Liberté, Gratuité, Fraternité : our slogan reminds us of another. The Classics Challenge is not pretending to be as important as the French Declaration of Human Rights, but it does hope to inspire its participants to enjoy the spirit of a free ride on the open road.
Outside is really free
At first glance the idea is quite simple: each month hundreds of cyclists – male and female – pedal off from Paris to a city 150 km to 220 km away and then return by train.
The first four Challenges brought the riders to Rouen, climbing the famous pass Côte Anquetil, Evreux, Nemours, and all the way to Trouville for a grand arrival at the Normandy seaside amongst sunbathing vacationers.
The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive: good times with good people all the while pedaling on some of France’s most beautiful back roads. With the help of Strava, each route is meticulously studied and traced. Unlike regular training rides, the Classics Challenge emphasizes the quality of the journey and the destination. We encourage you to go to our Strava club and read the testimonies.
All levels are welcome
Joining the community is easy. Just go to our site. Once you are a member, you will then receive an email with all the necessary information about the next ride along with the Strava route. Sign up for the ride and that’s it! And it’s free!
When you sign up, please indicate in which speed/pace group you would like to ride. Just like in running racing, the Classics Challenge has a staggered departure. The fastest riders roll at more than 35 km/h and the slowest group averages 20 km/h. While the lead pelotons are riding flat out, the slower riders can enjoy a more leisurely pace, take photos, stop in a cafe for coffee (or beer), chat with their riding mates, make connections and meet again at the next Challenge.
No marks on the road to follow, just upload the route from Strava, ride and save your activity.
The Classics Challenge is hard to define because although it is not a real race, it is not a touring ride. Some join for the performance aspect, others for the beauty of the landscapes. Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it.
The Classics Challenge opens the way for a new kind of cycling event with the emphasis on maximizing freedom. For those who cannot participate on the official day of the ride, each Challenge can be completed any day within the season. We ride together on Saturdays so your Sundays stay free (no excuse for missing lunch with your in-laws) and to facilitate returning to work on Monday morning.
Our routes have one thing in common: They all leave from Paris. The first route that marks the beginning of the Classics rides was from Paris to Rouen, completed in 1869. The winner of that race was James Moore. It took him more than 11 hours to ride 150 kilometers. By today’s standards, that isn’t anything to brag about but keep in mind that the condition of the roads has much improved and our bikes are nearly three times lighter.
During the next 150 years, Paris was the point of departure for numerous rides, at least 100, not to mention the Tour de France – born in 1903. Some of these rides rose to mythic status, most notably Paris-Roubaix. Others have become nearly forgotten and just the legend remains, like a sleeping princess that we just needed to awaken.
As cyclists, we had inherited this history from all the generations that have come before us. To retrace these Classic Challenges is to prolong this historical thread and to pay homage without nostalgia, using all of the modern technologies of day.
The magic of the roads
One of the essential aspects of the Classics Challenge rests in the quality of the course that brings its participants to the north, south, east and west of Paris. The itineraries are posted a few days before the ride and are made up exclusively of back roads that offer light traffic and a great variety of landscapes chosen for their beauty as well as the charm of the towns and villages that dot them. Fields, forests, hills, plains, rivers and even the sea!
The quality of the courses is the fruit of much cartographic labor, surveying and verifying – which is of course done by bike. We give particular attention to the beginning of each ride to ensure a smooth departure from Paris, avoiding dangerous streets and providing an opportunity to dispel the negative clichés often associated with the “banlieue.” Every Challenge allows the discovery of urban development, architecture and a wide variety of natural spaces.
Still not convinced? Ask Parisian cyclists about leaving the capital and you will hear that it is the worst part of any ride: lights, traffic, danger, and air pollution. Now ask the same question to Classic Challenge riders and they will tell you that leaving Paris is almost a pleasure, a nightmare transformed into a dream. We will make you believe that we are magicians.
Already more than 1000 members
Launched in April 2017, the community has grown to more than one thousand members, and this is only the beginning.
The Classic Challenge has another ambition to connect with cyclists from around the world who are passing through Paris. The itineraries are shared openly and Classic Challenges encourage both locals and visitors to take their cycling passion and wanderlust to the streets and to visit all corners of France riding high on the most noble machine ever created by man.
Bike rent in Paris:
KM0 / 20 rue des Acacias – 75017 Paris