Paris2Nice Cycle

Paris2Nice 2015

Best of luck to the Fighting Blindness team taking on the annual 700km cycle from Paris to Nice from September 18 to 24. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team to date. Hopefully all of the training and fundraising will be rewarded with some sunshine in France! To find out more about the cycle, please contact Tony on 01 678 9004 or tony.ward@fighitngblindness.ie.

The cycle is designed with all abilities and ages in mind, for more information see www.paris2nice.com.

Paris2Nice 2014

Our amazing Paris2Nice team raised a phenomenal €54,109 from their 700km cycle in September 2014! Thank you so much again to everyone who took part in the week long eAvent. We know you all spent months training and fundraising and really do appreciate the huge effort and dedication that went into Paris2Nice 2014, well done everyone!

Image of Paris to Nice cheque presentation

The 2014 team included some of the team that took on the challenge in 2013, some new recruits and we were delighted to have three tandem teams taking part also! This, in particular, is very exciting as one of our core principles is to empower people affected by sight loss so to have three visually impaired participants on this 680km challenge is fantastic.

Thank you once again to everyone who took on the challenge this year; Maria Supple, Ronan Holahan, Tony Ward, Aisling Tohill, Audrey Jones, Paul Mahon, Aine Lennon, Helen McClelland, Peter Ryan, Fiona Royce and Kenneth Edmondson,

Click here o support Team Fighting Blindness

If you would like more information please contact Tony Ward or Audrey Jones on 01 6789 004, tony.ward@fightingblindness.ie or audrey.jones@fightingblindness.ie.

Image of Paris to Nice participants 2014

Paris 2 Nice Route

Paris2Nice 2014 took place from Saturday, September 20 to Thursday, September 25. The infamous and challenging route covers nearly 700km from Paris to Nice, taking in some of the most spectacular sights of France along the way. The challenge took six days and was not a race but a fun journey by a group of people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of cycling.

Day 1: Paris to Montargis – 130km

Cycle out of Paris along a dedicated cycle route cycling through small villages. The destination is Montargis, nicknamed the “Venice of Gatinais” owing to its 131 bridges.

Day 2: Montargis to Bourges – 135km

The cycle goes straight to the Loire valley, a UNESCO world heritage location. The destination is Bourges, a very beautiful city with half-timbered houses on old streets.

Day 3: Bourges to Vaison La Romaine – 60km

Transfer by bus in the morning from Bourges to Montelimar then cycle to Vaison in the heart of the Rhone valley. The landscape is more rolling, which affords some great vistas of the surrounding countryside.

Day 4: Vaison-la-Romaine to Aix-en-provence – 120km

The route will pass Chateneuf-du-Pape and some of Frances most famous vineyards. As the terrain will be hilly this will be a challenging day. For more experienced cyclists an option will be available to conquer the 25km ascent of Mont Ventoux, the peak of which is 1,900m above sea level.

Day 5: Aix-en-Provence to Draguignan – 120km

Spectacular scenery will guide cyclists through the Aix region, leading to the Roman city of Draguignan.

Day 6: Draguigan to Nice – 110km

The final day leads to the Mediterranean, passing through Antibes  and Cannes, following the sea to the beautiful city of Nice. There is a final celebratory reception and dinner in Nice.

Day 7: Relax and feel proud for completing the challenge!

For more information about Paris2Nice 2014, go to www.paris2nice.com.

Paris2Nice 2013 was a huge success for Fighting Blindness!

Image of Fighting Blindness cyclists with Stephen Roche

Team Fighting Blindness – Ronan Holahan, John Burrows, Maria Supple, Tony Ward and Paddy Holahan – with cycling legend Stephen Roche (second from right)

Fighting Blindness, along with nine other charities, took part in the 2013 Paris2Nice cycle, which raised a total of €580,000 for charities.

In 2013, five cyclists took part in this amazing event as part of Team Fighting Blindness; Ronan Holahan, Paddy Holahan, Maria Supple, Tony Ward and John Burrows. We are sincerely grateful to our participants for all the hard work they have put into this event, both training and fundraising, and in the cycle from Paris to Nice!

In the piece below, Tony Ward gives his reflections on the Paris2Nice experience and explains why he would encourage others to sign up for next years event.

2013 was the third year of the Paris2Nice event. This was the first year it was open to multiple charities and 71 people took part on the 700km journey from September 28 to October 3, 2013.

It was an amazing experience! Fighting Blindness had a team of five cyclists taking part, including my tandem pilot. We were one of two tandems taking part, the other being from a Norwegian Special Olympics team.

There were people from all backgrounds, and of all ages (and sizes!). Honestly, not everyone had a background in sport or fitness and many had taken up the challenge by signing up earlier in 2013 and had to really get stuck in. There were people from their early 20s to 60s but the one thing everyone had in common was that they had a challenge, or cause, that they felt very passionately about and nothing was going to stand in their way.

It was fantastic to get to know people over the course of the week and to learn more about them, why and how they got involved and what they hoped to achieve.

Starting in ‘down-town’ Paris, the route was very varied and scenic and often stuck to secondary roads or cycle routes and, for the most part, traffic was not an issue. It was tricky getting out of Paris, but even on the tandem, we made it fairly comfortably.

Each day we did approximately 120km with mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks for snacks and a mid-day break for lunch. No part of the cycle was longer than about 40km and the stops were very well planned.

The weather was mostly very good to us with the exception of Day 2 when a downpour stopped us in our tracks! Fortunately, my group took shelter under what turned out to be the rear of a café, and the proprietor, taking pity on us, very kindly and unexpectedly emerged with 10 cups of coffee! We did pay of course and indeed complimented the coffee with some croissants!

After the first couple of days, bodies were starting to get a bit tired, but also sort of getting used to the cycling effort so, for me at least, it strangely got more challenging and slightly easier at the same time!

The highlight on Day 4, for around one third of the group, was the challenge of cycling up Ventoux, a 1,600m high, 22km long climb. This was quite a challenge, not only going up, but coming down as well! Everyone who took it on was successful. After careful deliberation (and consultation) we decided not to do it on the tandem. We were confident we could make it up, effort-wise, but were concerned that if we had to stop for any reason we would not have been able to get started again and, also, the descent was very daunting, so maybe some other time!

On Day 6, our final day, we made our way towards our final destination, Nice. The 1987 Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche, joined the group for the final day and that gave everyone a huge boost. Stephen agreed to pilot my tandem for a 15km stretch so that was a great experience, we tore off leaving everyone in our wake! John, my pilot, was also extremely pleased as he got to ride Stephen’s bike – I pleaded with him not to crash it and thankfully he did not!

Having been initially coerced into doing the cycle, I could not have imagined how much fun it would all be and even before we embarked, I would not have thought I might want to do it again!

It was the most fantastic experience and the most fabulous week and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in cycling, interested in taking on a challenge or interested in supporting Fighting Blindness.