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Video: YouTuber tries to ride from London to France on Santander Cycle - and return it inside 24 hours

Ben Morris set out to take hire bike from capital to Calais and back - did he make it? Watch and find out

“I don’t know if this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done on my channel,” said YouTuber Ben Morris before setting out on a challenge to ride from London to France on a Santander Cycles hire bike and return it to the docking station within 24  hours to avoid a hefty fine.

Obviously, the journey isn’t entirely by bike … there’s a transfer to a mate’s car to take the Eurotunnel, and once in France, there’s a dash back to London with the bikes stashed in the back to try and meet the deadline.

On the way, the YouTuber, riding with a friend, deals with traffic, stairs over bridges and wrong turns due to Google Maps and there are also some Air BNB shenanigans thrown in for good measure.

He also discovers that northwest Kent is a bit more hilly than is often appreciated as he heads over the easternmost tip of the North Downs.

Morris said that if he gets 50,000 likes on the video, “I will ride a penny farthing somewhere far away “ – and with 32,000 to date, he’s almost two thirds of the way to wherever that may be.

He confessed: “This is the one thing I can say Boris has actually done well, and that’s make these bikes.”

In fact, the cycle hire scheme in London was green-lit back when Ken Livingstone was mayor – although it was Liberal Democrat assembly members who first suggested following the lead of cities such as Lyon and Paris.

“I think this has been the longest 24 hours of my life,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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