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Amy Jones

Brand New Eat Sleep Cycle x MAAP Kit

By | Cycling | No Comments

Everyone loves new kit day, and this one is extra special! We’ve teamed up with MAAP for our new Eat Sleep Cycle kit, and we think you’ll agree when we say it’s one to inspire some envy out on the road…

The kit is now available to buy in our Girona Hub as well as our online shop.

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

 

 

 

Cycling-in-Andalucia-Experiencing-Is-Believing-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Tour

Cycling in Andalucia – Experiencing Is Believing

By | Cycling in Spain | No Comments

Andalucia is a region which captures the very essence of Spain. With a rich, long & often bloody history the architecture & landscapes are punctuated with Moorish & Christian sites. The Alhambra palace in Granada, the Alcazar Castle in Seville & Còrdoba’s Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral are three iconic landmarks which alone make a visit to the region worthwhile. Add in flamenco culture, wine, sherry & olive oil making and Andalucia offers an intoxicating experience – and that’s without the incredible Andalucian cycling experience.

Here we attempt to capture the essence of Andalucia: the views, the climbs, the warmth, the relaxed way of life and the wonderfully welcoming locals but to fully appreciate it has to be experienced!

Location, Location, Location: Where is Andalucia?

Located in the south of Spain Andalucia is made up of 8 provinces – Cadiz, Almeria, Malaga & Granada bordering the south coast & Huelva, Seville, Còrdoba & Jaen inland. Within these provinces are numerous protected reserves, including the Sierra Nevada, Cabo de Gata & the Montes de Málaga. In other words, numerous playgrounds for cyclists. If the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada (which includes the highest paved road in Europe, the Pico de Veleta) aren’t enough to tempt you, now factor in the Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical, Costa de la Luz & Costa Almeria. 50% of Andalucia borders with the Mediterranean sea – cue delicious seafood, long white beaches and winter sun-seekers (Andalucia boasts more than 325 days of sun a year and is an ideal spot for a European winter cycling holiday!).

Cycling-in-Andalucia-Cycling-Highlights-Bike-Tour

Cycling in Andalucia: The Highlights

Smooth roads and sunshine characterise Andalucia – so it’s no wonder that it’s such an attractive location for those seeking to ride in winter sun when Northern Europe freezes over. Additionally, traffic is sparse and drivers are respectful – the area is essentially everything you could want as a cyclist.

Carretera del Cabra: The Goat’s Path is a must-see climb for any cyclist visiting the area. Just to the west of the Sierra Nevada mountains the road was built to connect Granada to the fishing boats on the coast in the village of Almuñuecar. The pass is 17 km long and maxes out at a gradient of 11% and boasts captivating views of the mediterranean.

Puerto del León: Rising from the city of Malaga over 16 kms to 940 m altitude the Puerto del León features steady gradients which average 5.5% and, you guessed it, picturesque views in all directions. A regular feature of local club runs out of Malaga the climb also featured in the Vuelta España in 2015 when Peter Sagan won the stage.

Caminito del Rey: The 2015 Vuelta was the first road race to visit the ‘Pathway of the King’. Short and sweet is the best way to describe this 4 km climb. With ramps of up to 15% legs are likely to sting as the road winds its way up to a restaurant and a dead end.

Puerto de La Ragua: A pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains this is a challenging ascent when climbed from the south. At 25 km long the pass takes the rider to over 2,000 m altitude and boasts a comforting maximum gradient of 8%.

Torcal de Antequera: 10.5 kms takes the cyclist to 1,200 m elevation at a decent average gradient of 7.6 % with great views pretty much all the way up. At the top take in the beautiful rock formations which give the climb its name.

Pico de Veleta: No post on cycling in Andalucia would be complete without featuring the mighty Pico de Veleta. Veleta means ‘weather vane’ and the weather is main difficulty for the cyclist to overcome to make it to the top. Up to 2,500 m (29 km into the climb) the road is in excellent condition. From the notorious ‘barrier’ the cyclists rides beyond civilisation along a poorly surfaced road. The last 200 m (if you’re lucky enough to make it that far) are not passable on a road bike and must be walked. Often scorching hot in the valley and freezing cold at the top it’s worth waiting for perfect conditions before attempting the 40 km climb.

Andalucian Food For Cyclists - Eat Sleep Cycle Tours

Fuel the Ride: Andalucian Food

Like many areas in Spain, Andalucía has its own selection of local delicacies that are to die for. Being situated in the south and catching almost year-round sun means that the area is known for growing plenty of fruit and vegetables, in particular olives, avocados, oranges and raisins (which we used to fuel our rides on our most recent visit)!

Of course, the classic Spanish dish of Paella is a must, and being so close to the sea means delicious fresh fish! Other fishy offerings include pescaito frito (literally, fried fish), a local speciality. Jamon will likewise need to be sampled, air-cured in the mountains these wafer thin slices of ham will melt in your mouth!

Where to eat:

Cycling in Andalucia Review - Eat Sleep Cycle

From the Rider’s Mouth: Steve’s Review

Steve from Toronto, Canada joined us in the Costa del Sol & Sierra Nevada mountains in November 2018, here’s what he had to say about his Costa del Sol & Sierra Nevada Tour

“Fantastic trip. Top riding, guiding and routes. Great local knowledge. All in a very good time. Highly recommended.”

