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2019 Testimonials 

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Emer O'Shaughnessy & Andrew Ward

2023

Emer:


When I first heard of the Paris to Nice cycle I thought people were mad! But having done a bit of cycling it felt like a challenge that would give me a sense of purpose and achievement so I floated the idea with my husband Andrew and we signed up.


I was fairly nervous on my way to the first organised cycle in March (and freezing!) but it was a short spin to Enniskerry, a lovely coffee break chatting with friendly, new people, and a spin home. What I was most skeptical of were all the alumni on the training spins that kept telling us newbies how amazing P2N is and how we were going to love it. It was either a strange cycling cult or maybe it was going to be an amazing experience of a lifetime as so many people suggested……. And as you’ve probably guessed it’s the latter.


The reality is all you have to do is pick your charity, show up and pedal! Vivienne, the alumni trainers and Cycling Safaris do everything else. There’s plenty of time to get fit and cycling with other people makes it easier than training alone. And you’ll be amazed by how generous people are to donate to your chosen charity when you tell them you’re cycling 750km from Paris to Nice.

 

So if you are thinking about doing P2N but wondering if you’ll be able for it, just go for it – you will be so proud of your achievement and will have such fun along the way with a bunch of great people. My advice - do the training spins, pack your bag and have a ball!

Andrew:


What really made this trip special was the people. The Paris to Nice people/community are made up of incredibility kind, knowledgeable people who are passionate and committed about raising money for their charities while training hard to ensure they complete the 6-day trip.

 

From the first time I arrived at The Goat Pub I was greeted warmly by Vivienne and the other members of the team.
I was impressed with the level of detail and organisation that goes into the planning of the trip and how quickly the training starts which is a great introduction to the other members of the group.

 

The guides for each group are friendly and attentive and I appreciate it can vary with each group, the group Emer & I were in was a lot of fun.


I will cherish the memories and friendships we’ve made and definitely recommend if given the opportunity to cycle Paris to Nice.

Emer & Andrew, P2N 2023

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Jacqueline Fennell-Hall

2023

The thought of participating in Paris2Nice was lodged firmly in my mind after meeting some alumni in 2022. What convinced me was their universal enthusiasm for the event,  their stories of the various cycles over the previous years, their camaraderie as well as their amazing fitness.

 

I bit the bullet, turned up to the information evening in mid-January 2023 and signed up on the spot. You don’t have to participate with a tribe of others, or with a friend – it is the most welcoming and accepting group of people. The information evening was the first indication of the high level of organisation you experience from the beginning, as well as the very practical and encouraging advice on both fundraising for a chosen charity, and getting to the required level of fitness before the event. 

 

Initially, I thought I had just signed up to an event which would take place in eight months time. However, once the training starts in March, it is like a six-month journey, starting from a 30-km radius of home. We started in the Dublin hinterland in March, when the daffodils were lining the roads, and did our last training session as the harvest started. I have never felt fitter, or better, in my life. The trainers, all alumni, are amazing.

 

My chosen charity was Spinal Injuries Ireland, who were very supportive. Through Vivienne’s efficient assistance, the online fundraising page was a great platform for launching the sponsorship campaign. Through holding one event, as well as a  half-day bag-packing at Cornelscourt, and reaching out to friends and family, I raised €8,500. I was deeply touched by the generosity and support of people, including many of the alumni and other 2023 participants. During the cycle, if there were any few challenging moments, they quickly evaporated when I remembered that I was doing it for a really important cause, and that people had sponsored me to do that.

 

When you arrive at Dublin airport to travel to the event, you are so ready. The experience of cycling out of Paris, by the Seine,  early on a Saturday morning, is one I will never forget. There are so many other highlights, the laughs and the great conversations on the road, and especially the view of the Mediterranean from the top of a hill on Day 5, and the beautiful descent into St Maxime . When we arrived in Nice, I wanted to keep on cycling ! However, the main highlight for me was the amazing people I met – people who experienced the direct loss of  loved ones, who were cycling in memory and honour of them, and to raise funds for various charities;  the people who supported my fundraising events, including the bag packing at Cornelscourt; and the amazing P2N team of Vivienne, the trainers, the alumni and all of the P2N participants.

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Gerard O'Donoghue

2023

'Well she said, we hit significant birthdays this year and I would like to mark mine by doing something special'. And that is how I ended up cycling the 750kms from Paris to Nice over a very hot six days in Sept 2023! A compliant, co-operative husband you may think and you think correctly when there is cycling involved!

Cynthia turned 60 in June with me hitting the big six oh in late Dec and she was keen to mark the occasion by undertaking something really significant. Never one to leave any stones unturned, Cynthia researched lots of projects and in the course of so doing, found one that really piqued her interest. Paris 2 Nice is a charity based in Dublin and is keen to have people participate in an event that is a bicycle ride from, yes, you guessed it, Paris to Nice. The criteria being that you get yourself fit enough to cycle the distance and raise at least EU3,000 for the charity of your choice.

