Video: Boris bike vs Mont Ventoux

London to the top and back in 24 hours - can it be done?

by John Stevenson   December 16, 2013  

Boris vs Ventoux 1

Can you rent out a Boris Bike, drive across France, ride up Mont Ventoux and get back to London in 24 hours?

That’s the challenge Rob Holden and his friends Matt and Ian set themselves, checking out a Boris bike in the small hours, hot-footing it to the Eurotunnel and then across France to Ventoux.

On his JustGiving page, Rob said: “The ride itself was ridiculously hard. Massively over-geared for the relentlessly steep section of the climb, from 6 to 15km, by Chalet Reynard (at 15km) my whole body was in pain but I managed to fight on to the summit.  

“With essentially 1 gear the whole way up, it was a struggle just keeping the pedals turning (25rpm!) and there was a fair bit of weaving at the top.  Having said all that, the weather was perfect, the mountain was awe inspiring and I reached the summit at sunset, which was perfect.”

Then it was time to put the bike in the van and try and get back to London before the deadline.

Did they make it? Watch and find out:

Rob set about this bit of very English madness to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support, and  has already exceeded his original target of £2,000. If you feel that someone who spent almost three hours toiling up Mont Ventoux on, in effect, a 23kg singlespeed deserves a donation, here's his JustGiving page.

39 user comments

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Amazing well done Applause

posted by mikeprytherch [198 posts]
16th December 2013 - 19:35

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Having ridden Ventoux on a lightweight road bike, Rob has my utmost respect for doing it on one of those! Amazing achievement!! Donation on its way!

posted by roseofwinter [38 posts]
16th December 2013 - 20:21

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Effing brilliant, that is what cycling is all about, the adventure!


posted by Tripod16 [109 posts]
16th December 2013 - 20:35

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Nutter - you glorious nutter!

posted by Sherlock Ohms [14 posts]
16th December 2013 - 21:29

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Damn. That trumps my idea of taking a Boris Bike down to G10/42 for a 10 - and by a long way. Still, it makes you proud to be British.

posted by SteppenHerring [149 posts]
16th December 2013 - 21:41

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Chapeau!! No mean feat and a great short film.

For gear nerds a Boris bike apparently has the equivalent of 38T up front and 23T at the rear (Nexus 3 speed) giving you 44.9 gear inches. Not an incredibly bad ratio on a lightweight but on a bike weighing around 3 times as much as a UCI approved Tour bike it's no mean proposition!

posted by IHphoto [75 posts]
16th December 2013 - 22:10

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Wonderfully insane. Donation given.

No, honestly, I don't give a sh*t.

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posted by S13SFC [53 posts]
16th December 2013 - 22:31

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Truly the Bulldog spirit !

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [181 posts]
16th December 2013 - 22:48

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Well done that man, and actually, maybe the new UCI weight limit should be 20Kg, that would make the climbs a bit more interesting Smile

posted by kitkat [187 posts]
16th December 2013 - 23:12

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Hope your knees survive.

Shut up legs, you don't get a vote.

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posted by ridein [47 posts]
16th December 2013 - 23:23

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I was sure he would at least have put some clippless pedals on but no, flats all the way!

Very impressed.

posted by Matt eaton [260 posts]
16th December 2013 - 23:51

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"Ventoux doesn't like Lance Armstrong,"

I don't like Lance Amstrong.

Well done Rob and team, you win 7 tours. Epic.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1161 posts]
17th December 2013 - 0:32

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1 hour 10 mins to get the 65 miles from the Eurotunnel Terminal to Bricklayers' Arms, with heavy rain and roadworks.

Some pretty nifty driving there, then Wink

As others have said, 'chapeau'!

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7830 posts]
17th December 2013 - 0:55

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My legs have just turned to jelly thinking about it...

Fantastic Achievement. Well Done

posted by FlatBattery [12 posts]
17th December 2013 - 10:15

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what a hero!

posted by apjs87 [3 posts]
17th December 2013 - 11:14

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Chapeau! to you chaps Applause


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posted by tourdelound [80 posts]
17th December 2013 - 11:38

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incredible stuff Party ! Top Gear eat your heart out!

posted by gthornton101 [49 posts]
17th December 2013 - 11:52

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Can't believe he didn't even get the pleasure of cycling back down!

posted by gimrie [7 posts]
17th December 2013 - 11:55

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Crackers! Well done fella, well worth a donation.

posted by dp24 [137 posts]
17th December 2013 - 13:13

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Top job Applause Applause

posted by lookmanohands [94 posts]
17th December 2013 - 16:52

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First class. Could only be topped if Boris himself rode the bike up.

cheers m'dears

2011 Rose Pro-SL 3000 Road
2006 Lemond Alpe d'Huez Broken
1997 Marin Sausaulito Urban bimbling/shopper
1980 Orbea project

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posted by daviddb [120 posts]
17th December 2013 - 19:10

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Can't believe he didn't even get the pleasure of cycling back down!

I don't think going down Mt Ventoux on a Boris bike would be a pleasure!

posted by cheers_drive [5 posts]
17th December 2013 - 19:49

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British Bulldog Spirit ...Eccentric Mavericks ..Great Team work plus one hard nut! Wink

posted by Pitbull [7 posts]
17th December 2013 - 19:55

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Love it. Great effort.

I love the idea that you be 'surprised' by cramp after sitting in a car across France and then tackling Ventoux on a Boris bike with two miles warmup! I doubt I would have made it to Chalet Reynard on that bike.

I hope Boris enshrines the bike in the Museum of Transport. It deserves it.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1011 posts]
17th December 2013 - 21:38

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Dedicated cycling price comparison |

posted by mckechan [177 posts]
17th December 2013 - 23:38

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i don't buy this. cleverly edited and entertaining idea for a top gear style challenge - but looks equally manipulated (false). 25kg bike up through the forest section? no way jose.

posted by xyzweaver [1 posts]
18th December 2013 - 11:21

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Amazing effort!
Gonna try and find that Boris Bike! 22591
If anyone spots it, you gotta take a photo!

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posted by backflipbedlem [634 posts]
18th December 2013 - 14:59

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Stupendous! Applause

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posted by harman_mogul [111 posts]
18th December 2013 - 15:00

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xyzweaver wrote:
i don't buy this. cleverly edited and entertaining idea for a top gear style challenge - but looks equally manipulated (false). 25kg bike up through the forest section? no way jose.

Ok, why not?

I passed a dad towing his son in a trailer up that side, he was on a mountain bike with slicks so had an advantage with gears but was towing a pretty hefty trailer with a child in it, total weight had to be more than 25kg. Won't be easy but that's sort of the point.

posted by Bagpuss [101 posts]
18th December 2013 - 20:14

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Biking at its rawest, adventure, pain, friends, challenge. Respect from me!!!!!! Donation on its way.

posted by Flying Heron [27 posts]
31st January 2014 - 21:58

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