El Andaluz: The Eat Sleep Cycle Guide

We spoke to Luis, olive oil & winemaker & our local guide for our Andalucia tours. Luis is the expert on Andalucia culture, food and roads and we asked him what makes him tick:

What is your name?
Luis Duritz

Where are you from?
From Cordoba, Andalucía! I was raised in Sevilla studied at the University in Granada, I lived in Málaga for 8 years and now I’m back home in Córdoba and sharing a house with friends in Granada.

Where do you live?
Part of the year in Granada, and the most of the time in Guadalmoral, my mother`s farm, near Córdoba.

How long have you lived there?
The last five years.

What drew you to cycling and why?
Watching the final kilometres of stage 16 of the 1990 Tour de France when Miguel Indurain and Greg LeMond battled up the Luz Ardiden! I was inspired also because on the same stage Andaluz rider Miguel Ángel Martínez Torres came third at 59” back to such giants of the sport!

What is your favourite thing about guiding?
Everything that happens from when I wake up till I go to sleep. To deal with unexpected situations.

Meet The Eat Sleep Cycle Guide in Andalucia - Luis Duritz

Describe your favourite ride or favourite place in Andalucia…
The MTB ride from my grandparents farm, crossing the Subbéticas Natural Park on dirt roads and paths arriving to Zuheros, an Andalusian white village, with a hilltop castle, where I have a house.

What do you like to do when you’re not on a tour?
Off season, everyday is different, but my perfect day is: to wake up in the farm, have a good coffee, take a walk along the vineyard, the olive orchard and the creek, do some physical work and finish the day in the city, having a glass of natural wine in @quierojugovivo, in Córdoba.

What’s the best meal you’ve enjoyed in in Andalucia?
Only one!? Impossible… but to mention two that I had working with ESC: the grilled sardines in a picnic in Lújar (Granada), seeing the Mediterranean sea from the hills, and a veggie menu in @restaurantelaboca with a spinach and pea stew to die for.

Take Me There! How to get to Andalucia

Malaga airport is the fourth biggest in Spain and is easily accessible from most of Europe, (flights from other parts of the world are likely to require transfers at Madrid or another major connecting airport). Transport to and from the airport is easily accessible and within a 90 min transfer of most of the most popular cycling locations. Almeria Airport is also an option for those looking to explore the eastern Sierra Nevada.

It is also possible to arrive by train from other parts of Spain and even Europe. Other parts of the Southern region of Spain are easily accessible by car or transport so you could take advantage of your location and explore other areas whilst there. (like the Calpe ride camp).

Join the Ride – Cycle in Andalucia

If you like what you’ve read and want to experience cycling in Andalucia for yourself check out our 3 Andaluz itineraires:

  1. Andalucia Experience – take in the riding and sites of Granada (includes a Pico de Veleta attempt), Antequera & Ronda.
  2. Trans Andalucia – ride the whole thing, from Almeria, across the Sierra Nevada to Granada, on to Antequera, Ronda, Arcos de La Frontera and to the finish in Seville.
  3. Costa del Sol Ride Camp – discover Màlaga, the Puerto del Leon, the Carrertera del Cabra & finish in the low Sierra Nevada.

Cycle in Andalucia - Cycling Tours of Spain - Eat Sleep Cycle

All of our cycle tours in Andalucia will allow you to sample and enjoy the delights that Southern Spain has to offer. We can also tailor the tour to your needs with our custom cycle tour options so if you’re interested give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to find out more!

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Cycling Challenges for 2019 - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Cycling Challenges for 2019 – New Year Motivation

By | Cycling | No Comments

It’s the time of year when advice on how to better yourself in some way pervades our lives via advertising and social media ad nauseam; be it drastic diets, stringent exercise regimes or learning to meditate, ’tis the season of fads that will be forgotten by February. So, instead of making a negative pledge in the form of restrictive lifestyle changes why not make a resolution that is sure to stand the test of time and commit to a cycling challenge for 2019?

Top Cycling Challenges for 2019

Whether you’re a total rookie or a hardened roadie a cycling challenge is a great way to motivate yourself to get out there and clock up the kms whilst seeing the world in 2019. Let’s take a look at some of the best cycling adventures to sign up to to keep you on two wheels in 2019!

For The Intrepid Adventurer

A raid or trans cycling tour is the perfect challenge for those with a taste for adventure. An epic point-to-point journey crossing big mountain ranges incorporating some iconic climbs and tough terrain is sure to quench anyone’s thirst for adventure. The feeling after completing a two-wheeled journey that traverses hundreds of kilometres is like no other!

Cycling Challenge for Newcomers - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

For The Newcomer

No need to be a seasoned rider to set yourself a cycling challenge this year. The key is to start small and not over-face yourself. Our leisure cycling tours are the perfect way to introduce yourself to cycling holidays and discover how much more you can see via bike! With rides to suit your ability and emphasis on exploring the area and experiencing the culture a leisure tour is a great place to start.

Alternatively, setting a distance goal is also a good place to begin to introduce more cycling to your schedule, look at where you are and set a realistic goal and you never know – you might surprise yourself!

For The Rider Who’s Seen It All

If you’re a veteran of cycling holidays then you’ve probably already ‘been there and done that’ when it comes to the Alps, Pyrenees or Dolomites. New experiences and challenges are the perfect way to motivate yourself to train during those winter months and a Hidden Gem cycling tour is the perfect way to explore somewhere new, whether it’s a new mountain range or a whole new country.

Cycling Challenge for Competitive Cyclists - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

For The Competitive Rider

If you have a competitive streak then you’re going to need a competitive event to motivate you! Signing up to a Gran Fondo or sportive is the perfect way to make sure you stick to your training plan and get out of the door on those days when you might not be feeling like it. If you want to take the stress out of organising and travelling then let us do the hard work so all you have to do is prepare and turn up to ride!

