The clock doesn’t stop during Paris-Brest-Paris …1,230km of mind games and pedaling … will it make you or break you? Light for Flight, Bryn and Gear it, Mechanical Mayhem and Ankle Rankles … here’s the DL from our Toursome Foursome!


For anyone who is unaware, Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) is the oldest bike race in the world still running. It is 1.230km long, from Paris to Brest and back. You must finish with 90 hours and the clock never stops … are you ready?

Gautam Thakkar (GT) started on his birhday and, to everyone’s surprise, his names was up on the big screen at the start and the compere got the other riders and spectators to sing Happy Birthday to him … what a nice moment… Bon Anniversaire!

GT wanted a decent time and, with good weather forecast, removed his mudguards and dispensed with precautionary clothing and accessories that looked unlikely to be needed, lightening the load. It paid off, our first finisher in around 76 hours.

Bryn Evans is one of those super humans who did the whole thing on a fixed wheel, as well as riding from London to Paris and back … Chapeau, incroyable! No, we’ve no idea how he does it either … even more annoying when he is always peasant and smiling whilst the rest of us are suffering … but that’s why we love him!

Dave Morrison’s bike was knocked over by someone at the first control in the bike park which messed up his derailleur. In a convoluted story, the short version is that he had to ride a lot of the journey with restricted gearing and, eventually, no gears. This resulted in time lost which, in turn, compounded his lack of sleep and he ended up riding slowly and having to keep sleeping on the roadside to be safe. As he’ll tell you, bloody motorists assume that a bike and a body on the pavement is not healthy (Ed: it isn’t actually!) and some of them stop to see if you are OK, therby waking you up ….grrrr!

Jas Gill got around 1,000km of the way before a swollen ankle meant he had to stop. He saw the doctor at the control, and was told to stop (Ed: Is there a doctor in the world that doesn’t stop you doing things?). Terribly frustrating and to have got so far must have felt pretty rotten, but as Jas says … ‘it’s unfinished business’ … roll on 2027.

It is difficult to convey to anyone wh has never done rides like this, just what it is like. It involves night riding with very short breaks. Riders must get their Brevet Card stamped at every control to prove they did it….. It is gruelling

The controls along the way are mainly schools with canteens that uphold the tradition of school dinners by overcharging for attrocious food (Ed: Yes, even in France) and €10 allows you a short sleep on a camp bed in a gymnasium surrouded by smelly cyclists snoring and farting …. In decent weather the roadside really is preferable.

As the lack of sleep takes hold, rationality in decison making declines. Nutrition is vitally important. Not enough and you’ll bonk, the wrong mix and you’ll get a dodgy stomach.

If you are wondering why anyone actually puts themselves through this, the answer is that the locals in Bretagne and Normandie are absolutel amazing. They cheer and clap throughout the route, including duringthe night. Many set up stalls outside their houses and give you free coffee and water, some even give food (eve at night). On one hill there was a British family serving coffee, Coke, water and pasta from a motorhome … you could donate, but you didn’t have to pay if you didn’t want to. In short, there is an amazing atmosphere and it can also be life changing for riders. It will take you beyond what you thought you knew about yourself both mentally and physically (Ed: Yes it really does).

Oh, and did we mention those bloody motorists? They shout at you, wave their arm out of the window at you and toot their horns at you. However, unlike like Barry Briton, Fillippe Francais shouts; Bravo! Bon Courage! Bon Route! Allez!, He toots a rhythm on his car horn, passes 2m to your side and the arm out of the window has it’s thumb pointing upwars, rather than the traditional ‘letter O shape’ used by British drivers to let you know what type of driver they are.