Le Jour de France started in 2011, since when we’ve taken on some hefty and slightly whimsical one-day (or thereabouts) challenges. In the five years we’ve ridden, we’ve raised over £21,000 for a variety of causes. With apologies for a handful of features that have fallen by the wayside as a result of third party changes such as withdrawal of mapping services, here’s a look back at our efforts.
2011: De la Tour à la Tour
Our first event was London to Paris in 24 hours. We took the Dieppe route, adding in a detour along the Seine to bring the total distance up to 340km (210 miles). We made it with half an hour to spare and raised £6,683 (plus GiftAid) for the Brain and Spine Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, Together For Short Lives, Spinal Research and RNIB.
A half-size version of the legendary Paris-Brest-Paris race, our ride was still a monster at 590km (365 miles). It took us a little over 36 hours to complete, and remains the longest Le Jour de France ride so far. We raised £1,630 (plus GiftAid) for Sport Relief.
2013: L’Hermine de Bretagne
Our first “circular” ride, which actually comprised four circular sections. Setting out from St Malo, we rode for 500km (310 miles) tracing an ermine symbol, as found on the flag of Bretagne. We raised £2,868 (plus GiftAid) for St Mungo’s Broadway and Mind.
A shorter route than normal, but we filled the 24 hours with two ferry crossings, meaning that this circular route between the twinned towns of Petersfield and Barentin was still a challenge. We raised £4,790 (plus GiftAid) for PID UK, Mind and Together For Short Lives.
2015: Le Géant
In a break from tradition, we chased altitude instead of distance by climbing Mont Ventoux as many times as possible and bagging awards from the Club des Cinglés de Mont Ventoux in the process. Seven of us were grilled under the Provençal sun as we chewed on one of cycling’s most notorious challenges. We raised £5,283 for Amnesty UK.