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TechBikers Ride Paris to London for Room to Read

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Posted by Cags R under Cycling on 29 September 2014 at 11:00 PM

There are a lot of reasons to take on epic Challenges, but one of our favorites here at Tribesports is completing a challenge for charity. That's why this year, we became the kit sponsors of the TechBikers annual Paris to London ride.

Tech Bikers Paris

First, some background - what are TechBikers? 

TechBikers was founded in 2012 in London, the idea was for the members of the tech community would throw down their laptops (figuritively) and pick up their bikes in an endeavour to support an amazing charity which is improving education equality across the globe; Room to Read.

The Challenge...

The Challenge is to ride for 3 days from the Eiffel Tower (Paris) to Google Campus (London) - 70 riders, 320km and whatever weather nature fancies throwing at them. Let's do it!

So, how do you organise an event for 70 riders of mixed abilities to all get from Paris to London safely? You call in the experts, that's how - the team from Cycle Friendly guided the ride, which is pretty much like being in charge of a field trip at school (but the kids are VERY excited and want to cycle super fast!)

Andrew - the Tribesports CTO, and Cags - our Merchandising Manager, both signed up for the ride to raise money for Room to Read, here are their 6 top tips for completing Paris to London supported charity ride:

Tip #1 get chatting - if you're cycling in an organised charity ride, it pays off to get to know your fellow cyclists. Although some of the group we cycled with knew each other, there were lots of new connections made which was great. We rarely cycled as one big peleton - 70 riders of mixed ability generally won't stick to a one-pace-suits all speed. It really helps if you get to know your fellow riders so when you're on the road, you can form your own mini groups to draft with.

Hand shake on ride

Tip #2 get close - riding in a group is the most energy efficient way to cycle, this is because you will be sheltering each other from the wind and you will be motivated to keep pace with the rider in front of you. Riding close to other riders requires trust - trust that you won't brake suddenly, won't swerve irratically and you will keep your line in the group. If you are signed up to a group charity ride, it's very worthwhile learning the right drafting technique and going on practice rides with some of your group. TechBikers were very good at organising group training rides before setting off to Paris, you could really see the difference in the riders who had trained with the group.

Group Riding

Tip #3 hand signals - besides the obvious directional hand signals (Kate demonstrating beautifully in the pic below), there are a few hand signals which come in very handy:

  • Point at potholes/drains as you avoid them - this will save fellow riders behind you.

  • Slowing down? Stick a hand out and lift it up & down in a slow motion to tell those following to slow down too.

  • Stopping should be communicated verbally and with solid arm signal.

  • Avoiding an obstuction - pothole, parked car, speed bumps, if you need to move out into a more central position in the road, take your curb-side arm (left for UK, right for France in this example) and point it behind your back in the direction of travel.

hand signals

Tip #4 come prepared for any weather - pretty self explanatory! We were on a supported ride which meant we had access to our bags at rest stops during the day. The thunderstorm on Day 2 made riding the final 40km that day a bit damper than expected but luckily most riders were suitably waterproofed-up. Here's a quick list of great ways to keep dry on your bike:

  • Goretex (or similar standard) waterproof jacket - windproof shells or "shower resistant" will generally reach a max-saturation and let water through

  • Shoe covers - although your feet will inevitable get a bit soggy, shoe covers will keep the worst out and stop the wind from freezing your feet

  • Light and bright - drivers will have poorer visibility in wet weather, so make sure you have lights or a high visibility jacket so that you're easy to spot 

Raining

Tip #5 help your fellow riders and they will help you - a bit of an extreme example below - Sam Strong (an aptly named man) getting a helping hand on a hill from a fellow rider. Sam broke his ankle and so rode a hand cycle - because he is an epic person. 

Sam and Steven

But in a more typical Paris to London ride, you can help a fellow rider on a hill by letting them follow your back wheel! You'll find you have different strengths on the road, but charity rides start together and finish together, so helping out a fellow rider is all part of the experience.

Tip #6 food and drink - our ride was catered by the team from Cycle Friendly. The food was amazing - almost too good, you had to remind yourself you'd be cycling again in a minute and not to stuff your face too much.

Whilst out on the road, a simple nutrition plan is to drink plenty of water, sip on an electrolyte drink, eat carbs and salt. In the evening, aid your recovery with protein and top up the tank for your next day's ride with some carbs. Obviously, there's no one-size-fits-all nutrition for these events, so find out what works for you on your training rides.

So, those are our top tips for riding a supported charity ride - but of course, there's a whole other side of training that you have to go through on charity events - and that's fundraising.

We are so pleased to announce the TechBikers Room to Read fundraising from this year currently stands at over £65,000! And we're hoping to keep that number going up.

A little more about Room to Read:

Room to Read

We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.

To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education.  We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

We want to help raise as much money as possible for this incredible cause - that's why, until the end of October, £10 from every cycling jersey sold in the Tribesports shop will be donated to Room to Read.

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    Comments

    20150514011901-babygirl93086

    Wonderful read and congrats to all who participate. Way to go on raising so much!!! :)))

    Kevin G and Alex D encouraged this.

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    Inspirational - well done to all!!

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    Great reason for a ride, well done everyone, and great tips, thanks.

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