 

The charity I chose was the Irish Cancer Society as they provided the palliative care nurses for my Dad in the latter weeks of his life in Nov 2022, despite him not having cancer. Truly they were brilliant, caring and dignified providing him with the care he deserved. Cynthia chose the Alzheimer Society of Ireland as it is a cause close to her heart as her mother and aunt suffered from the disease and it afflicts both my own mother and aunt.

 

The first meeting was held on Feb 8th at which point we were introduced to the route and things like equipment, eg bikes, shoes, jersey, suitable cold and warm weather clothing, helmets, etc were all covered. We heard from the organisers as well as those who had undertaken the event advising how they had gone from zero to hero with hard work, commitment and no small amount of effort.

 

At this point I suppose I should disclose that I have done oodles of cycling events. I am not going to list them but following a bad knee injury in 1982, I have participated in an annual cycling event, somewhere in the world, some of which lasted one day while the longest I have done lasted a total of twenty-five days. Thus I could be classed as a seasoned veteran. This interested me though as the other events I have done, save for the twenty five day one, involved just me or, on rare occasions, one friend. Plus it was France, home of cycling, fine weather, great roads, great food, great wine and a language that is second to none!

 

Thus after that first meeting and my own expectations, I was enthused.

 

The first training session was arranged for early March. I need to spend time on the training as it is so well organised as to be close to professional. I know nothing about the roads in and around Dubln and Wicklow. I have twice done the Wicklow 200 but how difficult is it to follow an arrow?! The training sessions for the P2N, as I will now call it, are fabulously organised. So much so that even those  of us not from the capital could not get lost (yes, ok, I did once!). Details of same involved a text a few days beforehand advising of the meeting point (over time Frank Keane Motors in Blackrock and The Goat in Goatstown became our meeting points) after which, once all had assembled, we were all split into groups of about 10 maximum, based on perceived and subsequent capabilities. 

 

On that first Sunday morning, I decided I was going to be in Group One (there were about four groups on that first morning) as I was good, right. Well that hurt. A lot! My thoughts that this was going to be a jolly old day out with people who could not really cycle and were probably unfit turned quickly to 'I had better wise up, these guys and gals are bloody good'.

 

Over the weeks, I got better and better and I got introduced to parts of Dublin and Wicklow that I did not know existed most of which were a short spin from the capital. I also got introduced to a hugely friendly bunch who refuse to leave anyone behind. Some days I did not feel great and the pace slowed for me to catch up, other times, it was someone else who did not feel great and we slowed for them. Other days all felt great and we flew along as though propelled by higher powers. Every session and I mean ever session, involved coffee and the craic. I did not know any one save for Cynthia, who was in a different group to me, yet all were great in introducing themselves to me and we all chatted as we rolled along. All of the groups that go out have a leader and where the leader goes and what the leader says, all follow. Thus the chances of chaos are utterly diminished. This was a super system as all form a great bond and ensuring that in a few short weeks one goes from not knowing anyone to ensuring that one looks after one's cycling 'brother and sisters'.

 

The training sessions evolve from Sun mornings, to Sunday morning plus Weds evenings, to Sat mornings plus Sun mornings plus Weds evenings. The evolution is so subtle that you do not even notice it other than to know you are getting fitter and stronger. 

 

Special thanks to the organising of those training sessions go to Paul Diskin, Darren O'Reilly, Conor Quirke, Paddy Holohan, Vivienne Andrews and probably a few others that I have forgotten to mention. Cheekily I would suggest that even if you are not going to undertake P2N, join the training sessions as you will have a wonderful time and meeting some super people.

 

The event itself is beyond description as it is so brilliant but I will try to do it justice. 

 

Bikes are transported in advance of participants departure so that is one less headache. All are now so familiar with the routine, thanks to the training sessions, that the idea of accidentally leaving something behind are nil. The flight to Paris is boarded and the remainder of the day, once in Paris, is left to oneself. 

 

On the first morning breakfast is had, departure photos are taken and we are split into our groups, those group details being disclosed the night before. I was in Group One (I did tell you I got better thanks to the training!) with eight others and our leader was the 73 year old Liam from N. Dublin, no slouch himself. We hugged the Seine and lots of bike paths on the way out of Paris and suddenly we were enjoying riding through a forest to get us through 130kms or so later to Montargis.

 

The next three days took a similar format; up for breakfast while wearing cycling kit, hop on the bike, cycle fora while, stop at an organised snack break, cycle some more, stop at an organised lunch stop, cycle some more, another snack stop, some more kms and then it's the hotel.

 

Day four allows those who have agreed to do so to climb Mont Ventoux from the Bedoin side. This is purely optional as there is the opportunity to take an alternative route around the base but as Mont Ventoux is so iconic lots take the opportunity to climb it. I did! I had done it before in 2014 but from the 'easier' Sault side (there is nothing easy about Mont Ventoux no matter the side from which you climb it). This was a great day and one I would recommend to all but also ensure that you are ready for it as it is a beast.

