Twenty team members from affiliate network Awin will be donning their best lycra and taking to the roads to cycle 180 miles from London to Paris on 3rd September. The aim is to raise £9,000 for mental health charity, Mind. To show support we’ve got behind one of the Awin cyclists, Edward Chaput de Saintonge. We sat down for a chat to find out how he’s feeling about the ride, his top training tips and his cycling must-haves.
- Two litres of water
- Portable speakers to annoy the other cyclists with his music
- GPS device for the handlebars
Q: London to Paris is a long way – 180 miles to be exact. What made you want to sign up?
“When I first heard about it I didn’t quite hear the 24 hour part! I’d done quite a few cycles of varying length before and I think it’s nice to have a goal to work towards.
“My brother used to do a lot of cycling and me and my wife have slowly got into it too. Recently we’ve been on more and more outings so this was the next natural step for me really.”
Q: Do you cycle a lot?
“I try and cycle to and from work, but I’m working from home a lot these days and it’s only a 5 mile round trip to the office anyway. This weekend just gone I cycled with my wife to France – we covered 110 miles in two days. Part of the cycling route when we got to France was full of small boulders so I had to get off and push the bike for fear of puncture.
“Also I did slightly lie on my rider profile card, I haven’t actually done the 100 mile Windsor to Bath ride yet. It’s coming up in a couple of weeks.”
Q: Tell us more about that…
“I’m planning on catching the train to Windsor early on Friday morning so I can skip out London. Then I’ll be cycling via Burton on Avon ready for a friend’s wedding on the Saturday.
“I’ve heard the Kennet and Avon canal pathway has recently been redone which means it’ll be super flat which is good. The best case scenario is that I’ll arrive at the wedding on Saturday and still be able to sit down.”
Q: How long are you expecting that to take?
“I reckon I’ll be averaging about 10 mph so that’s probably going to be about 10 hours cycling. Including toilet, tea and cigarette breaks I just hope I arrive before it gets dark and the wolves come out.”
Q: With just over a month until the ride it sounds like your training is going pretty well then?
“It’s going really well. Obviously I’ve done a few long cycles already and aim to go out for five or six hours at the weekends too. I think I’ll try and go between 80 and 100 miles one weekend in August and just carrying on like that until the ride really. Of course the night before I won’t be cycling but eating loads of food.”
Q: Apart from loading up on food the night before, what’s been your number one training tip to live by so far?
“I mean I don’t have a very scientific approach to training but I think just to go out, have fun and enjoy it. I’ve found it really fun trying to push myself each week and seeing how far I can go.”
Q: We couldn’t help but notice you’re the oldest member of the Awin team. Does this scare you or are you going to use it to your advantage?
“I didn’t realise I was the oldest! They are a young lot so they’ll be racing ahead but I think slow and steady wins the race, definitely.”
Q: That’s something we can get behind. Speaking of your Awin team members, do you prefer cycling alone or in a team?
“I only really ever go cycling with my wife, but I also did London to Brighton last year which was three of us from work. That was really fun. I do enjoy cycling alone though as you’re able to go at your own pace.”
Q: Is there any competition in the Awin office?
“I’d say it’s definitely more camaraderie than competition at the moment. We all know we’re in for a challenge so it’s much more about supporting each other really.
“We’ve got a group chat going where people will post if they’re going for a cycle that weekend to see if any of the other guys want to go out with them. Fortunately we’re all familiar with where each other lives around London so it’s been relatively easy to meet up for training rides at weekends.”
Q: What do you think is going to be the most challenging aspect of the ride for you?
“It’s definitely going to be a combination of factors! I think the first leg of the ride in the UK is going to be hard – it’s really hilly down to Newhaven and there’s not a lot of time to get there before the ferry leaves so I think that will be the toughest part.
“I also think the sore bum from sitting on a saddle for such a long time is going to be hard too. Luckily I have some bib shorts which have a padded undercarriage and straps to keep the shorts hoisted up… sort of like a 1920s strong man outfit.”
Q: Strapping! How are you going to celebrate crossing the finish line when you arrive in Paris?
“After finishing our lap of L’arc de Triomphe and cycling back to our hotel we’re going out for a nice team meal to celebrate. I’m pretty sure a lot of us are going to have our heads in our food dying to get some sleep.
“Apart from that I think my number one celebration is going to be having a shower. Or even having a beer, then a shower, then another beer. And then food and sleep of course. I’m also going to enjoy just sitting down on something nice and comfy.”
Q: You’ll have to get a lot of rest and relaxation in before the Awin black tie event later on in the week too…
“The ride finishes on Tuesday 4th September and this year’s Awin ball is two days later on the Thursday. Luckily I’ve taken the Wednesday off work, but it’s certainly likely that I’ll be spending the majority of the evening sitting down instead of on the dancefloor this time round.”
Q: You’re raising funds for mental health charity, Mind. How do you feel about working with a charity like Mind?
“Mind is our company charity so it’s really great to be raising money for such an important cause. There’s definitely much more awareness around the topic of mental health these days which is great. Hopefully we can reach our target of £9,000!”
Q: We’re sure you’re going to smash it! Last but not least, how are you feeling about donning your best lycra and having Savoo’s logo tattooed on you?
“Let’s face it, cycling gear is phenomenally bad. But I have been wearing it for some of my longer rides already and it’s super light so I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got some Awin cycling jerseys to wear on the day too so that’ll be nice.
“I’ve also got my padded cycling shorts of course but I’ll definitely be wearing some looser fitting ones over the top so I’m not budgie smuggling the whole way. I’m excited to have Savoo’s logo tattooed on me – let’s chuck some stickers on my helmet too if you have any!”
Good luck to the Awin team from everybody at Savoo! Find out more information about the bike ride and the other brave Awin cyclists over on the Awin website. Until the big day, you can follow the team’s progress using the #affiliatelondon2paris hashtag on Twitter.