Book Your 2019 Cycling Challenge

If you want to make sure you’re fully prepared for your upcoming challenge why not join a ride camp? We provide all inclusive cycling tours to the top cycling destinations in Europe and can tailor your cycling challenge to your needs – whatever they may be! To find out more give us a call now on +34 972 649 131, contact us online or start a live chat and we’ll see you in the saddle soon!

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Merry Christmas from Eat Sleep Cycle 2018

Merry Christmas From All Of Us At Eat Sleep Cycle!

By | News | No Comments

We hope you have a fantastic Christmas filled with the people and things you love (including cycling, of course)!

A Christmas Cycle?

We’re joined by guests on our Girona Christmas week and will be bringing you stories of what we’re up to throughout the festive period. Meanwhile, we thought we would share with you a collection of some of our favourite festive photos from our Christmas ride with CHPT3 and Rocacorba Food truck last week! Photo credits to Boris Cid and Manuel Buck – thank you!

3rd Annual ESC Christmas Cycle Video

As a Christmas treat for you we’ve produced a short video of our 3rd annual Christmas cycle, watch it below! And, make sure you come join us next year for a festive cycle like no other – Christmas jumpers and ties are optional!

Here’s To Cycling in 2019!

All of the team here at ESC would like to say a big thanks to you for reading and your support and custom throughout the year. We’ve had a great year and couldn’t have done it without you! With some luck we’ll see you on a European cycle tour next year and in the meantime hope you have a Merry cycling Christmas!

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Eat Sleep Cycle - 2018 Year of Reviews

Eat Sleep Cycle Year in Reviews

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It’s the time of year when everyone starts to reflect on the year gone by and share accounts of their ‘year in review’ well, here at Eat Sleep Cycle we are creating our ‘year in reviews‘. We pride ourselves on our near-100% five-star review record from both our cycling tours and from our Girona Hub. Here are some of our favourite reviews from 2018 and the stories behind them.

London Dynamo Cycle Tour to Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

London Dynamo in Girona

In June we were privileged to host the biggest cycling club in London on their annual trip abroad. A group of 45 riders from London Dynamo came out to Girona for a week of riding culminating in the Girona Gran Fondo event. Club member Jed had this to say:

“Eat Sleep Cycle are so good at what they do… Hands-down best cycle tour operator in Europe. They handled our group of 45 with ease. Everyone including the mechanics at the hub, the guides that took us on fantastic group rides and the guys that run the show, are simply excellent. And an extra special thank you to Lee, Silvia and Brian for making our trip so memorable.”

Thanks to Jed for the glowing review and we are looking forward to hosting London Dynamo once again in 2019!

Summiting The Mighty Zoncolan in June

June also saw the first summiting of the mighty Zoncolan in Eat Sleep Cycle history. Padraic, who was on the tour had this to say:

“I completed the Trans Dolomites tour with Eat Sleep Cycle. The tour was excellent, very well organized and the team were incredibly dedicated and passionate. The routes, food, accommodation was fantastic. The routes encompassed some of the most epics climbs in Europe and scenery was breathtaking. In particular the guides were fantastic and were always there for all needs. Thank you Eat Sleep Cycle for one of the most exhilarating weeks of my life. Highly recommended!”

Thanks to Padraic for the kind words.

July Means Tour de France For Cyclists

In the cycling world July means one thing: the Tour de France! We took a group of guests to spectate the race and ride some of the Tour de France route in the Pyrenees. Dawn was one of the guests on the trip and took the time to write this fantastic, and very comprehensive review! Thank you, Dawn.

“The first time I encountered Eat Sleep Cycle it was for a week long bike hire in Girona. I was so impressed by the bike, the company, and their staff that a year later when I was looking for a bike tour around the Tour de France I immediately thought of them. First of all let me speak of the staff. The entire week long trip was excellently supported on all levels. Nothing was too much to ask and Brian, Boris, and Caitlin did it all with a cheery disposition and a smile. Not only did they do an excellent job guiding and feeding us, it felt like they were mates along for the trip too.

Each day was planned perfectly with different route options available most days for the length of ride each person wanted to do. There was a guide with each group and they would let each person ride their own pace up climbs and regroup at the top. Most often the van would be there too with food and water so we could recover after these long climbs (some climbs took over an hour and even as an experienced cyclist that van with snacks and Coke was a godsend).

After a big ride, every cyclist is looking forward to a big meal and Eat Sleep Cycle did a great job with that as well. We also had time to ourselves to go into town for extra snacks (and beer!) during down time.

Lastly, let me speak of the bike. I rented the Ridley Ultegra disc bike which was perfect for both the long climbs and descents. As a shorter rider I appreciate that they carry a large selection of small bikes (others in town do not). I emailed my fit specs to the shop and it was set up perfectly for me. Boris also did a great job of keeping the bike in tip top shape over the length of the tour.

All in all I can’t recommend Eat Sleep Cycle enough. Whether you are looking for bike hire in Girona or a European Cycling Tour, you can’t go wrong.”

The Full Monty in September!

