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Cycling

Calpe Winter Cycling Holiday - 5 Reasons You Should Go - Eat Sleep Cycle

Calpe Winter Cycling Holiday – 5 Reasons You Should Go!

By Cycling No Comments

Much like migratory birds, cyclists can be found heading south for winter in search of warmer, sunnier climes. There are a select few European destinations which take in the bulk of this exodus, amongst them are Girona, Mallorca, Gran Canaria and of course, Calpe. Each of these places has its own merit and any self-respecting fair weather rider should tick them all off at some point, Calpe, however, is one of the original and best tried and tested winter cycling destination.

Near Perfect Winter Cycling Conditions

The primary focus for choosing any winter cycling destination is the weather. After all, isn’t the point of a winter training camp to escape to the sun and replicate those hazy summer cycling days? Calpe offers near-perfect ‘winter’ cycling conditions, with 325 sunny days per year and temperatures during the winter months ranging between a mild 16°C and a balmy 25°C.

Calpe - Cycling Training Ground - Eat Sleep Cycle

Calpe – A Tried and Tested Cycling Training Ground

Calpe has long been the favourite winter training camp location for myriad professional teams, with the likes of Dimension Data, INEOS, Trek-Segafredo and Sunweb choosing to prepare for the season ahead on the Costa Blanca. If it’s good enough for the pros…

The Range of Terrain

Calpe boasts a wide range of terrain, making it a fantastic place for winter training. There are flat roads, rolling roads, and plenty of mountain climbs to choose from. You can ride through forests, along the coast and through towns as you traverse the smoothly-paved roads. This variety of training roads means that whether you want an easy coffee cruise or a monster day in the mountains there’s something for you.

Calpe Winter Cycling Holiday - Calpe Scenery - Eat Sleep Cycle

Calpe Scenery

Depending on the season, you can find orange groves and pink-tinged almond blossom lining the aforementioned smooth Calpe roads. This, accompanied by panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea from the top of climbs and the rolling, imposing figures of the mountains make Calpe a scenic delight, with perhaps the exception of Benidorm….

Spanish Culture

Of course, Calpe may be the place to be for the pros during winter, but there are just as many amateur riders who flock there too and whereas the pros must restrain when it comes to food and other festivities in preparation for the coming season, amateur riders bear no such professional responsibility. As such, a cycling holiday in Calpe can be augmented by a hearty enjoyment of the Spanish way of life: post-ride cervezas by the beach and a mid-ride tapas or bocadillo enjoyed on a lengthy coffee stop are highly recommended, after all, you’ve earned it.

Key Calpe Climbs - Calpe Winter Cycling - Eat Sleep Cycle

Key Calpe Climbs

  • Cumbre del Sol: There are a few ways to tackle this climb, but none of them are easy. The Vuelta a Espana peloton have grovelled their way up the Cumbre del Sol from Alcasar a few times taking on the brutal 3.2 km at 11.9%. Those who don’t subscribe to the mindset of getting it over with quickly can climb from Benitachell which is 6.3 km at 6%.
  • Col de Rates: A crack at Col de Rates is obligatory on a cycling holiday in Calpe. The 6 km climb has gained legendary status among all types of rider and is known as the local testing climb owing to its perfect length and steady 5% average gradient.
  • Tudons: A category one climb at 15.3 km long with an average gradient of 5% this is one of the toughest climbs in the area.
  • Confrides: If the length of this 10.4 km and 4.4% climb seems all a bit much then take a deep breath and appreciate the beautiful almond blossom lining the roads…
  • Vall d’EboThis is a stunning climb, 8 km long with an average gradient of 6% but the views and switchbacks can provide a welcome distraction!

Calpe Ride Camp - Calpe Winter Cycling - Eat Sleep Cycle

Keen to Ride in Calpe?

Check our our Calpe Ride Camp and book online! Want to know more? Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you asap!

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 Holiday Levels - Which One Right for You - Eat Sleep Cycle

Cycling Holiday Levels: Which One is Right for You?

