Paris, je t'aime – because I can get off my bike

FundraisersFor James Thompson, the only way to get to Paris is to ride 250 miles on his bike.

James, from Folkestone, his uncle Paul Coward and their friend Will McLean are planning a gruelling three-day bike ride from London to the French capital to raise money for Kent Air Ambulance.

Paul, from Hawkinge, came up with the idea and the trio hope to raise at least £1,000 for the charity.

James, who works in the marketing team at, said: “We thought it was a way to get fit and raise money for a great cause.

“The role the air ambulance performs is vital, and it doesn’t get any funding from the government or the NHS.”

The three will leave Folkestone at 5.30am on Wednesday, June 1 and drive to the Houses of Parliament, from where they will set off on their bikes at 7.30am.

They will be spending about eight bottom-numbing hours on their bikes each day before finishing, fittingly, at the Arc de Triomphe.

Paul’s wife Anita will be following them all the way in a car and carrying a spare bike on the back in case of any mechanical mishaps.

“The worst bit will be when we cross the Channel on the first day, as we will have to have a half-hour rest before cycling another 17-and-a-half miles. And you can’t rest because your legs cramp up,” James explained.

“Apart from that, we won’t be stopping for even 15 minutes at a time.”

The trio have been riding up to 55 miles twice a week and are trying to slim down in preparation for the ride. On the road, they’ll be following a special diet of carbs, carbs and more carbs.

“We’ll be eating a lot of pasta and have stocked up on carbohydrate bars and drinks. It’s really important to keep eating throughout the ride and afterwards,” said James.

“But the weather will make or break this. The land is very flat and open, which is great for cycling, but there are no trees to shelter you. If there is a lot of sun, or wind, or rain, it will kill us.

“We’ll just have to keep smiling and keep pushing. I think it’s going to be awesome.”