In September we hosted the Full Monty Cycling Club all the way from Chicago. Having joined us for a Trans-Pyrenees cycle tour in 2017 the guys returned to Eat Sleep Cycle, this time in greater numbers, to tackle the Italian Dolomites and Alps, Danny from the club described his experience:

“17 friends hired ESC to organize and guide us on a cycling trip in the Dolomites. For 6 of us it was or second trip with ESC, having worked with them last year on a Trans-Pyrenees route. This was a large group, and the team at ESC did a terrific job of selecting the best routes and really surprised us with the quality of the hotels. We had terrific dinners and lots of wine and laughs. Lee and his team work really hard to make sure everyone is safe and is having a good time. If you can get them to bring along Berta-make sure to do so! She’s awesome.  Guided by Lee, Amy, Christian and Johnny we had a great trip and hope to work with ESC again.”

Huge thanks to Danny for writing such kind words about the tour & the team.

Stunning Pyrenees Climbs

September also took us back to the Pyrenees, this time on a Trans Pyrenees tour – taking guests from Girona to San Sebastian via some of the most stunning roads and climbs in the Pyrenees. Guest Chris had this to say:

“When I booked my Trans Pyrenees trip with Eat Sleep Cycle, they were only a year old, and pretty slick. When I arrived in Girona they were two years old, and ten times bigger and better. I used them to arrange my pre and post trip accommodation, transfers, everything. All I did was bring my bike. Everything Brian and the team did was made to seem easy. The guides and support team are not only great at their jobs on tour and super strong riders, but also really accomplished people in other fields, making conversations so interesting. I can’t wait to get back. Thanks.”

Thanks to Chris for taking the time to write such a complimentary review!

Girls Cycle Tour of Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle Tours

West Cork Girls In Girona

In October we were joined in Girona by a group of women from West Cork, Ireland who came to see what the Catalan city has to offer! One of the group, Caroline wrote this:

West Cork Girls – An Amazing Trip: 7 girls from our cycling club just completed 3 days training with ESC, what an amazing experience, the attention to detail with these guys is unbelievable, everything from airport transfers, fabulous bikes, excellent accommodation, great routes, excellent guides who know the place inside out, it really was super. Any distance or climbing we wanted to do the guides helped us out. We are looking forward to booking again as ESC really know how to get everything right.”

We are delighted that Caroline enjoyed her time in Girona and we would like to say thank you for taking the time to leave this review!

Thank You For Your Reviews!

A huge thank you to each and every person who took the time to leave us a review this year, we appreciate the time taken by all to write about your Eat Sleep Cycle experiences! If you’d like to check out more reviews you can see them here. If you’d like to find out more about one of our European cycle tours then give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info!

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CHPT3, ESC and Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

CHPT3, ESC & Girona

By | Cycling | No Comments

Eat Sleep Cycle partner Brian recently outlined our reasons for joining forces with CHPT3 using the fitting analogy of a bike race, but we want to delve further into the brand and why we think they’re a great fit for Eat Sleep Cycle.

There are many cycling brands out there, whether it’s clothing, components, accessories or bikes themselves the market is bursting at its fine, Italian seams. So how do you choose which ones are right? Brian summarized this nicely in his blog: “we want to work with brands who want to work with us”. – Brands who are like-minded, who share a similar vision and believe in our business.

CHPT3 – Girona Based Locals

CHPT3 Bike Gear - Based in Girona
CHPT3 is a local brand, based in Girona and although this is not a prerequisite for who we partner with, of course, working with local brands allows for greater communication and collaboration – one example of this is our upcoming CHPT3 x Eat Sleep Cycle x Rocacorba Food Truck Christmas ride. From this, came the Girona Collection which is an ode to the city.

Of this, the brand themselves say:

“CHPT3 was founded in Girona, the heartland of professional cycling. It is our home and where we’ve ridden more kilometres than anywhere else in the world, making it the perfect field for research and product development.”

CHPT3 are as passionate as us about showing the cycling community why Girona truly is the best place to ride a bike, in David Millar’s own words: “we have the same vision to help shape Girona and the Costa Brava into the world’s best cycling destination.”

The CHPT3 Concept

The CHPT3 brand embodies Girona. It’s classic, and classy, it’s quality and cool. In the brands own words:

“We founded CHPT3 to be a platform through which we and our partners can do creative, collaborative projects. Together, we seek out new technologies and new contexts in which to push ourselves to the edge of what is possible”

Take CHPT3’s collaboration with Poc to create the new Devesa Ventral SPIN helmet – a world’s best helmet in terms of safety & design given an innovative pattern inspired by Girona’s Devesa forest. What’s not to love?

The Founder of CHPT3

The brand’s founder is none other than ex-professional rider and Tour de France stage winner David Millar which, naturally, automatically brings an element of prestige to the brand. What it also brings is experience.

“David Millar, has been a chief test pilot for the cycling industry for twenty years. Working with material and equipment manufacturers to shape the cutting edge of the sport, CHPT3 is a reflection of his experience and vision, without compromise.”

David is fantastic to work with and is hands-on with his approach to the brand, something that we ourselves admire and believe in.  His enthusiasm for the collaboration is testament to his passion for the brand.

The Products

The concept of ‘you get what you pay for’ is very much true when it comes to cycling kit. Some may bemoan the price of certain, high quality brands’ clothing, but when you realise the hard work; the field testing, the research, the trial and error, that goes into creating a truly great piece of kit, you realise why. Take the CHPT3 Origin 1.62 Jersey/Jacket for example: extensive research has gone into creating a jersey with “a wider temperature range than nearly any other jersey, or jacket, in the world.” As a result it can be considered both a jersey and a jacket, negating the need to fill your pockets with extra layers. It is innovative concepts such as these, coupled with a truly stylish aesthetic, that make CHPT3 so appealing as a brand.

