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Take On the Cobbles this Spring with Roubaix Rides

by Nick Gregory

Paris-Roubaix, often called the "Hell of the North", was first run in 1896 and has subsequently become one of the most famous races in professional cycling. Every year thousands of spectators line the often-decisive final sections of cobblestones to see a world-class line up of professionals. 

These days the "Queen of the Classics" has a sportive version the day before, allowing mere mortals the opportunity to take on the same historic route through northern France. The Paris-Roubaix Challenge is shorter than the professional race, but features many of the same infamous stretches of cobblestones.

As a sportive, it presents an almost unique challenge, as Roubaix Rides organiser, Andy Dawson explains: "It's basically flat, but the rough cobble sections - usually only used by tractors and farm vehicles - are a bike handling challenge, and require extra thick bar tape to deaden the vibration!"


However, according to Dawson, the scale of the challenge hasn't deterred cycling fans: "People have jumped at the chance to participate in this unique sportive. We're taking a group drawn from all over the UK to the April event."

He continues, "The sportive offers three route options, but the most popular one so far seems to be the longest one - 166km of which over 50km is on the cobbles." 

In addition to this, there are also 141km (33km of cobbles) and 70km (10km of cobbles) routes, and just like the pro race the next day, all three finish in the iconic Roubaix velodrome.


"With Roubaix just 60 miles away from Calais, the Challenge is just about the nearest continental event for UK cyclosporters. That it's one of the absolute classics of the cycling world is an incredible plus," Dawson said. "We're working closely with local travel company Boulton's, who have a special coach for transporting cyclists and their bikes." 

The trip will depart on Friday 11th April, and return on Monday 14th April. Included in the price is 3 nights B+B in 4 star accommodation, entrance to Paris-Roubaix Challenge and return travel for you and your bike on the specially adapted coach.

To help prepare riders for the challenge of the cobbles, Roubaix Rides are running a series of free winter training rides in Marlow, Berkhamsted and Shrewsbury.

Roubaix Rides has been set up by cyclosportive trip organisers, Rideventures. 

Places on the trip are still available, for more information visit

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