 

The next two days took the format of the first three and before you know it you are in Nice, drinking Champagne, hugging those with whom you have done it and knowing that the achievement is one that you will never ever forget.

 

For me it was a very personal experience. At all times I had my Dad in my mind, in fact, one of my jersey's referenced him, his date of birth and his date of death (thank you Vivienne). Nightly two people are picked to stand in front of all and talk about why they are doing it. We heard from people who had lost children to cancer, friends and relations to suicide, siblings to diseases and from those raising money to help others enjoy a better life. As mentioned previously, I have been on several cycling events and most end in the same way, dinner, back-slapping and few drinks but this event left a mark on me that is indelible. The stories told by all were fantastic and frankly if I had not cycled a mile but heard these stories night after night, I would be a very happy man. It made me appreciate that people bear crosses that would buckle most of us but they do it with such dignity that it is to be admired.

 

I do not know what you want me to say at the end of this but if you want to participate in a cycling event that involves all the best that a European can offer, pick up any old brochure but if you want something that will give you life-long memories and friends and ensure that no matter how low you go, you know there is someone lower who will lift you from your malaise, get yourself a place on Paris 2 Nice.

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Linda Bell

2023

The Paris2Nice charity cycle is a unique experience and one that far exceeded my expectations. I had spotted the P2N jersey when out cycling and decided to check out the website for more information. I was intrigued and added my name to the waiting list and persuaded two pals to sign up too. To say they laughed at the idea of 750km is an understatement - they had only ever made it to Enniskerry & back! I had done a couple of charity cycles around 150km so I knew it was just a matter of training. Alas, the seed was sown and they both joined the list.

 

When we got confirmation that we were accepted there was no turning back. For 6 months, we joined the weekly cycles and always relished the chats and coffee stops. Looking back the hardest part was getting up to 100km but it happens really quickly, in just 8 weeks. We met a new community, some who had never cycled and some who whizzed by, but each of us with the aim to complete Paris2Nice.  The support and encouragement from the guides was fantastic and we were always reassured that we would be well able for the cycle ahead. They were right because in France, we had no aches or pains whatsoever. 


Over the course of 6 days, we cycled 750km of challenging terrain in 5 groups led by an expert guide. From the streets of Paris, through forests, the Loire valley, vineyards, sunflower fields, small villages, towns & over many mountains, we had the best time ever. The route is perfect with the vast majority along quiet country roads and through national parks. We stayed in some lovely hotels (many with a pool for a great cool down dip) and dined in great french restaurants. On day 5, seeing the aqua Mediterranean in St Maxime was a joyous occasion, with a dip that evening and again the next morning before we set off on the final day to finish and celebrate on the iconic Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

 

It was an amazing life experience and all for a great cause too. Raising money for a charity, uniquely chosen by each of us, was very personal. Supporting each other's charity events was also a fun social way to meet rather than in our usual lycra cycle gear. The fundraising side can seem daunting but people are so supportive. It's not obligatory but having one event is an ideal motivator for people to donate and it can be as simple as a wine & cheese evening. The support from Vivienne was immeasurable and she quickly answers any questions related to fundraising and the cycle itself. In terms of all things bike related, make sure to check in with Tom and Darren for their advice. It's worth it!

 

Now that we are back, we are part of the P2N Alumni and are still going out for cycles. The chats have progressed to what cycle we are doing next year: France, Italy, Croatia or maybe Slovakia. This is a whole new world.

 

My advice is don't hesitate, sign up, get fitter and enjoy this amazing experience! 

Linda Bell

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Emma Quinn & Laura Carroll

2023

Six women, ourselves included, with little or no cycling experience decided, after hearing about P2N through a friend, to take on the challenge and raise funds for our chosen charity the Sarah Jennifer Knott foundation.

We can honestly say after the first training session we had our doubts about being able to complete 750KMs in 6 months time but the trainers - shout out to Darren and Tom my groups trainers- and the P2N alumni - Harriet ,Frieda and Susie in particular provided the support and instilled the confidence to keep us focused.  During the spins we had great chats and most importantly lots and lots of laughs.

We all made sure we showed up for our weekly Sunday training sessions which then went to twice weekly which by the last month ramps up to 3 training sessions a week. The training is superb and makes the 750KMS and the 6 consecutive days in the saddle achievable. 

The excitement and nerves the week of the trip are unreal and when we set off we were all so looking forward to what was ahead.

The first day through Paris was unreal and an incredible way to start off the 6 days and we were off on our way. The heat made the cycles even tougher but we had Vivienne to the rescue with lots of water breaks and even a water mister to spray us down at the snack stops. 

Sancerre was the hardest day and the hottest but when you get to Nevers the cold beers are just delightful as are the chats and the craic.

The days flew by then and before we knew it it was the Mt Ventoux day.  Three of our team decided to take on that extra challenge of the famous Mont Ventoux before continuing the 130 KM hilly cycle. We are immensely proud of them of them taking on this on top of the P2N challenge.

