It's finally here! It's Paris-Brest-Paris week and on Sunday the 18th of August 13 Scott Orwell Wheelers will line up in Paris to start the 1,250km challenge that they have been working towards for the past 2 years. This is the first of a two part look at the who is taking on the challenge and why! Andrew Potts put some questions to the group - the first 6 answer here...

Thanks to Joe Fitz for preparing this handing TRACKING LINK for our 13 PBP Scott Orwell Wheelers




Rider number & start time: U017 @ 20:45 on Sunday 18th Aug

Orwell Career Cycling Career

In the world of intersectional politics, I still identify as a newbie leisure cyclist, but I do realise somewhere during the last 4 years in Orwell I have crossed the line to be a little more hardcore than the coffee spin. But I'm still a leisure cyclist through and through.

My bike and modifications

A Scott CR1 - I fell in love with this bike by the time I cycled it a hundred meters, three years later I still love the thing - it's amazing to cycle.

In France I will use a Shimano 105 drive train throughout and Mavic Kyserium Elite wheelset running Michelin Power One 23c tires. I have a Mimic Speclized Saddle which is comfortable. I shall also use Cateye lights, Volt 800 front, red light standard battery power at the back. I’m using soft bike bags having spent money on good rack bags. The soft bags are just lighter, and they balance the bike better. They were the cheapest too - maybe €40 covered the cost of the two.

Why, oh why, am I doing a PBP?

I still have no idea why I’m doing this, somewhere the idea got into my head and its been one Brevet step at a time to the start line. Cannot pull out now!

The journey so far

Its been okay, some tough days, the fall early in the year did not help but my fitness is probably good enough now. It will all come down to the head and can I hold that mindset to Paris.

Worst moment so far:

My knee injury or the fall, both times I was thinking maybe that is it, the quest is over. As it turned out I had enough time to recover and the injuries were light.

Best moment so far:

There are so many, an amazing day cycling 300K over the Iron Mountains, breakfast on the 400 in Wexford, listening to Tom talking about playing the Oboe, flying gliders, Munro bagging, choral works, literature, trekking in the Himalayas, getting a balance bike for a grandson and complaining about the rain on a 200 in February . More recently Leonard and I coming home from a coffee spin to Kilcock via Sally Gap. The list just grows the more you think and the more you cycle.



Rider number & start time: U025 @ 20:45 on Sunday 18th Aug

Cycling Career: 

Horseloads of audaxes, sportives and charity fund raisers over the last two years

My bike choice and modifications: 

My trusty steed for PBP will be my 2017 Cannondale Synapse – no modifications as such!

Why, oh why, am I doing the PBP:  

I went out cycling one day and fell in with the wrong crowd………

The journey so far: 

It’s been a year and a half of long audaxes in the snow, rain and sunshine.  Clocking up the 200kms every month for 12 months for the RRTY and throwing in the PBP qualifying audaxes, we’ve done some considerable mileage for a small bunch of cyclists!

Worst moment: 

A lovely dose of hypothermia after a 200km audax that led to a DNF.

Best moment:

Finishing the 600km qualifying audax in June 2019 and enjoying a tasty pint afterwards before collapsing into bed for a solid 10 hours!




Rider number & start time: U069 @ 20:45 on Sunday 18th Aug

Cycling Career:

A trilogy of u12 races where a crashout was bookended by an encouraging 7th place debut finish followed by the ignominy of finishing 2nd or 3rd last in my home race with a buckled rear wheel. The rider on my right took me and the rider on my left out while clipping in at the start, meanwhile the Commissaires son had bolted from the off and there was no restart........ I couldn't even protest as my uncle was Race Director.

Bike Choice:

Kinesis Gran Fondo Ti Disc with dyno hub wheel for a Supernova lightset and of course it has a very sexy set of splashpans.  I also have a pair of stubby bars on it for PBP in order to give another hand contact position.

Why PBP:

I scratched four years ago ........ in retrospect I did well to make the startline as I tore my labrum (messed up my hip) two weeks before the départ.  I rode 500km before I realised I was not going to finish in the time limit and so I aborted in order to limit damage.  Despite the pain and anguish of not finishing, the few days around the event is a memory I relish.

PBP is pure, a celebration of cycling, a nod to the heritage of the bike, riders and their steads come in many shapes and sizes from all corners of the globe, each participant has had to qualify and commit a lot of time to training and logistics. By participating one feels one is respecting and adding to it's legacy and that respect is paid back to riders via the encouragement and support from French people along the route...........c'est vraiment magnifique!

Journey so far:

To be frank it has been a 5 year odyssey for me.  I started audaxing in Sept 2014 and 11 months later found myself at the pinnacle of the game at the départ in Paris.  As soon as I made the decision to scratch I knew I would be back in 4 years for another go - unfinished business and all that.  I was off the bike for 4 months after PBP 2015 doing rehab on hip but did the 1000km Celtic Knot the following summer which gave me a lot of confidence.  I didn't do much then for almost a year with family commitments but I have been more or less doing one audax a month since late 2017.

