Norwich Aviva colleagues cycle from London to Paris

Paris is known for its romance, croissants, coffee - and once a year the Tour de France.

But this year two Aviva colleagues added a touch of Norwich's charm to the city as they completed the huge 307 mile London to Paris bike ride a day before Bradley Wiggins' spectacular win.

Ryan Coles, 41, and Thomas Allen, 33, from Sprowston, set off from London's O2, finishing up a the base of the iconic Eiffel Tower - with a �2,500 fundraising total for Action Medical Research behind them.

Mr Coles, who has already walked part of the Great Wall of China and completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for charity, said the French ride was a 'once in a lifetime experience' - with the 'surreal' final stint down the down the stunning Champs Elyssee.

He said: 'We finally made it to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower after being cheered and applauded by complete strangers, locals and tourists and even got a big cheer from a wedding party who were posing for photos after their ceremony.'

The pair said the first day over the Kent downs proved a challenge after training in the flat Norfolk landscape - but once thy reached the capital - after being on the saddle for 23 hours and 27 minutes - both said they were had aches and pains.

Mr Allen said he did a lot of training before the ride and said although it was 'very hard work, it was really satisfying.'

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Mr Coles added: 'And we got to see Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France and Mark Cavendish win the final stage on the Champs Elyssee too, which was a fitting end to a very hard journey.'

To sponsor the pairs ongoing fundraising visit

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