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Secure your place on a 2019 Tour with a Refundable €100 deposit

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Secure your place on a late season 2019 Eat Sleep Cycle tour with a fully refundable €100 deposit.

Whether you’re dreaming of racking up some quality miles in Girona, thinking about a luxury tour of the south of France, or plotting a hardcore challenge riding across the Alps or the Pyrenees, we think we’ve got the perfect tour for every cyclist.

Special Offer For Your 2019 Cycling Tour

Whilst money may be tight over the festive season it doesn’t mean you need to delay booking your cycling holiday for 2019. Until 31st January 2019 you can secure your place on any of our scheduled tours with a €100 fully refundable deposit.

6 months before your tour departs a 50% deposit is due – up until this point we’ll give you your €100 deposit back if you change your mind about the tour or can no longer travel.

Give the Gift of Cycling

If there’s a special cyclist in your life why not treat them to the holiday of a lifetime? With four levels of tours for riders of different abilities to choose from, tour collections designed for riders of different tastes & inclinations & destinations to choose from all over Europe there’s a perfect Eat Sleep Cycle tour for you.

Browse our website or drop us an email with your requirements & we’ll be happy to help.

Cycling Inspiration

  1. The ‘big three’ mountain ranges: the Alps, the Pyrenees & the Dolomites are packed full of classic cycling climbs to tick off your bucket list.
  2. The Tour de France. There’s nothing like watching the world’s greatest bike race as it hits the high mountains, especially when you can attempt your own PR up the same climbs.
  3. If you’ve already conquered the cols it’s time to branch out and discover the hidden gems of European cycling. Cycle Trans-Picos, discover Pais Vasco, the Cevennes mountains, Andalucia & the Sierra Nevada.
  4. Looking for luxury? Whilst all of our tours offer quality hotels & excellent food, sometimes only 5* luxury will do. Try our new Tour of Provence, soak up la dolce vita in the Italian Lakes & watch out for our all new Gourmet Tour of Catalunya, coming soon!
  5. Try out a Gran Fondo Challenge. From the Paris Roubaix Challenge & the gravel roads of Tuscany in the Strade Bianche, to the excruciatingly hard slopes of La Purito, to newcomers like the Bonaigua Gran Fondo, these events provide the perfect motivation to train and excuse to travel with your bike.

Check out our Tour Calendar to find a tour to suit your travel dates.

How to Secure Your Tour Place

Complete the form below and we’ll be in touch with any further information and with payment details for your €100 refundable deposit. Remember, 50% of the balance is due 6 months before your tour departs, but up until then we’ll give you your deposit back if you change your mind or can no longer travel.

Special Offer Terms & Conditions

This offer is valid until midnight on January 31st 2019 and can only be applied to scheduled tours as advertised on our website. This offer is not valid for private & bespoke tours.

Your €100 deposit is fully refundable until 6 months before the departure date of the tour.

6 months before the tour departs 50% of the balance is due, with the final balance due 2 months before the start date of your tour.

CHPT3, ESC and Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

CHPT3, ESC & Girona

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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.

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

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!

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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

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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

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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!

Winter Cycling Kit for Southern Spain - Eat Sleep Cycle

Winter Cycling Kit for Southern Spain

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If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you will be familiar with the winter ritual of donning multiple layers before a ride in the cold whilst wistfully remembering the days when shorts and a jersey, and possibly a gilet, were all that was required. There is plenty of technical kit out there that will keep you warm on even the coldest of days, but if the rugging up struggle is real and you’ve decided to head to the warmer climes of a winter cycling destination then extra layers can be cast away.

However, before you bin those base layers and get rid of your gloves it’s important to note that a winter trip to Spain doesn’t always mean shorts weather; Girona, although dry and generally warmer can still get chilly, ditto Calpe, whereas Andalucía, Gran Canaria and the Costa del Sol will generally provide higher temperatures. The balance is a tricky one, so here’s our advice on what winter cycling kit you should bring (and leave behind!) for cycling trips to Southern Spain.

What To Bring When Cycling in Southern Spain During WinterWhat to bring when cycling in South Spain in Winter

 

 

Arm and Leg Warmers:
These garments are essential in everywhere but the warmest of climes. Easy to remove or add en-course arm and leg warmers can be lifesavers. Even if you’re heading to the south of Spain it’s wise to pack them in case the mornings are chilly. If you’re heading anywhere further north they are essential kit for those days when the weather doesn’t quite know what it’s doing.

A Buff:
Breathing in cold air is never pleasant. Lightweight and easy to pack the buff is a no-brainer. If you’re headed to Gran Canaria or similar you may not need to utilise it, however anywhere further north (ergo, most places) you will not regret packing one for those chilly morning starts and descents before the sun heats up.