CHPT3 Origin 1.62 Jersey Jacket - Eat Sleep Cycle

CHPT3 Connections

CHPT3 were already working in conjunction with two other brands that we had also wanted to get on board at Eat Sleep Cycle: Factor Bikes and Brompton. The heritage of Brompton is unmistakable and the iconic commuter bikes are a great fit for getting around a city like Girona. We’ve already written on this blog about why we love Factor bikes – the masses of experience and expertise behind them result in beautiful, high-performance bikes that we can’t wait to get in to The Hub so that our customers in Girona and on tour can see the quality for themselves.

Girona Cycle Tour - Eat Sleep Cycle

Experience Girona Cycling

Do you want to experience the city that inspired CHPT3, for yourself? Ride through the Devesa park and walk through the historic Old Town taking in the culture and scenery and of course, the amazing road cycling! We have a variety of bike tours in Girona, and CHPT3 gear available – all you have to do is choose what you want! To find out more about our tours give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online.

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All photos by CHPT3.

First Gravel Ride: Ridley X-Trail

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Amy Jones, long time road rider, reports on making the transition to Gravel in this account of her first ever gravel ride. Guide Ed takes her for a spin on our Ridley X-Trail rental on his favourite trails around Girona.

I’m slowing you down, joked Ed who was showing me the ropes on my gravel debut, 30 seconds later I became rather too well acquainted with the grass verge. Thankfully this didn’t set too much of a precedent for the rest of the ride and as we traversed every kind of terrain from road, to mud, to rocks and naturally, gravel I only hit the deck on one other occasion.

I had been aware of the growing trend for gravel and had thought how fun it looks for a while now, however I hadn’t got around to trying it out myself. Of course, the main barrier to trying out any new kind of cycling is acquiring the appropriate bike, but when you work somewhere that hires them out that’s hardly an excuse. So, with some (very little) encouragement, I took out a Ridley X-Trail from Eat Sleep Cycle and was all set for my first ever gravel ride.

We could have headed to the via verde for my first gravel experience, indeed, that would have been the logical move. However, not one to shy away from a challenge I decided I’d ride some of the long route of the gravel edition of the Rocacorba Gran Fondo. Things started off pretty mildly as we went around Banyoles lake until we headed onto a grassy path that was only wide enough to go single file and I got a taster of what was to come – adrenaline-filled sketchy moments that were simultaneously great fun.

Accustomed to harder, skinnier tyres it took a while for my brain to adjust to the fact that I could take that gravel-scattered corner faster, or bunny hop without the discomfort of coming clattering to the ground on 90psi. Once I had processed this, and put my trust in the bike I started to test the limits, and I loved it. There is so much amazing road riding around Girona but being able to take things both on and off-road adds a whole new level of fun and exploration.

I was surprised to find that I was at my most comfortable descending, rather than climbing – a dynamic that is the reverse for me on the road. For my first real off-road experience the Ridley quite literally guided me through the mud and over the rocks, transcending my actual ability. With all my green-ness in the gravel world I don’t exactly have the expertise or experience to give an extensive review of a gravel bike, but can definitely say that the Ridley was a great companion.

Mostly, I learned that when things feel wobbly just keep going, and if that isn’t a metaphor for life I don’t know what is.

Inspired by this ride? Rent your own gravel bike for your next cycling holiday to Girona, or bag yourself a bargain and buy yourself a sweet ride in our ex-rental bike sale.

Christmas Gifts for the Cyclist in Your Life - 20 Gifts for Cyclists

Christmas Gifts for the Cyclist in Your Life – Over 20 Gift Ideas!

By | Cycling | No Comments

December is nearly here, and amongst the cries of ‘where has this year gone?!’ you may be able to make out the faint sound of jingle bells hailing the impending festive period and with it the yearly scramble to buy gifts.

Perhaps you are super organised and have already done your Christmas shopping, I salute you. But if you operate on a slightly more human level of organisation you’re probably starting to think about what to buy your friends and loved ones, for those who leave their present buying until the eleventh hour, the humble gift card will have to suffice.

Gifts for Cyclists

Cyclists can be baffling, lycra-clad creatures to the uninitiated, even for those in the know they may seem to have every piece of tech or kit on the market, as such buying gifts for them can prove a challenge. But with the help of our guide to Christmas gifts for Cyclists you’ll be able to find something for every type of cyclist, whether they’ve been naughty or nice

Gifts For The Adventurer Cyclist

Gifts for Adventure Cyclists - Eat Sleep Cycle

Light for Dark Winter Riding
Short, dark winter days mean visibility is especially important at this time of year which calls for a decent light. These Knog front and rear lights are bright, waterproof, versatile and USB rechargeable.
€19.90 -> buy frontlight here and rear light here.

Ortlieb Bikepacking Bag
The bike-packing adventurer needs somewhere to store their things: this Ortlieb Frame-Pack allows you to exploit your bike frame to create valuable stowage.
€99.99 -> buy now!.

Waterproof Jacket
The adventurer will go out in all weather conditions so our SISMIC rain jacket is perfect – waterproof for when the heavens open and easy to fold up and fit in your pocket when not needed.
€120 -> buy now!

Ridley X-Trail Carbon Ultegra Ex-Rental Bike
The ultimate steed for the adventurer is a gravel bike that those who feature at the top of the Nice List this year deserve!
€2,325 -> buy now!

For The Stylish Cyclist

Gifts for Stylish Cyclists

MAAP Long Sleeve Jersey
This long-sleeved pro-fit women’s jersey by MAAP, one of the most stylish cycling brands out there, is a sure fire hit for the female cyclist in your life.
€170 -> buy now!

