Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Cycled London to Paris for MRF

On Saturday morning, as I set out on the road, it suddenly flashed through my mind "I'm cycling in France!" The next two days, despite containing a lot of difficult hills, were fantastic. Ok, my legs ached, my backside ached, I had to have my hands taped up because I started getting blisters, and my neck was really beginning to get sore, but I wouldn't have missed a minute of it.

One of the things that really made the ride special was the camaraderie amongst the group. Everyone was really supportive, and being able to ride along, chatting to those around, made some of the more difficult hills much easier. I spent a lot of the time riding with Kate and Helen, also collecting money for Meningitis Research Foundation. It was fantastic to have their company, and it was a special moment riding across the line with them in Paris, all three of us wearing our Meningitis Research Foundation tops.

We rode into Paris from the west through the Forest of St. Germain. As I passed the horse racing circuit at Longchamps I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and the hairs began to stand up on the back of my neck.

For the last four miles we rode as a group, around the Arc de Triomph and on to the finish line at the Palais de Chaillot, just across the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The finish was very emotional, realising that I had completed the event I had spent months training for, thinking about the reasons I had undertaken this in the first place... I shed a few tears as I spoke to my wife on the phone.

So finally, the question is, would I do something like this again? Absolutely. This was a tremendous trip, hopefully a good way to raise awareness of Meningitis, and I've nearly hit the target I set myself for fundraising (hopefully that will happen in the next couple of weeks). I'm not sure what I will do next, but I'm definitely going to do something. Watch this space!


You can support Paul by visiting his Justgiving page

If you are interested in learning more about the London to Paris cycle or the many other challenges we have available visit the Challenges section of our website