A Gilet
An important piece of clothing for any type of riding, at any time of year especially if mountains are on the menu: what goes up must come down and sometimes that down can get chilly, no matter how high the temperatures. Easy to pop back in your pocket or leave unzipped for ventilation, a gilet is a must.

A Smart Base-Layer:
Possibly one of the most important items as the core dictates overall temperature, a smart base layer can keep you cool when needed or warm when things cool down. The best kinds of fabric are designed to wick away sweat and control temperature. A short-sleeved merino will serve you well in the north whereas a vest-style one will keep that core temp just right in the south.

A Wind/Rain Jacket:
You’ll hope you don’t need it, however much like an umbrella sod’s law dictates that if you don’t take one you’ll get caught out. Even if it (hopefully) stays in your pocket or suitcase a light jacket may prove a hero item if the weather has a bit of a wobbly. Our own unisex Rain Jacket by Sismic is a  great, lightweight option.

What You Can Leave at Home

We’ve seen what winter cycling kit you should bring to Southern Spain, so here are the items that you can leave behind.

Winter Cycling Gear for Southern Spain - Eat Sleep Cycle

Deep Winter Jacket:
There are some amazing deep winter jackets out there that will keep your temperature just right on chilly deep-winter days. But in places where low temperatures rarely enter single figures you can leave this bulky item at home freeing up more suitcase space for energy bars.

Thermal Overshoes:
Cold, numb feet won’t aid your pedalling but neither will sweaty ones. Of course, in sub-zero temperatures and biting wind a thermal overshoe is essential, but wearing them in the mild climes of Gran Canaria will have you hot-footing it to the changing room. An oversock, however, or light overshoe might not go amiss further north of the country. The Assos Tiburu Toe Cover is a fabulous, portable option to take away the wind chill and protect from any rain.

Thermal Gloves:
Thermal gloves lend a hand (oh yes…) on ice-cold days when changing gears would otherwise be rendered impossible but they are also a nuisance when any degree of dexterity is needed. No such fumbling items will be required on a cycling holiday in the south of Spain and friendlier, less bulky equivalents will suffice in the north.

Longs:
Better for your kit to be in modular form (leg and arm warmers, jackets) than to opt for single pieces of thermal wear. Nobody wants to feel overdressed half-way through a ride and have no way of changing. That being said, a long-sleeved jersey would not go amiss on those chillier days if you’re travelling to Girona or Calpe. Check out MAAP’s long-sleeved offerings for men & women for a super-stylish option.

Wooly Hat:
Cold ears are not pleasant but neither is a hot head! That wooly hat with earflaps is a lifesaver at home but it will have you stopping for a layer-removal before you’ve even got going in the south of Spain.

Winter Cycling in Style

Hopefully the above will help you plan your kit for your next cycling adventure but if you have any questions about what gear you may need for any upcoming trips then let us know! Give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online and we’ll make sure you’re winter cycling in style!

P.S. Join our Eat Sleep Cycle club to get exclusive discounts on brands such as Assos and MAAP in The Hub!

Factor Bikes Rental from Eat Sleep Cycle

Focus On Factor Bikes

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At Eat Sleep Cycle we are, first and foremost, cyclists and as such we are always searching for the best bike. Therefore when the chance to work with Factor Bikes, a brand founded on years of experience within both the carbon manufacturing industry and the peloton, we jumped at the chance. We like to work with like-minded brands, those who engage with their audience and are closely involved with the delivery or production of their product. It was in this vein that we chose Ridley for our rental fleet in 2018 and with the same ideal in mind that we are collaborating with Factor.

Factor Bikes – A Winning Combination

Add to this the input of none other than David Millar and you truly have a winning combination. Indeed, winning is exactly what the professional athletes who have had the privilege to ride bikes made by Factor have gone on to do. In their own words the brand “was conceived from a commitment to innovation, speed and performance through advanced engineering”, commitments for a bike manufacturer. So who are Factor?

From Formula 1 to Factor

Factor has an interesting history: despite being a young brand it has years of experience behind it; founded in 2007 by BF1 systems, the Formula 1 engineering company based in Norfolk, UK, the early models were inspired by the supercars and designed to showcase the engineering prowess of the company. The Factor 001 was launched in 2009 and was a concept bike with a built-in computer, disc brakes and an eye-watering £20,000 price tag.

Nowadays the brand is producing somewhat more attainable but still high-performance models designed for racing. Baden Cooke, a former pro of 14 years and 2003 Tour de France green jersey winner, along with Rob Gitelis, co-founder of Carbon Composite bikes bought the brand during this shift from prototypes to the peloton.