CHPT3 Origin 1.62 Jersey Jacket
This clever piece of kit from CHPT3 combines a jersey and a jacket making multiple layers a thing of the past!
€200 -> buy now!

Poc Devesa Helmet
Part of the CHPT3 Girona collection this stlyish, custom-designed Poc Devesa helmet is inspired by the eponymous forest in Girona.
€270 -> buy now!

Oakleys Sunglasses
Oakleys are a stylish cycling classic, and there are now myriad styles and colours to choose from. Our favourites are the Jawbreakers.
From €292: -> buy now!

ASSOS Early Winter Long Gloves
These ASSOS gloves are, like all ASSOS kit, simultaneously stylish and practical, perfect for when it’s a little chilly but not enough for the deep-winter kit to come out.
€80 -> buy now!

Rocacorba Food Truck Jumper
Whether you’ve tackled the infamous Rocacorba climb or you’ve never even seen the iconic phone masts, this Rocacorba jumper is a stylish ode to the Girona classic.
€49.95 -> buy now!

Cyclist-Friendly Stocking Fillers

Cyclist Friendly Stocking Fillers - Eat SLeep Cycle Girona

Cycling Book
Read the unsung stories of cycling’s legendary women in Isabel Best’s book Queens of Pain
€30 -> buy now!

Gift Cards
If you’re truly at a loss as to what gift to buy, or you’re in a last-minute Christmas Eve rush then a gift card is the way to go!

Pongo Socks
Socks are usually considered to be a rubbish Christmas present, one up from a lump of coal, but cyclists love a bit of #sockdoping and when they’re as pretty as these Pongo London ones who wouldn’t want Santa to bring them?
€17 -> buy now!

Spurcycle Bell
If they’re already furnished with bike lights you can make sure your cyclist loved-one is both seen and heard with this Spurcycle Bell – engineered for quality sound. Spurcycle bells ring 3x longer than others – and they look cool too!
€49.99 -> buy now!

For The Cyclist Who’s Been Very Nice This Year

Christmas Presents for Cyclists Who Have Been Good

A New Bike
The ultimate Christmas present for a cyclist is of course a bike, and for those who have really stayed on Santa’s good side in 2018 a Ridley Helium X is the perfect gift.
€1,949 -> buy now!

Wahoo
There are few riders nowadays who venture out without some kind of device, we love the Wahoo Elemnt – a versatile all-rounder unlike some counterparts it also has full navigation.
€299.99 -> buy now!

For The Cyclist Who Already Has Everything

Christmas Presents for Cyclists Who Have Everything

Cycling Magazine Subscription
If you’re cyclist loved-one seems to have it all why not get them a subscription to a cycling magazine so they can peruse for yet more stuff? Our pick is Cycling Plus.
From €20 -> buy now!

Strava Summit membership
If, like many, the cyclist in your life spends hours on the bike followed by hours of analysing their ride on Strava then a Strava Summit membership might be for them. Choose a pack based on their goals and interests resulting in tailored extra features.
From €2,00 /month -> buy now!

Winter Cycling Tour
A sure fire way to make a cyclist happy is to give them the perfect excuse to go and enjoy some winter sunshine. Our specially designed winter cycling tours make it possible for cyclists to cycle in sun all year round with popular destinations including Gran Canaria and Southern Spain.
From €1,699 -> buy now!

Christmas Gifts for Cyclists

We hope the above suggestions will help make the Christmas gift buying for the cyclist in your life a bit easier but if you’ve any suggestions that we should add to the list please comment below to let us know. And, if you’d like to find out more about any of our tours as gifts, give us a call now +34 972 649 131 on or contact us online!

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

Cyclist’s Guide To Girona

By | Cycling | No Comments

Girona is now well established as a capital of cycling. It has been decades since the first pros moved here to use the Catalan city as a training base and nowadays close to hundreds of riders call Girona home for at least some part of the year. With this influx of professional riders Girona has raised its profile as a place for those seeking a European cycling holiday. The myriad of stunning rides and routes coupled with a vibrant and beautiful medieval city as a base has drawn ever-increasing numbers of cycling tourists to the area. Girona is such a fantastic place for cycling that you could, in theory, arrive and simply muddle along and still discover a fair amount of what the city and surrounding area has to offer. However being somewhat more organised is preferable and as such we have compiled this comprehensive, but not inexhaustible, guide to Girona cycling.

Where To Eat in Girona

Food occupies the average cyclist’s consciousness to a greater degree than most ‘normal’ people. Whether you arrive starving at dinner time or need to know the best lunch spot, here’s our top picks of where to eat and drink in Girona:

Breakfast

  • +Cub – If you’re heading on a ride with Eat Sleep Cycle then the best place to eat breakfast is right next door! Grab a coffee and a croissant, or something more substantial, before discovering some new roads! Carrer de l’Albereda, 15, 17004, Girona
  • La Fabrica – A Girona classic, La Fabrica now has an established reputation for serving delicious speciality coffee and brunch! Carrer de la Llebre, 3, 17004, Girona
  • Rustik Empordà – Grab a snack on the way out of the door and then ride to Bellcaire D’Empordà to fuel up on a tasty breakfast at Rustik. Carrer de dMolí, 4, 17141, Bellcaire

