest without being misconstrued as offensive??!!

  4. I'm not sure the French are unfriendly. I think it's just you not taking a shower!

  5. Thanks Ronnie. I'm beginning to think that I should wash more regularly!

  6. Thanks Ronnie. I'm beginning to think that I should wash more regularly!