The scenery and the aromas though the French county side are just beautiful and makes the saddle sores seem not so bad. 2 words ..chamois cream …

On the last day cycling from St Maxine to Nice we went through the gorgeous national park which had the most stunning views and then on to the lunch stop beside the sea and a swim. 

We can not say enough about this experience , raising money for our charity, the friendship the laughs the laughs and more laughs. 

We will keep up cycling and have signed up from the Ring of Beara which is a 140 KM cycle around Kerry. 

If you are thinking of doing the Paris 2 Nice challenge DO IT you will not regret it 

 

Laura and Emma x

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Kerry Naughton

2023

I had the privilege of participating in the 2023 Paris to Nice cycle, and I can't express how profoundly impactful this journey has been. Not only did I embark on a breathtaking adventure through the heart of France, but I also witnessed the incredible power of community and compassion in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. Like all brilliant adventures, this started with a whatapp ping from my pal, Linda and before I knew it, three of us had signed up. I went from casual rides with the girls to Enniskerry enjoying the spoils of flat whites (min of 2 per person) and pastries in my runners to cleats, deep domain expertise on cycling shorts and perfoming yoga on a bike!

 

Cycling alongside individuals who were just as committed to raising funds for their charities was inspiring. We shared stories, laughter, and determination and an inordinate amount of time together in fountains and rivers trying to cool down in unusual warm weather for September! 

 

 

Kudos to Vivienne and the team for creating an event that's not just about cycling, but about creating a lasting impact on everyone that embarks on this journey. It was exceptionally well-organized, with a dedicated team ensuring our safety and comfort throughout the ride. But that was just France, prior to our trip we had a dedicated 5-month training program that was supported by incredible mentors. There are too many to mention. But a special shout out to Darren for getting a saw to the saddle post of my bike so I could reach my handlebars !

 

I encourage anyone who loves cycling and the idea of combining adventure with a good laugh to join the Paris to Nice cycle. You'll have a blast, make lasting memories,and,most importantly, support causes closest to your heart. 

 

Heartfelt gratitude to Linda and Gillian for all the LOLs and to everyone that donated to the Alzheimers Society. Forever grateful.

Kerry Naughton

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Ken Dawson-Howe

2023

Paris2Nice is a fantastic experience which I would strongly recommend to everyone.

Having never really cycled seriously, I was glad that the training started in March (initially one day a week, gradually increasing to three days a week).  I went to every training spin that I could as they are really enjoyable.  Over the six months you'll be amazed at the camaraderie which you build with your fellow cyclists, while your cycling ability and stamina grow.  The trainers and the Paris2Nice alumni are brilliant at encouraging everyone.

Fundraising for your chosen charity seems hard initially, but there is huge support (and lots of ideas) in the Paris2Nice community and in the end it is a great feeling to raise so much for deserving causes.  People are very generous if you give them the opportunity!

The trip itself is fantastic and is not that hard once you have done the training - so it becomes a big cycling holiday with 50+ friends!!  The scenery is varied and stunning, and the cycling is easier than the training.  Cycling six days in a row turns out not to be that difficult, and all too soon you find yourself on the last day wishing that the trip was not coming to an end.  You cross the finish line with great elation and a huge sense of accomplishment.

It's not over though, as the friendships you make stay with you and lots of us have been out on cycles together since we returned.

Ken Dawson-Howe

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John Hogan

2023

From the first information evening in The Goat to crossing the finish line in Nice, P2N 2023 was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.  

 

Whilst I only made a few on the Sunday training spins, they were very enjoyable and well organised.

 

The trip itself was out of this world. The cycling is only half of it. The cameraderie, support, fun and emotional journey were like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  If only I could bottle how I felt as we all came up the Promenade des Anglais in the Mediterranean sunshine!  If you’re thinking ‘maybe’ - just do it! You’ll be so delighted you did. 

John Hogan

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Harriet Jellett

2022

The start of the journey happened over Christmas 2021, when Jane and Philip Myerscough and I shook hands and took on the challenge of cycling from Paris2Nice. The challenge was definitely a significant one as I had not owned a bicycle since I was a teenager! Add to that our combined ages at the time of the cycle was going to be 204 yrs and neither Jane or I had ridden a bicycle since our childhoods. The hand shake was a commitment and we did not break our promise to each other!

Step one was the meeting in The Goat and listening to the testimonies of alumni. Then the steps from there are too numerous to mention but include the training…..well, that was tough as every step had to be done. At no time was I on my own though, Darren and Tom were always there, encouraging and giving advice when the mission seemed almost too much.   My lasting memories are of the encouragement of the numerous Alumni that come out to enjoy the ‘craic’. I can’t say I love cycling into a head wind but I learnt to enjoy, perhaps even love the sense of freedom, fitness and excitement that went with the Sunday sessions……followed by the Wednesday evenings.  BLOODY Johnny Fox’s hill - I had no idea there were so many ways up to the same Pub! Every time you go up a hill, it is easier the next time!

The fundraising was a journey that was also filled with exhilaration. I was daunted to think I needed to raise €3,000 but we were so passionate about our choice of Charity that we (as a team of a three) were overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family and contacts. I came to realise that our positivity and passion for those that are born with Downs Syndrome and their need for support through their lives, meant that our enthusiasm was infectious.