Factor Bikes Romain Bardet - Factor Bike Hire and Purchase

Factor Accolades

Thus, with the brand still in its infancy it took up sponsorship of a World Tour team in the form of the French set-up AG2R La Mondiale in 2017. With this came the need to produce a lightweight race bike that complies with UCI regulations and the 6.58kg Factor O2 was born. Since switching to Factor as a bike sponsor AG2R La Mondiale have enjoyed myriad successes in some of the most prestigious races on the cycling calendar including 3rd on GC and a stage win at the 2017 Tour. The most recent success, however, was Romain Bardet’s silver medal at the world championships in Innsbruck. Few bike brands this young can boast the same accolades.

But Bardet and co. are not the only professional riders involved with Factor. David Millar, former pro cyclist and multiple Tour de France stage winner, has been involved with the brand from early on, developing the design with Cooke and Gitelis having lamented the lack of input he was afforded with regards to the bikes he rode during his career. Millar has since collaborated with Factor via his own brand, CHPT3, on a limited edition One which he described as: ‘the coolest bike I have ever had’.

Factor Bike Hire and Purchase - Eat Sleep Cycle

Factor Bike Hire & Purchase!

If you’re inspired to test out the quality of Factor bikes then you’re in luck, as the O2 disc with Shimano Ultegra di2 will be available both for bike hire and purchase from our Girona Hub. To find out more about what the Factor bikes that are available give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 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!

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Eat Sleep Cycle

Classic Climbs of the Alps

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The Alps have long been a classic destination for those seeking a cycling vacation in Europe. It is, after all the place where the fiercest battles of the Tour are won and lost, where almost every climb is a ‘classic’, the roads are smooth and the terrain is challenging and varied. To that end we have decided we simply must add it to our ever-expanding list of European locations, should you need to be convinced any further as to why the Alps are a must-ride for every cyclist take a look at our run-down of the classic climbs of the Alps!

Alpe d’Huez

By far the most famous Alpine climb Alpe d’Huez is known for it’s 21 hairpins.
It may not be the toughest, steepest, longest or most beautiful of climbs but it provides what must be one of the most iconic stretches of climbing in cycling history. The climb has been used 30 times in the Tour de France so far, usually to dramatic effect. One of the most memorable ascents of Alpe d’Huez was that of 1997 when El Pirata, Marco Pantani, flew past Jan Ullrich on his way to the fastest ever ascent (37 mins 35 seconds). Mere mortals fulled on jam sandwiches and espresso can aim for the hour as being an exceptionally good time.

Alpe d’Huez Stats:

  • 14.45km
  • 8.1% average gradient
  • 11.5% max gradient
  • 1,071m elevation gain
  • 1,850m elevation at the summit

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Alpe d’Huez - Cycling-Tour

Col du Galibier

From St Michel-de-Maurienne
The Galibier is one of the toughest climbs in cycling. Most famously tackled from the northern side it is an epic 34 km long. To reach the pass you must first climb the Col du Télégraphe (12km at 7%). After a 5km descent to the ski town of Valloire the road gets steeper & steeper en route to a mighty summit at 2,642 m.
It is the altitude towards the top combined with the length of the climb which make the Galibier so tough. It is the fourth highest paved pass in France at a (literally) breath-taking 2,642m.

Col du Galibier Stats:

  • 34km
  • 5.5% average gradient
  • 12% max gradient
  • 1,924m elevation gain
  • 2,642m elevation at the summit

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Col du Galibier Alps - Cycling Tour

Col de la Colombière

North from Scionzier
Featured in the 2018 Tour de France and La Course
In the Arve valley near to the town of Cluses, Scionzer is where the Colombière starts proper. The climb can be split into two parts as there is an ‘easier’ point around half way with a plateau. The first section is under the cover of the forest and rises gradually from 3% up to 8% in the last few kilometres before it levels off. After, the road becomes a lot steeper with the gradient rising and rising up to the 10-11% slopes at the top. The rocky landscape gives way to make the summit visible from around 3km to go which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how long the final few kms feel!

Col de la Colombière Stats:

  • 16.3km
  • 6.8% average gradient
  • 10.2% max gradient
  • 1,108m elevation gain
  • 1,613m elevation at the summit

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Col de la Colombière - Alps Cycling Tour

Col de la Madeleine

South from la Chambre
The Col de la Madeleine is one of the most beautiful climbs in the Alps but it’s also one of the toughest. A brutal 19.2km at an average of 8% with 40 hairpins offers no respite; the saving grace is that the gradient remains pretty constant throughout meaning you can get into a (painful) rhythm.
The climb regularly features in the Tour de France but was last used five years ago in 2013 on Stage 19 between Bourg d’Oisans and Le Grand-Bornand meaning it’s long overdue a visit!

