Suitable bike for london to paris cycle challenge


New Member
May 17, 2016
Hello...i hope someone can help. I am a novice and I've just recently signed up to a London to Paris bike ride in September...something i've wanted to do for many years now as a fundraising challenge. My training has been ok but could be better. When filling out my registration form for the event i gave details of my bike, health and fitness etc as was requested. A few days after submitting my registration form i received a call from the organisers (European Cycling Tours), the gentleman was very friendly and we had a lengthy chat about how my training was going at the moment and he discussed targets regarding my training i should be looking to achieve in the following months leading up to the ride - he even offered to forward a training plan for me, but the thing that he was most concerned with was the make and model of my bike that i was planning to use. It is a rather old bike which i have used for almost everything over the last few years from popping down the shops to riding at the weekends with friends and family. The gentleman explained that i should really look to upgrade to a bike more appropriate to long distance riding and that is a little lighter than my current bike. He pointed out that many riders who sign up for these type of events will likely have reasonably nice aluminium/carbon fibre bikes with gears suited to riding over long distances and up lots of hills. He did say to perhaps visit my nearest 'Bike Hut' by Halfords as they offer good bikes and the staff 'should' help me with my sizing and set up. Not knowing anyone who is really that 'ua fait' with this sort of thing i really would be grateful for any advice on this matter.
Many thanks
FWIW ...

If you are not currently riding a bike with DROP handlebars, then you probably do not want to ride one on your charity ride ...

So, if you are 5'3"-or-taller, then a "Hybrid" with a rigid fork & 700c wheels will probably suit you well ...

I believe that most bicycle touring companies provide Hybrid bikes for their "clients" to use ...
If you are shorter than 5'0", then a bike with 650b wheels may be better ....

And, if your height is in the middle of that range, then you will need to flip-a-coin to decide which size wheel makes the most sense to you with MY suggestion being the larger, 700c wheel.

Presuming that it is still available, try to take advantage of the ride-to-work 'rebate' and buy a bike that is whose components are perhaps a little nicer than you think you need ...

Hopefully, you will be using the bike after your charity ride ...​

I recommend that you choose a bike which has SHIMANO components ...

While SRAM components are certainly "okay"; their components are not compatible with 90% of what is available (i.e., Shimano) .

Shimano has gone out of their way, IMO, to ensure that there is some compatibility between most of their new components and their older component lines ... that's a good thing if you ever need a replacement part or simply want to make a minor upgrade.
If available, a bike with Shimano LX-or-SLX would hopefully be worth the difference in cost over a bike with Shimano ACERA-or-lesser components .... but, you can replace parts later on an as-needed basis ...

The ACERA-and-lesser derailleurs have more steel-instead-of-alloy bits and so can easily rust if neglected ... but, they will generally work as well as the more expensive Shimano derailleurs as long as you keep it them lubed/greased & otherwise dry. Their real penalty is greater weight (a few ounces here and a few ounces there do eventually add up to a sizeable amount) ...

Do NOT buy a bike with Shimano TOURNEY-or-equivalent derailleurs.​

I've been keen on the JAMIS CODA line of bikes ever since they were introduced and so that is what I recommend you use as a reference for comparison OR actually buy ... they are (now) available at EVANS CYCLES in the UK (to name one place) ... the base model has a steel frame (which is what I would prefer to choose & use AND change the components to slightly better components when it suited my sensibilities) and the more expensive models have have aluminum frames ... maybe, there is one with a CF frame, now!?!

The base ("Sport") Jamis Coda bike is currently listed at £315 at Evans (10% off).​

In the States, July 1st marks the beginning of the new model year (e.g., 2017) even if the bikes aren't actually available ... so, any available 2016 bikes would be considered to be NOS and should-but-may-not sell for only about 75% +/- of MSRP, IMO. Since that's only six weeks away, I would probably try to wait to see how the bike is priced in July OR ask if there is a 60 day price guarantee so that if you buy ANY bike now that if it costs less in July that you would receive the difference.
I have a Dawes Mohave bicycle. It has lots of gears but is not the most aerodynamic bike by any means and it is quite heavy. I think the gentleman at the company was concerned the bike is not designed for long distance touring and i would find the already demanding itinerary unnecessarily more of a challenge than it already is and i'm concerned that i don't want to be the one holding up everybody - i feel a little pressured now to seek another bike that will help me complete the challenge, which isn't actually a problem i'm quite happy to buy another bike as i will like to continue riding a lot more after the challenge - i just don't know which sort. When you look at their website all the bikes in the pictures look really amazing like the ones in races. The gentleman at the company suggested 'Bike Hut' at Halfords - i like this idea as i have no knowledge of bike jargon and i think going to a shop will be my preference then ordering something 'online' - does anyone think Bike Hut is a good place to go or is there somewhere else i should try?
Since it's your first time, I highly suggest that you just simply have fun on your first ride, and not making a big deal out of equipment, price, etc. Let's face it, you won't be able to hold your ground to those who actually train for these things for months or even years, so this first race is basically your chance to gain experience and not get worried about the aspects of marathons for future races. As of now, just get what you can, and ride! Enjoy it!
So after taking in all your wonderful advice i went to my local bike shop and had a look around and chat...I discussed what i was planning to do and they were very helpful. They even 'sized' me when i was there and recommended some lovely bikes for me to look at. As i'm planning to use the bike for lots of things other than riding to Paris on in September with European Cycling Tours like riding with family and around the town i really like the look of a 'sports hybrid' bike by the makers Giant. I contacted European Cycling Tours and told them i'd been to my local bike shop and how helpful they were with sizing ect and that i'd seen a bike i really like that came recommended by the bike shop. The gentleman at European Cycling Tours was very enthusiastic and delighted by the choice saying that a 'sports hybrid' bike is an excellent choice particularly as a utility bike for all sorts of different types of riding and that it would be absolutely fine to ride on their challenge to Paris on in September...i'm now the proud owner of a Giant Escape 1 and i got a deal on some innertubes and tyre changing tools, a new helmet and gloves...the bike shop were brilliant!
I'd like to say a big thankyou to everyone who replied to my post and i'll let you all know how i got on :) Lucy x
A quick update to everyone :-D
The big day came and with some trepidation I and a dozen or so other riders set off for Paris. My new Giant Escape bike was absolutely brilliant and i soon found i was keeping up ok with the group (which was brilliantly managed by our amazing cycle leader Jason at European Cycling Tours and once my confidence was up there was no stopping me. The gears i had worked really well and i was able to keep up with the boys most of the time on their super duper bikes and not having dropped handlebars made little if any consequence to my riding experience over the trip. Three days later we arrived in the Champs Elysee and the buzz was like nothing else i've ever experienced... it was absolutely brilliant!! I think i'm hooked! Now to sign up to another trip - especially with European Cycling Tours ...they were so brilliant! - so well organised and the leadership and support was amazing and i think there were a few on the trip that probably wouldn't have completed the whole tour if it wasn't for their amazing support, motivation and guidance...highly recommended!
Thankyou again everyone for your help in my search for a bike and i'm so glad i took the advice to talk to a local bike shop who were also brilliant who helped me finally find the bike that helped me achieve my dream.
I can't thank you all enough x

Thanks for the update ...

Glad to hear that a Flat Bar bike was the right bike for you.