The P2N team in HQ are the best. I can only sing their praises and tell you all how much you are appreciated. I, for one, have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I was introduced to P2N and the life enhancing experience it gave me, my team mates and all of those that cycled in 2022. An opportunity not to be missed."

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Claire Comerford

2022

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Paris2Nice. It was truly a marvellous experience, from March, when the official Paris2Nice training started, right up to the finish line on the Promenade in Nice, 6 months later.

I had heard of this cycle event a number of years previously and made a mental note-to-self to aspire to do it one-day! 2022 was the year! I chose BeLongTo to raise funds for. I was a solo fundraiser and was very grateful to raise €5,000 for LGTB Youth in Ireland.

The crew behind the scenes at P2N are just wonderful. Constant communication from Vivienne, so that everyone is informed of the weekly plan to meet up and cycle. Out on the weekly spins it was such a comfort to have Darren and Tom close by if anything was to go wrong, with your equipment or indeed with you. I was blown away with the support from the alumni members during our weekly training spins. Every question was answered, and fear dispelled. And a lot of fun was had on those spins, it’s incredible how quickly you’ll get to know someone when they are coming up behind you on Stocking Lane.

If you have never cycled these kinds of distances before, start getting on a bike as early as you can, build it into your weekly routine. Whether you begin with a few indoor spin classes or you spend some time adjusting to using cleats. Once March rolls by, you’ll be ready to join the Sunday morning road spins and in June, you’ll double down with the added Wednesday evening training, perhaps even a third weekly spin in those long summer evenings. Consistency is key. The more you do, the more you’ll want to do and soon the idea of cycling 750km’s through gorgeous sunny French countryside, in a week, becomes a lot less daunting. You just need to ‘show up’ every week and the rest just happens!

I’ll never forget the morning of our flight. We gathered in the airport café areas. Everyone giddy with excitement, despite the ungodly hour. Frantically calculating if we had packed everything, mentally checking off gear lists. Meeting people we had trained with, who once were strangers, now familiar pals. The anticipation of it all. The tour company, Cycling Safari’s, took very good care of us from the moment we arrived in Paris. We were broken up into groups (those with shiny shoes and those without ) and each group had a guide who helped navigate our way to the end of each day.

The Cycle Itself

Parts of it were tough. Cycling for hours, into a headwind in open fields with no shelter is tough but you keep going and you get to smell the lavender and feel the warm sun on your face. Soon it will be dinner time. And you’ll do it all again tomorrow. Each day is over 100k and over 1,000 meters of hill climbing. But something happens around Day4 where your body now understands the brief a bit better and has eliminated all the lactic build-up, you just power on faster than you thought was possible. Certainly, a hell of a lot easier than when you started out 6 months previously.

My absolute favourite part of the whole trip was the last 3 days approaching the Cote d’Azure, through the city Aix-en-Provence. We saw some stunning countryside and cycled some epic roads, even if one of those days was torrential rain, complete with thunder & lightening, French style. You must remind yourself to take it all in as it all goes by in the flash of an eye. A life affirming experience for me, that’s for sure. I would highly recommend anyone to do it.

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Vanessa Bainbridge

2021

Paris2Nice is one of those great life experiences that you will fondly reminisce over for years, a bit like a J1 summer, only a grown-up version! 

 

What makes it so great is the combination of commitment to a common goal, challenge, making new friends, banter on the training sessions, the build-up and anticipation and the cherry on top, the trip itself - 6 days and 730km cycling from Paris, past the Eiffel Tower, through vineyards and lavender fields, over mountains until finally you reach the aquamarine Cote D’Azur.

 

The trip feels like a journey as you are constantly on the move enjoying amazing scenery and weather.  At times it was tougher than I had expected and I was very glad I had availed of the Paris2Nice training sessions in advance as they really prepared me for France.   I had gradually built up my fitness over 4 months, training twice a week and I picked up lots of tips from the amazingly supportive trainers and Paris2Nice alumni and learnt loads of new routes around Wicklow and greater Dublin.  The trainers get to know you on these sessions and then group you with cyclists of similar ability on the trip which really works.

 

The charity element is also a very important part of the Paris2Nice experience.  I was genuinely blown away and motivated by the unbelievable generosity and support of our friends and family.  We raised well over our target sponsorship and I was hugely proud to hand over our cheque to the Irish Cancer Society.   There is a massive feel-good factor in knowing that our 2021 group of 34 cyclists collectively raised an astounding €260,000 for charity.

 

The sense of achievement when we eventually made it to Nice was absolutely incredible and uplifting and I will be living off the ‘high’ for months.  I also finished physically fitter than I have felt in years. I would highly encourage anyone to accept the Paris2Nice challenge

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Daniel Scully

2021

If you’re thinking about doing this tour, the question that you should really be asking yourself is, why would I not want to do it?