Where To Eat in Girona - Cyclist's Guide to Girona

Lunch

  • Federal – Just down from the beautiful Girona Cathedral, Federal is a great option for both lunch and dinner, serving brunch earlier in the day and delicious dinners in the evening. Carrere de la Força, 9, 17004, Girona
  • Bionèctar – Delicious, organic plant-based food and juices. Carrer D’en Francesc Eiximenis, 8, 17001, Girona
  • Coffee & Greens – Relatively new in town but already hugely popular thanks to their top-notch coffee and tasty food. Rambla de la Llibertat, 25, 17004, Girona
  • Veggana – For those who avoid meat and dairy Veggana is a great option both for lunch and dinner, serving a range of classic Catalan dishes and burgers without animal products. Carrer de la Rutlla, 108, 17003, Girona
  • El Cafe – a local bar serving tapas, coffee and drinks. Carrer dels Ciutadans, 1 17004, Girona

Dinner

  • L’Arcarda & La Tagliatella – Head to either of these restaurants for delicious pizza & pasta to cram in those carbs ready for long days in the saddle! Rambla de la Llibertat, 38, 17001, Girona & Carrer dels Ciutadans, 10, 17004, Girona
  • Arròs i Peix – Visit Arròs i Peix for delicious fresh seafood. Carrer dels Ciutadans, 20, 17004, Girona
  • Txalaka – Delicious pintxos (a Basque speciality similar to tapas). Carrer Bonastruc de Porta, 4, 17001, Girona
  • L’Alqueria – Fantastic Paella! Carrer Ginesta, 8, 17002, Girona
  • B12 – another one for the veggies and vegans (and even the carnivores)- B12 also has a huge selection of beers! Plaça del Vi, 11, 17004 Girona

Coffee/snacks

  • Mes Cub – For post-ride beers & patatas bravas head to +Cub (right outside the Eat Sleep Cycle Hub) Carrer de l’Albereda, 15, 17004, Girona
  • Espresso Mafia – Another Girona coffee classic! Carrer de la Cort Reial, 5, 17004, Girona
  • Martina Sweet Cakes – This place is exactly as it says on the tin – delicious sweet cakes! Carrer de la Força, 1, 17004, Girona
  • Gelats Rocambolesc – From the owners of the Michellin Star rates Can Roca comes Rocambolesc ice cream, inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, here you can choose from delicious flavours and add toppings such as candy floss. Carrer de Santa Clara, 50, 17001, Girona
  • Crêpdequè? – A ‘hole in the wall’ serving crêpes with topping of your choice, perfect for a snack or desert as you stroll through the Barri Vell. Carrer de les Ballesteries, 49, 17004, Girona
  • Dulce Pikika – If you ride or drive out towards the coast a stop at Dulce Pikika for one of their artisan cakes is a must! Av. Del Cavall Bernat, 143, Local 3, 17250, Castell-Platja d’Aro, Girona

Where To Sleep in Girona

A good night’s rest is essential preparation to taking full advantage of a day’s cycling in Girona, somewhere to safely store your bike is a bonus, the city has it all:

  • Hotel Carlemany – This four star cyclist friendly hotel has a dedicated bike room and in general is accommodating to cyclists.
  • Raset Ciutadans – These are cyclist friendly apartments in the heart of the city, a place to store your bike and a base from which to explore the Old Town.
  • Bravissimo Apartments – Apartments located right above Espresso Mafia in the heart of the old town.

Accommodation for Cyclists in Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Where to Cycle in Girona

Now to the important bit, the cycling!

We’ve waxed lyrical on many occasions about the amazing cycling that Girona has to offer both on and off road (like the Pirinexus 360 cycle route!). When you come to here you will find an enormous selection of roads and iconic climbs at your disposal such as the Girona classic Rocacorba.

Where to Cycle in Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

The best way to find your way around on two wheels is to hire a guide. A local guide will be able to traverse the Girona area with ease and impart local knowledge you would otherwise not be privy to! The advantage of having someone showing you the way means you can focus on enjoying your surroundings without worrying about taking a wrong turn!

Of course, if you prefer to you can also guide yourself by following a route installed on a device which you can pick up from Eat Sleep Cycle. Or you could simply create your own, hire a bike and just explore!

Whichever way you choose to see Girona by bike you will no doubt fall in love with the smooth roads, abundant climbs and fantastic views that it has to offer!

To See & Do In Girona

Whether you’re having a rest day or travelling with a partner who doesn’t cycle there are plenty of things in and around Girona to occupy your time outside of pedalling.

Barcelona
Barcelona is a relatively short train journey away and as is to be expected from a major city there are plenty of activities to do there. Why not hire a Brompton in Barcelona as a novel way to get around the city?

Wine tasting in the Empordà Region
Located just north of Girona is the autonomous region of Empordà the area is known for its wine production and there are a number of vineyards which you can visit either by bike or another form of transport, and taste the produce.

Figueres Dalí Museum
If impressionist art is your thing then a visit to the place that Salvador Dalí called home is a must. The town of Figueres has a Dalí museum dedicated to the artist which is open Tuesday-Sunday.

Local Market
A Girona gastronomic experience in the Local Market is a must!

Aqva Gerunda
Relax and wind down after a long day of cycling in Girona or simply treat yourself regardless at the town’s Roman baths and spa.

Banyoles Lake
The lakeside town of Banyoles is a short ride, drive or bus journey from Girona and is not one to miss, (our Lazy Lunes ride heads there every Monday at 10am). A coffee by the lake is a must as well as exploring the old town. If rowing, swimming or running are your thing it’s also a perfect location for all three.

Running
There are plenty of on and off road running routes around Girona, which can provide a great way to see the city and surrounding area!

Getting to Girona

Of course, the first part to enjoying Girona is getting here! There are numerous ways to travel to the city, depending on where you are coming from.

