The road to Paris-Brest-Paris


Once every four years the big audax rides come round the last Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) was 2015, and London-Edinburgh-London (LEL) 2017. I hadn’t found audax in time for the 2017 LEL but 2019 PBP was something I’d had half an eye on.

July last year I tested the waters with Mille Pennies [1, 2, 3, 4] a 1000km event. It was tough as heck, but damn rewarding. I hadn’t been completely put off, PBP became a real target.

So that Mille Pennies ride saw me able to pre-register in the first wave on 14th January. So now I just need to qualify, this post is my plan and progress of that road to Paris.

Qualifying means riding an event at 200, 300, 400 and 600km distances before certain dates and ultimately 23rd June. So here are my planned events.

200 - Scottish Borders Randonnee

Sat 16th March [link]

200kms from Selkirk, controlling at Moffat, Peebles and Melrose before returning. It’s an event I haven’t done previously, but I’ve done lots of others in the Borders and ridden several with Russell the organiser. I’m sure it’ll be a good day, but no doubt the weather will do something interesting.

Scottish Borders Randonnee audax provisional route 2019

300 - Alston and Back

Sat 13th April [link]

The Borders again, and again I haven’t ridden this one before. I’ve done a bunch of Lucy McTaggart’s other events and they’re all very good. It has a familiar feel with the route through to Langholm, in that I’ve ridden those roads on Lucy’s other events, but then from there to Alston will be all new. Good stuff!

Alston and Back audax provisional route 2019

600 - Brian Chapman Memorial (Welsh End to End)

Sat 18th May [link]

It’ll be my first time riding in Wales, and first 600! But the next ride should be a 400, right? Well yes but I don’t really have one that’ll ideally fit my calendar, and anyway you can qualify shorter distance rides with longer events. Anyway, new country, so all new roads to me, and it’ll be a multi-day and have the travelling away from home - so the first real kit test. It’s an event that can be difficult to get in to, I’m extra excited for this one.

I haven’t booked anything yet but I’ll be train-ing it down Friday, back Monday with Friday + Sunday nights somewhere near Bristol/Chepstow if anyone fancies syncing up :)

Brian Chapman Memorial audax provisional route 2019

600 - The North Coast Classic

Sat 8th June [link]

Another one I’m really looking forward to, a multi-day in the far north of Scotland. Kicking off just north of Inverness a bunch of the north coast 500 route I guess, a run up the beautiful west coast to Durness and then along the top to John o’ Groats before returning south from Thurso.

Where my Welsh adventure has full service controls (food, airbeds) I’m not sure on the details on this one. But having driven some of those roads I can't wait to get the bike up that way.

Again I haven’t booked anything yet but I’ll be train-ing it on the Friday, back Monday with Friday + Sunday nights somewhere near cheerful around Inverness if anyone fancies syncing up :)

North Coast Classic audax provisional route 2019

And that’s it right? We’ll there are a couple of events I’ll keep my eye on in case something goes astray in one of the ones above. Probably Over the Hill and Back 400 on the 25th May and Borderlands Explorer 600 on the 15th June. But hopefully they won’t be needed.

The plan for Paris

Time is too tight to book things once I’ve qualified so pre-booking is going on. My plan is to drive to family near London Thursday 15th August. Ride to Newhaven Friday for the overnight ferry to Dieppe. Ride to Paris for the bike check on Saturday. Sunday it kicks off for real, I’m in the 4pm group with an 80 hour target. That sees me back in Paris on Wednesday where I’ll kip. Thursday riding to Dieppe (hotel) for the first ferry on Friday. Friday riding back to London. Maybe sometime on Saturday I’ll be back in Scotland :) As before, if that hooks up with anyone give me a ping :)

Phone battery and fatigue allowing I’m going to keep in touch and word of my progress with friends and family probably on Instagram and Twitter. And of course all of my rides will be posted to Strava.

Comments? Tweet me @mealybar, smoke signals, or homing pigeon, or something :)