 

P2N 2021 was a total of 34 cyclists, of mixed abilities coupled with an excellent group morale and genuine friendship that will continue long after our tour. 

I had the most remarkable tour with thanks to all behind P2N. Not only was the trip perfect, but as a group we felt, in every instance, that our guides were so experienced and thoroughly briefed and our maintenance crew truly cared about us (and more importantly, our bikes!), the food was excellent, and Vivienne did her very best to make this trip memorable for everyone. 

 

This was the most eye-opening, adventurous, and stunning journey of my life - something that I will remember, draw upon, and cherish for many years to come. We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of our trip: from Cycling through Paris to the vineyards spanning as far as the eye could see, shadowed by the indomitable Mount Ventoux, to medieval castles, the Parc naturel régional des Préalpes d'Azur with winding switchbacks and so much more. 

 

Sounds great? But you have to earn it. Completing your Weekly training sessions are imperative if you want to enjoy it. Sure everyone loves a cycle out around blessington on a lovely summers day, but heading up and around Enniskerry & Sally’s Gap, in hale, wind and rain is now going to be your Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. But it’s worth it. The trainers that will take you out will be urging you on from the moment you sign up, until you unclip on Promenade des Anglais and sharing with you their tips and tricks for climbing, gearing, fuelling yourself properly and managing your breathing. All things that I, as a very new cyclist, desperately needed. 

 

As the old adage goes; Nothing worth doing is easy, but I assure you, this is life changing. Register now and get it done. 

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Mark Grehan

2021

Turning 50, I had wanted to take on a significant physical challenge. When I heard about Paris2Nice I had barely been on a bike in 30 years, but having 8 months to hit the level of fitness required seemed doable.  Add to that, the route - taking us from Paris through the heart of France - and the opportunity to use the event to raise money for a charity of my own choice - and I was sold.

 

The training kicked off in March/April and was pitched perfectly to allow for all levels to get their fitness and stamina up slowly but steadily.  The P2N coaches and veteran volunteers were excellent. (Darren and Tom in particular know exactly what they are doing and if you listen to them - you  can't go wrong). The distance and level of hills increased as we went through the Summer, and it was great to see the confidence for the tougher hill challenges build across the group right up to the end of training in late August. 

 

The trip itself was excellent.  Vivienne and the team from Cycling Safari ensured that all we had to do was focus on cycling.  The guides were excellent, as were the accommodation, meals, transit etc.

Six days cycling through the French countryside tackling steep hills (including taking on Tour de France stage 'Mount Ventoux'), passing through the Loire Valley, riding through numerous vineyards and finishing along the South coast - made all the training worthwhile.

Raising money for my chosen charity (Marie Keating Foundation) was hugely rewarding. Everyone achieved the fundraising target despite Covid making it difficult to hold fundraising events.

 

I'm a massive advocate for Paris2Nice; I'm the fittest I've been in 10 years.  I'll be keeping up the spins through the Winter with many of the 'class of 2021' and entering sportifs around Ireland in 2022.  For anyone half-thinking of taking it on - just go ahead and sign up.  You'll never regret it.

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Orla Dunlea

2021

Paris2Nice was the most incredible adventure and fulfilling experience of 2021 and possibly my life!

 

Maybe it was because we had been locked up due to covid for so long but I loved it so much, even the hill climbing, and was on a high for at least 6 weeks afterwards. 

 

Having a concrete goal, the sense of personal achievement, camaraderie and raising money for a good cause - in my case - The Irish Cancer Society - was so worthwhile and meaningful. 

 

The support from friends, families and strangers was humbling and life-affirming.   As it is a six-day event it far surpasses many other single-day sporting events and truly exceeded my expectations.  

 

I highly recommend the experience - don't hesitate, don't overthink it - identify your charity, get on your bike and sign up now!

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Freida O'Neill

2021

Where do I start…..I have a few girlfriends who took up cycling and were forever telling me how good it was and had asked me if I would join them but to no avail…

 

Then at some point in 2019, I borrowed my friends bike, cycled a few times, liked it and bought myself a bike.

Some weeks later my friend Carol mentioned Paris2Nice and the information evening which I went along to with no great expectations or intentions. Basically the rest is history…..

Training began and fundraising too, Covid happened and the trip in 2020 was cancelled. New Year restrictions were lifted and before I knew it we were finally heading for Paris in September 2021 where we cycled for six glorious days through amazing countryside, vineyards, coastal views, little towns and villages  before arriving into picturesque Nice to the applause of Paris2Nice alumni and family, (my daughter Bobbie Rose in my case).

The Beau Rivage Hotel, so aptly named, was the perfect finish to a perfect week, filled with great stories, fun and laughter with a fantastic group of new friends enjoying the same amazing, inspirational, humbling experience that is Paris2Nice. 

There you have it and for what it’s worth it has been one of the most memorable weeks of my life.

 

Don’t over think it, I didn’t.  Will I do it again? Most definitely Yes!

 

A little piece of advice; listen to Tom, Darren and Brendan our amazing coaches , do your training - the more you put in, the more you get back. 

