Alsace Challenge 2017

Alsace Challenge 2017

Published on Friday 30th December 2016

The great news is that we have 50 teams entered to ride the Alsace Challenge so you will be one of over 200 riders, sharing the experience of good cycling through wonderful French countryside, excellent camaraderie and together we will raise £100,000+ for many Charities. Our thanks to Polypipe who again have sponsored the event to cover our minimal costs as organisers and to help keep your entry fee down to encourage you to make even more fundraising for our Charities.

Tom and I have driven the route to record all directions and to set up the meals and overnight accommodation for you. We start in Arras where you need to arrive late afternoon/early evening on Wednesday 27th September, having booked your own way to France by ferry or tunnel. We have booked bed and breakfast in 4 hotels so that you can dine at the restaurant of your choice, probably in the wonderful Place des Heros or Grand Place:

Day 1 – Thursday 28th September

We will ride 190 miles from Arras to Epernay, and soon will be amongst cemeteries and battlefields of the First World War, 100 years ago. A moment of reflection on the horrors they endured will help us appreciate the need to avoid repetition.We pass Thiepval Memorial, engraved with the names of 73,367 British and Commonwealth soldiers who fell during the battle of the Somme between July and November 1916, who have no known grave. The Battle of Thiepval Ridge was 26th – 28th September 1916 which was won with the loss of 12,500 lives, with German losses believed to have been 135,000.

After riding through the Forest of Saint Gobain (where the glass and mirrors for the palace of Versailles was made by Saint-Gobain S.A, who now own British Gypsum) we ride along the Chemin des Dames before getting into the Champagne vineyards as we approach Epernay for our first night’s rest.

We will all dine together at the Auberge Champenoise with good food, wine and certainly some champagne!

Day 2 – Friday 29th September

An early morning ride up the Avenue de Champagne, passing Moet & Chandon, Mercier, Perrier-Jouet, Demoiselle and Castellane (remember the final dinner in 2003!) before we ascend the Montagne de Reims, through Hautvillers where the Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon in the late 17th Century evolved the ‘refermentation’ method to create champagne.

Leaving the Champagne region we head across the plains North of Chalons towards another memorial of the First World War at Verdun.

We finish Day 2 just North of Nancy and drive into the centre where we are in 2 hotels, but dining together at the Hotel Mercure. Try to stroll to the Place Stanislas, with its’ amazing golden gates, from where I started my 150 mile Draisine ride in May:

Day 3 Saturday 30th September

Leaving Nancy we track the Moselle river South and then head East and soon see the Vosges mountains ahead, for a few Cols! The views are stunning as we climb through ski resorts and descend into beautiful valleys.

After our final descent into the Rhine valley we pass through Hunawihr where team vehicles will stop at Sipp Mack vineyard to collect Alsace wine and glasses to take home. Then a final climb to the Chateau of Haut-Koenigsbourg and a descent again through the vineyards of Alsace.

Our final destination is a holiday village in Obernai where we will all stay and celebrate our achievements in completing the Alsace Challenge.

Sunday 1st October

Your return trip to Calais is just 390 miles of motorway driving taking you around 6 hours.

What you need to do now:

  • If you haven’t yet paid the full entry fee, please do so now
  • Log on to and complete all team details, adding the Charity you would like to select for 50% of your fundraising – the other 50% is shared between Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
  • Create your team Just Giving website and link it to Challenge Adventure Charities ‘Alsace Challenge’. This ensures it will be allocated to your team.
  • Start getting sponsored for your efforts, or organise fundraising events to maximise your team sponsorship.
  • And get cycling so that you enjoy the ride and have the energy to be sociable in the evenings!

Rowan Barnes-Murphy is close to creating another quintessential logo for us which will be available on our website soon.

Routes will be posted on the website in mid-September with final joining instructions.

Any questions please by email to

Looking forward!

The organising team

28th June 2017




Event Photo Gallery