Worst Moment:

The Audax fraternity in Ireland lost a great rider and all round top guy in Navan Road Club's Stephen Sweeney (RIP) earlier this summer. I got news of his passing while out on a spin and it floored me - heartbreaking stuff for his family and friends. He was a jolly man and excelled at injecting much needed energy and positivity - especially in the carpark before a 6am start.  He will be missed but remembered in France.   

Best Moment:

Yet to come...........the first (of many) cold beers at the finish in Paris



Rider number & start time: U036 @ 20:45 on Sunday 18th Aug

Cycling Career:

I joined Orwell in 2015. Before that I occasionally pottered about on a hybrid.

My bike choice and modifications:

A Scott CR1; 52 cm frame; Shimano Ultegra Compact groupset; Sella Italia Novus saddle; Altura Arran 2 seatpost bag; Restrap stem bag. I love this bike but with a light grey matt finish it breaks my heart trying to keep it clean!

Why, oh why, am I doing the PBP:

I know there’ll be a good answer after.

The Journey so far:

Up and down and long.  There’s been a lot of learning along the way.

Worst moment on a bike:

The most suffering I’ve had on a bike was the Coast to Coast 600 in June, the final ride to qualify for PBP. We caught 2 hours of sleep, completing in 39 hours, an hour inside the limit. I wasn’t fit for much after that.

I doubt I’d have gotten around without the support of the Orwell group.

Best moment on a bike:

Tour of Flanders Challenge a couple of years ago. A great day riding through Flanders and its famous cobbled climbs, then watching the pros do the same the following day.

Most likely to be heard saying:

"Is that all we’ve done. It felt like longer."



Rider number & start time: K143 @ 18:30 on Sunday 18th Aug

Cycling Career:

I joined Orwell in Jan 2015, 4 years ago. 

I signed up for the Wicklow 200 under the stewardship of the Gerard and Rodney who quickly wiped me into shape and I finished Mount Leinster and the Wicklow 200 that year.

My Bike Choice

White Trek Domane 5.9 with Ultegra groupset.

Why oh Why am I doing the PBP

Moment of weakness or madness. Seemed like a good idea and a walk in the park after completing the 600km last year and why not it only comes around every 4 years.

The Journey so far

I did not realise it at the time my PBP journey started on the Orwell 600km last year and the chance encounter with Stephen Sweeney from Navan who planted the seed in my head.

At the beginning of the year I suffered a self-inflected knee injury while gardening which keep me of the bike for a few months. June turned in to a very busy month where I had to complete my 400km and 600km qualifier.

Worst Moment

I had a few bad moments two in particular stand out.

On the 200KM the weather turned nasty with driving hail and snow. I needed help to take my gloves and Jacket off and it took me hours to stop shivering when I got home. It was a reality check that PBP was not a walk in the park and it took months for my fingertips to recover.

The passing of Stephen Sweeney on the C2C 600 was a bitter blow for us all. I had the good fortune to cycle with Stephen on last year’s Orwell 600km. Stephen was a personality that will not be forgotten (RIP Stephen). This was another reality check that PBP should not be taken for granted.

Best Moment

Completing the National 400km which was a major milestone and my final qualifier for PBP. And I should mention breakfast 



Rider number & start time: U016 @ 20:45 on Sunday 18th Aug

Cycling Career

Nervously joined Orwell in October 2014.  Scared that I wouldn’t be able to hack club cycling.  After the 3 trial spins I was hooked.  Did the WW200 and a bunch of sportives the following Summer.  Cluelessly signed up for the Faceless Monk Audax in November 2015, discovered audaxing with Andrew Potts, and haven’t looked back.

My bike choice and modifications

Scott Addict 10 (Disc).  New this year, replacing the reliable Trek 1.2

Why, oh why, am I doing the PBP.

Because it’s there?  (as George Mallory said about Everest).

Because it seemed like a good idea at the Orwell Christmas Party in 2017?

Because it’s a challenge?  Because I never tried anything like this before?


The Journey so far

After the Orwell 300 last year I was “ENCOURAGED” by Leonard Kaye to do a 400 in Mayo (24hrs of horizontal rain).  Completed the Orwell 600 two weeks later which allowed me to pre-register for PBP in January (before I had convinced myself I was doing it).  Kept doing at least one audax a month over the Winter along with the Orwell Audax training spins.  Stayed fairly close to  the schedule outlined by Dave Mc.  Got the 4 qualifying rides completed by June.  Serious training finished with “a routine 300km training spin” mid July.

Worst moment

Solo on the Midlands 300 this year.  I arrived at the 24hr McDonalds in Athlone at 4am, only to find it was drive through AND the coffee machine was broken! It was minus one sitting outside.  (Finished the cheeseburger and coke, but the McFlurry went in the bin).

Best moment

So many to choose from.  Last year on the National 600 with 70km to go.  On my own, at rock bottom, doing about 15kph.   Then I heard chatter behind me.  A group of Orwells on the National 400 came by, I jumped in with them and Ken, Val, Tara and Anna pulled me back to Dundrum.

(either that or the downhill after climbing Alpe d’Huez)

And in September?

Figure out how to stop eating for PBP training.