The Elmgreen School 2017

Finn Allott and Samuel Crosbie

London to Paris bike ride

In July 2017 an assembly offering an opportunity for young people was presented at our school. A chance for an adventure! Discussing what we could do to challenge ourselves we conceived an idea.  We wanted to test our mental ability, our persistence and our physical abilities by cycling from London to Paris. We began our preparation with no idea where to start, neither of us having much experience in cycling, but we knew we had to start somewhere, creating a training programme to help get us get into shape and finding the route that would take us to Paris. There was a plethora of questions to answer: about where we would stay on the route, how we would return and what we would eat. Spending a lot of time in the weeks before the trip distributing our grant to cover all areas, we tried not to cut corners and keep our costs low. After successfully booking accommodation and travel, we had 2 intense weeks to get as fit as possible.

Finally, the big day arrived! Waking up early we set off on the first leg of the adventure to Newhaven, in the south of England. Cycling a tough 65 miles that day, the sight of Newhaven was truly rewarding. But the real adventure seemed to begin after the ferry ride setting our feet on French soil. Adjusting to riding on the other side of the road was a confusing challenge but soon felt natural. Riding the beautiful Avenue Verte, we were lucky enough to experience miles of greenways- Cycle routes weaving through the French countryside. Over the next 5 days we explored Northern France on our bikes adventuring through the rustic Chantilly, the bustling town of Beauvais or the humble village of Forges Les Eaux. Working on a tight budget was an interesting challenge but we made it work saving at every possible occasion and preparing our lunch every day. We saw many brilliant things but a few highlights were the old French castles, the wildlife and the beautiful countryside. Gradually the green turned to grey. We weaved our way into Paris riding alongside the river Seine.

We found Paris exhilarating: the speeding cars contrasting to the quiet country roads. After 6 fantastic days of hard work, tough navigation and ridiculous jokes we came to Notre dame. We felt a huge sense of achievement knowing that we had made it by ourselves. Grinning, we cycled to Gare du Nord, dropped off the bikes and headed back to the hotel for a long night’s sleep. This entire adventure was made possible with the brilliant help of the Mark Evison Foundation. We genuinely believe it gives young people the opportunity to do rare and valuable adventures that they will remember. We wanted to give back and raised¬†334 pounds to make it possible for other people have an adventure as we did. We grew as people and we were given a fantastic chance to get a taste of the outside world.

Thank you so much.
Finn and Sam.”