The entire Paris2Nice team are an amazing bunch who made our trip absolutely seamless.

Thank you gals and guys

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Dan O'Mahony

2019

Paris to Nice (P2N) was one of the best things that I have ever done. I got to raise money for charity, lose weight, cycle from Paris to Nice in beautiful weather and get to know a wonderful group of people, each one with their own fascinating unique story. 

 

So how did I get involved in this life changing event? Well I was due to retire from AIB in April 2019 after working there for over forty five years. So in preparation for this life changing event (my retirement) I bought my bike in June 2018, through the Bike to Work Scheme (although for me, it was more a Bike for Retirement Scheme). In September 2018, I heard about Paris to Nice from a colleague and thought “Wow what an opportunity”. Now people of my vintage had been enthralled by Sean Kelly’s seven victories in the Paris to Nice Stage Cycling race in the 1980’s, so the idea, that I might be able to cycle in his tyre lengths, was magical. On looking up the P2N web site, I found that that year’s group were already on the road to Nice, so I signed up to express my interest for 2019 and thus began my adventure. 

In February 2019 I went to one of the P2N Information evenings. As I listened to each of the speakers, who spoke about the event itself, the equipment needed (you need more than a bike) and the training regime to ensure you enjoy the event, it just served to reenforce the magical nature of the event itself and of the people involved. One of those people was Orla from ARC Cancer Support Services, who had previously cycled P2N to raise funds for ARC. I am a cancer survivor and wanted to raise funds for a cancer related charity and decided there and then to cycle for ARC. 

 

In March 2019, I started the first of our Sunday morning training cycles. It was from Blackrock to Enniskerry and back (I was feeling confident, so I actually cycled across the Liffey from the Northside). There I met other confident fellow first timers and the hero’s of P2N like Tom, Paddy, Darren, and Brendan who would be our guides and mentors from then until our arrival on Promenade des Anglais in Nice in September. Sitting in Enniskerry at the half way point having my tea and scone (the first of many and one of the highlights of each training spin), my confidence was somewhat dented as I wondered how I was going to get out of Enniskerry as it involved cycling up a hill. I was reassured that all I needed to do was select a low gear and cycle at my own pace and so I did. It was the first of the many hills that I got to climb and since then I have cycled over six thousand kilometres and climbed over fifty seven thousand metres (I forgot to mention, that you become addicted to Strava, which records all your cycles including your heart rate, which at times can be a scary thing to see!). I have got to cycle the Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale to Glenbeigh, all parts of Dublin and Wicklow, and Paris to Nice and in the company of great people. 

 

It has been life changing and magical. Roll on P2N 2020!!!

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Darina Mulligan

2019

Paris2Nice was the most unexpected and unforgettable highlight of 2019.

I signed up late, with no bike, no gear and no cycling experience…..but I was met with endless support, encouragement, kindness and great friendship which quite literally got me up hills all through last summer. I’ll never forget the patience of Darren O’Reilly, on some of the early spins when I was barely moving! 

Once signed up, I thought I would have lots of questions. But the logistics, fundraising and training questions were answered before I could ask them! With Paris2Nice coming up to its 10th anniversary, it is very clear this isn’t their first rodeo!

The trip itself is impossible to put in to words. There is an intensity of emotion perhaps due to the sense of achievement, connection as a team, stunning scenery and pure exhilaration from cycling so far and at times so high!

Being part of P2N2019 was the greatest gift. Beyond fundraising and fitness, there is friendship, fun and wonderful connection. Sign up for P2N2020 and be prepared for a fabulous adventure.  

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Joanne Ross

2019

I would highly recommend Paris2Nice, it was genuinely a life changing experience for me.

 

Myself and my partner Kevin (who is a much keener cyclist than me!) decided in early 2019 to take on the challenge last September. At the time I was feeling emotionally drained and physically unfit.  My lovely Dad had died suddenly in Sept 2017 and we’d been through a tough (and incredibly busy) time since then; trying to deal with my Dads business & affairs, and the grief the family were going through, on top of our normally hectic life juggling work and four children. I wanted to get fit again but we also really wanted to raise funds for Pieta House as we both had sadly experienced suicide in our families. 

 

We started to go along to the Sunday training sessions. We got fantastic support from the trainers Darren, Tom and Brendan and, after a few months training to get my level of fitness up a notch I started to enjoy the cycles.  We also got our fundraising efforts into gear and managed to raise over 12,000 euro between us for Pieta House. The added unexpected bonus was that over the months leading up to Paris2Nice we met lots of new people, Alumni and people planning to do the trip, which was lovely as we had reached a stage in our lives where we had stopped meeting many new people socially.

 

We set off for Paris the day after the second anniversary of my Dad’s death and it really felt like I was closing a sad chapter in my life and opening the door to a brighter future. The trip itself was great.  It was not easy, and the days in the saddle were longer than I expected, BUT we got to know some more fantastic people, all with their own interesting stories and special reason for taking on the challenge.  The camaraderie within the groups was great and it was lovely to take on this challenge with Kevin (who, I will admit, gave me a sneaky push up the odd hill!). The organization and support from Cynthia and the Cycling Safari team was absolutely top notch – everything ran really smoothly and they knew exactly what support we needed and when in terms of food, drink, mechanical etc.

