Ridgewood man Nigel Woods has set out on a cycling trip which will take him from London to Paris – and through Uckfield’s twin town Arques-la-Bataille.
His route started at the London Eye and brought him back through Sussex to Newhaven and onto an overnight ferry to Dieppe.
From there he will journey through the French departments, or counties, of Eure, Oise, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines, Seine-Maritime – home county of Arques, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis, finishing at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
He was interested to see that visitors from Arque came to Uckfield to see their town’s name on new welcome signs just before his trip.
Nigel will be joined by other cyclists who will complete parts of the journey with him. “We should arrive in Poissy on the outskirts of Paris on Saturday evening, before making the final ride into Paris on Sunday morning,” he said.
They will be following the 450km, 280 mile, Avenue Verte cycle route being built between London and Paris along disused train routes.
Nigel, 56, who runs his own business Woods Properties, says he spends most of his time in an office working at a PC so likes to motivate himself with challenges to keep fit.
His two children, Lauren and Freya, used to attend Little Horsted Primary School and he helped organise its 10k fund-raising run each year. That sparked an interest in running and he took part in many local fun runs.
When his children left the primary school he took on other challenges which have included:
- Obtaining black belt in Kick Boxing (this took a few years)
- Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the three highest peaks in the UK – England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours
- Three Yorkshire Peaks – Climbing the three highest peaks in Yorkshire within 12 hours non stop
- Cycling the Thames Path from Pangbourne to The Thames Barrier
- Canoeing from Westminster to the Thames Barrier and back in a day
Nigel has been in training for the London to Paris challenge, with other Uckfield cyclists, on Saturdays and Sundays, and latterly during the week, since January.
Training trips have taken in the Llama Park, Westerham, Pevensey, Bexhill, and Havant in Hampshire.
Nigel has lived in Uckfield for 25 years. He is married to Debbie and their children attend Uckfield Community Technology College.
Nigel said: “Lauren and Freya are both active dancers and always seem to be achieving in some competition or other so it is good that they see ‘the old man’ can compete on his own terms.”