Col de la Madeleine Stats:

  • 19.2km
  • 8% average gradient
  • 12% max gradient
  • 1,529m elevation gain
  • 1,999m elevation at the summit

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Col de la Madeleine - Biking Tour

Col d’Izoard

South from Guillestre
Col d’Izoard is steeped in cycling history, the Tour de France has featured the climb on 35 occasions but surprisingly only one of those was a summit finish. That finish was in 2017 and was won by French rider and polka-dot jersey winner Warren Barguil. On that same day even more history was made as the women’s pro peloton also raced to the summit with Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten taking the win and posting a faster time than all but two male riders that day…
The climb itself has a deceptively low average gradient of 4.3% which is due to the gradual lower slopes, but the climb proper begins after around 15 kilometres whereafter the gradient pushes up to between 7 and 11%. The scenery alone is worth summiting the Izoard for, from the dramatic Casse Déserte to the panoramic Alpine views that can be seen from the top.

Col d’Izoard Climb Stats:

  • 34.4km
  • 4.3% average gradient
  • 11.5% max gradient
  • 1,538m elevation gain
  • 2,361m elevation at the summit

Classic Climbs of the Alps - Col d’Izoard - Biking Tour

Alps Cycling Tour Guides

To set up our Alps tours we enlisted the knowledge of two people who know the Alps like we know Girona – inside out – meet our Alps Tour Leaders.

Ed Greene:
Two years living in the Alps honing his climbing skills while racing means Ed knows the area like the back of his hand. With racing now behind him he frequents France more for the boulangeries than the climbs and cafè and Croissant are now the most frequently used words in his extensive French vocabulary.

Christian Vaughan:
Christian feels very at home in the Alps and considers it his second home. He loves the variation of the small and massive climbs that reward with those fantastic ‘top of the world’ views. Top that off with the fabulous descents and there is no better way to spend a day on the bike. Experience is key in the mountains to ensure that you get the best from the route and weather.  High points—Col d’Izoard, Col de Sarenne, Col du Galibier. Christian also has extensive experience as an athlete, mechanic and coach.

Cycling Vacation of the Classic Climbs of the Alps

Cycling Tour of the Classic Climbs of the Alps

If the these classic climbs of the Alps have peaked your interest then make sure to get in touch with us today! Take on all of these epic climbs and more guided by our expert leaders on our Classic Climbs of the Alps tour. Give us a call 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!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - A Cyclist's Paradise - Eat Sleep Cycle

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes – A Cyclist’s Paradise

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Gran Canaria is truly a cyclist’s paradise. The largest of the Canary Islands looks like it was designed by road cyclists for road cyclists with its smooth tarmac, quiet roads, minimal rainfall and temperatures in the mid twenties year-round. The island is only 100km West of Morrocco and on the same latitude as the Sahara, but while there are sandy beaches in the South it’s no desert, Gran Canaria’s landscape is extremely diverse, from volcanic and barren to green vegetation depending on where you are on the island. It may not be home to the biggest, hardest or most iconic climbs but Gran Canaria has a lot to offer and certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to riding uphill (a compact is essential).

So why should your next European cycling holiday be in Gran Canaria? Take a look at our highlights and Gran Canaria cycle routes and see for yourself!

The Valley of the Tears

The most revered climb on the island is colloquially known as The Valley of the Tears, and you would be forgiven for turning on the waterworks after one glance at the stats: The climb is 11.8km long with an average gradient of 8% (bear in mind that this includes sections of descent), the maximum gradient is 25% and it’s likely to take the average punter at least one hour to complete. VOTT starts tough, with 25% gradients; so don’t attack the bottom too hard – you will need that power later on!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - The Valley of Tears

Puerto de Mogán

After you’ve wiped away the tears take a visit to the Porto de Mogan, known as the “little Venice of Gran Canaria”. The fishing Port is home to many hotels and restaurants and of course, the beach! Take some well-deserved post-ride recovery time on the beach followed by dinner with a sea view.

Pico de Las Nieves

The highest point on Gran Canaria and most commonly attacked from the town of Maspalomas, the climb up to Pico de las Nieves is a long one: 40km to be precise with an average gradient of 4.7%. The trick to getting through it is to break it up; the road lends itself to this as there are short descents interspersed throughout. With 11km to go after joining the GC600 comes the hardest part of the climb, the gradients steepen drastically. At this point you will have the top and the Roque Nublo (rock in the clouds),an ancient sacred monument, in sight.

A Perfect Winter Cycling Destination

Gran Canaria offers so many hidden gems and is simply somewhere that you must experience for yourself to believe. Deep winter is the perfect time to visit, when Northern Europe freezes dig out the summer bib shorts and basque in the wall-to-wall sun and perfect temperatures! Check out some top European winter cycling destinations here!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - Winter Cycling Destination - Eat Sleep Cycle

Gran Canaraia Cycling Vacation

If Gran Canaria sounds like your next European cycling vacation then take a look at our Gran Canaria ride camp tour – brand new for 2019! Give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to find out more about a cycling tour to Gran Canaria!

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