 

The feeling of (eventually!) getting to the top of Mont Ventoux and of cycling into Nice at the end of the trip to the waiting crowd was really fantastic and definitely worth all the pain!   I would highly recommend the Paris2Nice trip to anyone who is prepared to put in a bit of training and particularly for anyone who has a cause that is close to their heart that they want to raise funds for – this really is a big challenge and we found that our friends and family  recognized that and were incredibly generous in their support.  I came home feeling the fittest I have ever been but also delighted to have raised so much for Pieta House and pleasantly surprised on how little pain I felt in my body having put it through six intense days in the saddle (and a few equally intense celebratory days in Nice at the end as well!).

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Attracta O'Regan

2019

In January 2016, I was enjoying family life with my husband and four children and leading a successful and challenging career as a busy solicitor.

A month later, I was admitted to hospital with constant diarrhoea and bleeding, severe abdominal pain, weight loss, exhaustion, heart palpitations and vomiting. I thought my ill health was caused by an infection caught during an overseas work trip but after two weeks of invasive tests, I was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease*, called Ulcerative Colitis, which occurs when the lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum, or both, becomes inflamed producing tiny sores or ulcers on the lining of the colon.

I was in a mess. I was in pain, running to the toilet every few minutes. The steroids I was on caused insomnia and the loss of body minerals was affecting my heart and other organs. Every joint in my body was in pain and swollen from fingers to toes. My jaw kept locking when I tried to eat or speak and I found it difficult to walk. As a result, I was confused and irrational. My speech was slurred which was embarrassing and upsetting and I was truly terrified as my livelihood depends on my mental ability.  

Now three years later after two years of many treatment routes including steroids, immunosuppressive and biologic medications, adverse complications including steroid dependency disease, abnormal cervical cells, IBD related arthritis and numerous other complications my ulcerative colitis is in remission. This is due to the expertise, care and patience of Dr Aoibhlinn O’Toole and Mary Forry, who guided, supported and brought me successfully through this very complicated personal journey. I am now living a healthy, normal, rewarding life and my remission is being maintained through daily medication, diet and exercise. 

In September this year my husband Ultan and I, cycled from Paris to Nice. 702kms over six days to fundraise for the salary of Ireland’s first research fellow. This doctor will provide one-to-one patient care and support for people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and research the effects on the day-to-day lives of those who suffer with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – both of which are incurable diseases. This fundraiser was inspired by the wonderful care I received from my medical team and their suggestion that this research fellow could make an enormous difference to those suffering with inflammatory bowel disease. 

The Paris2Nice cycle is a life changing experience. It challenged me mentally, physically and emotionally. Nothing could have prepared me for 34 degree heat, torturous climbs and equally daunting descents and six to eight hours in the saddle for six successive days. My saving grace was the photo of my deceased Mom and Dad in the back pocket of my cycle jersey, the mantra ‘Persistence over Pain’ and the patience and love of Ultan who helped me through every pedal stroke. I made Paris2Nice alumni friends with whom I laughed and cried. We held each other together when the going got tough and I feel blessed to have shared my journey with such amazing people. 

To date we have raised €31,000 and hope to reach €35,000 before the end of the 2019. These funds have been raised due to the generous donations from solicitors in Ireland and from family and friends. 

Words cannot express our sincere gratitude to everyone who has helped, donated and supported us in our goal to help others achieve a more tolerable life in living with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. It’s still not too late to donate through www.cycle4cc.com. We would love to hear from new Paris2Nicers who would like to cycle with us next year, we are contactable though www.cycle4cc.come  

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Ciara O'Dwyer

2019

It's not often I’m stuck for words, but when I think back on P2N 2019, I can't think of adequate words to properly describe it

There’s no one word that can truly describe the experience of Paris2Nice, so Wow is as good a word as I can think of.. 

 

If P2N is an idea that you are toying with or vaguely contemplating, my only advice would be…. Do it!!!  Sign up and commit yourself to what will be one of the best experiences you will ever have!! 

 

From the second I signed up I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement on offer.  Organised Sunday spins from March headed up by the wonderful Darren, Brendan and Tom were aimed at building us up gradually to where we needed to be cycling wise for the challenge of P2N. Little did we imagine on our 1st spin out to Enniskerry in March that come June, we’d be capable of taking on the challenge of the Wicklow 100. 

There was always an abundance of support and advice, tips on which gears to use and when and a gentle hand on your back to help you up the ever increasing climbs. 

 

For me it truly was an experience of a lifetime. It’s not often you get a chance to cycle through rolling vineyards, lavender fields and along the Riviera with an amazing  bunch of inspirational people, .with the added benefits of a major personal achievement physically, making great new friends AND raising much needed funds for your particular charity. Everyone’s a winner!!!

Sign up now!! 

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