Girona Airport
By far the simplest way to get here is to fly into Girona. Flights into the tiny Girona Costa Brava airport, however, are usually from Europe only, plus during the winter months they are few and far between. If, however you do manage to get a flight to the local airport you are a mere 12.8km away from the city. There are no trains from Girona airport but buses are regular during the day and cost just €2.75 for a single. If you prefer to have a transfer arranged for you, you can do so via Eat Sleep Cycle for €35.

Barcelona Airport
If you can’t get directly to Girona then don’t fear as Barcelona-El Prat will serve. Albeit slightly further away, it is still relatively easy to transfer from El-Prat to Girona. A Sagales coach will cost you €19, a taxi transfer (which Eat Sleep Cycle can arrange) will cost €180 or if you choose to take the train it will cost €16 plus the metro fare from El Prat to Barcelona’s main station: Sants. If you decide to take the train be aware that this transfer may not be enjoyable with a bike bag and cases!

Madrid Airport
While Madrid is rather more of a jaunt away there are potentially more flight options for international travellers. Why not integrate a trip to the Spanish capital while you’re there? There are direct trains from Madrid to Girona as well as a bus network.

Train from London, Paris and other places in Europe
For those from Europe for whom time is not of the essence the option to take a train may be of interest. Most large city stations will service trains to the area, although beware that you may have to make changes along the way if you’re coming with a bike bag and luggage in tow.

Drive from other parts of Europe
Driving is also a good option for European-based visitors, northern Spain can be reached relatively easily and surprisingly quickly from most of Europe – just watch out for the tolls!

Girona - A City for Cyclists

Girona – A City for Cyclists

Whatever time of year and in whatever capacity you visit Girona its charms are sure to compel you to return. The sheer number of cyclists who settle in the city are testament to how special it really is for two-wheeled exploring! This cyclists guide to Girona is intended to be an up-to-date guide to our home city and we will be updating it regularly with any new recommendations and activities – so be sure to check back!

Girona Cycling Tours

If this has got you inspired to travel to Girona then why not view our Girona cycling tours and check out what camps and packages we have available. If you’re planning to travel here and don’t want to worry about bringing a bike then take a look at our rental bikes in Girona for top-quality, fully-serviced road, gravel and mountain bikes. If you’ve any questions about your possible cycling tour to Girona give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info!

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

How to Prepare for Your European Cycling Holiday - Eat Sleep Cycle

How to Prepare for your European Cycling Holiday

By | Cycling | No Comments

Embarking on a European cycling holiday takes a lot of planning but the right preparation is important to ensuring that everything goes smoothly from the first idea to the first pedal stroke. So what is the best way to go about planning your European cycling holiday?

How To Plan A European Cycling Holiday

When considering a cycling holiday there are two methods to beginning the planning process, namely:

  1. Lead with location: One way to plan your holiday is for your dream location to be the base upon which to build the rest of the aspects of your trip. Whether you’ve always angled to visit the Classic Climbs of The Alps or are dying to see the Dolomites, or maybe there’s that one famous climb you’ve always wanted to tackle, knowing where you want to travel could be the first hurdle to putting your trip together.
  2. Dictated by Dates: It may be that work or other restrictions only allow you to take your cycling vacation at a particular time of year or, if you have done your location research well, you know that a particular location is best visited during a particular season. Starting with a set of dates allows you to choose the location wisely based on what time of year is best to visit.

Once you’ve been able to start the planning process by either working from a location or a date the other items to consider for your European cycling holiday are outlined below.

How to plan a cycling holiday - Eat Sleep Cycle

Equipment

What To Consider for European Cycling Vacation - Eat Sleep CycleWhen it comes to equipment for your cycling holiday the age-old question of the jet-setting cyclist will probably be the first consideration:

‘To travel with a bike or not to travel with a bike?’

If travelling with a bike bag seems like a burden and thinking about baggage handlers throwing your precious carbon around leaves you in a cold sweat then the answer is to hire a bike. Hiring leaves the stress out of travelling and allows you to rest easy knowing you have a bike waiting for you dialled in to your measurements and size on the other side. Just remember your own saddle and pedals!

If, however you prefer to stick to what you know and bring your own bike then this can also be a good option if you know what you are doing. When travelling with a bike it’s vital to make sure all parts are protected, especially the derailleur – there’s no such thing as too much bubble wrap!

Your Travelling Partners

If you are travelling with other riders who are either weaker or stronger than you it’s important to factor the mixed ability into the itinerary. If you are travelling with a partner or spouse it’s worth checking out the surrounding area to ensure that there is enough around for them to occupy themselves while you are riding.

Tour Package or Bespoke?

Deciding whether to join a package tour or go for a bespoke cycling tour depends on both the size of your group and how specific you want your itinerary to be. If you are planning your trip as a large club or group then the best way is bespoke but if you are a lone traveller looking to meet new people whilst discovering new places then a package is the ticket.

Nutrition

If you are usually reliant on one type of nutrition to get you through your rides then you need to make sure you order it before the trip to take it with you. Most tour operators provide nutrition which is great for emergencies but you want to make sure you’re consuming something that your body is used to so as not to provoke any adverse reactions!

Stress-Free European Cycling Holidays

If you take all of these important points into consideration then planning your European cycling holiday should be stress-free and simple, allowing you to relax and focus on counting down the days to the first ride on new roads! If this has got you inspired to plan your next cycling vacation then why not view our cycling tours (and top winter cycling destinations) and see what suits your preferences. For more information give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to get your plans underway!

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

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