By Cycling No Comments

So you’re in the process of choosing a cycling holiday but you’re not sure which level is right for you? Our four tour levels cover every type of cycling holiday out there, from leisure to epic and everything in between. Here’s our guide on how to choose the right cycling holiday for you based on your level.

Leisure Cycling Holiday

A leisure cycling holiday is in essence an active holiday. The main goal is to combine easy cycling with relaxing and discovering the culture and cuisine of somewhere new.

What kind of cycling should I expect on this type of tour?
– Distances are up to 50 km with up to 500 m of climbing which can be completed at an easy pace and with no time limits.

Who is this tour level suited to?
– People who cycle one to two times a week.

What bike should I hire?

  • Ridley Tempo Disc: A versatile bike which you can ride on the road or on bike paths.
  • Ridley tempo disc electric: For that extra boost.

Eat Sleep Cycle Leisure Cycling Tours - Tour of the Costa Brava

Eat Sleep Cycle Leisure Cycling Tours

  1. Tour of the Costa Brava – this tour is all about experiencing the best of the Costa Brava region in the off-season. Quiet roads, quiet beaches and plenty to see and do. Rides average 60km a day and the itinerary is flexible.
  2. Family Cycle Tour – Ride from the Pyrenees to the Costa Brava and explore Catalunya whilst staying active as a family.

Intermediate Cycling Holiday

An intermediate tour involves more riding than a leisure tour but the aim is still to make the most of exploring the area and taking in the sights.

Who is this tour level suited to?
– People who ride 2-4 times a week.

What kind of cycling should I expect on this type of tour?
– Distances are up to 80 km with up to 1,000 m of climbing

What bike should I hire?

  • Ridley Fenix SL Disc: The Fenix is Ridley’s premier all round carbon road bike developed for strength, durability and all day ride comfort.
  • Basso Venta: Whilst the Basso Venta is inspired by Italian racing the bike is designed for long, comfortable days in the saddle.
  • Orbea Gain M20: The Orbea Gain is an industry leading electric road bike with sleek design and integrated technology.

Eat Sleep Cycle Intermediate Cycling Tours - La Rioja & Pais Vasco

Eat Sleep Cycle Intermediate Cycling Tours

  1. La Rioja & Pais Vasco Luxury Tour: Explore the regions of La Rioja and the Basque Country in style over six nights in luxury accommodation.
  2. Mallorca Experience: Uncover the hidden gems of Mallorca by bike, taste the delicious local cuisine, explore the culture of the island and relax in 4* hotels.

Advanced Cycling Holiday

Now we’re getting a little bit more difficult. An advanced level tour is a challenge to take on and be proud of yourself to complete.

What kind of cycling should I expect on this type of tour?
– 100 to 120 km a day with 2,000 to 3,000m of climbing

Who is this tour level suited to?
– people who regularly ride long distances with plenty of climbing.

What bike should I hire?

  • Factor O2 VAM: The Factor O2 VAM Disc rewrites the rules to make the super-light O2 even lighter.
  • Basso Astra: The Basso Astra promises a responsive, high speed ride & pure Italian style.
  • Ridley Helium X: Ridley’s Helium carbon frame balances lightness with stiffness, offering a great bike for those who like to climb without feeling any flex when putting the power down.

Eat Sleep Cycle Advanced Cycling Tours - Trans Pyrenees

Eat Sleep Cycle Advanced Cycling Tours

  1. Trans Pyrenees: From Girona to San Sebastian via some of the most iconic mountains in the Pyrenees
  2. Calpe Ride Camp: Join the pros in their training ground of choice over the winter and put in some quality kms whilst soaking up the winter sunshine!

Epic Cycling Holiday

Only for the brave, an epic tour takes things to the next level!

What kind of cycling should I expect on this type of tour?
– over 120 km a day with over 3,000 m of climbing.

Who is this tour level suited to?
– hard-core cyclists who love a challenge!

What bike should I hire?

  • Factor O2 VAM: The Factor O2 VAM Disc rewrites the rules to make the super-light O2 even lighter.
  • Basso Astra: The Astra promises a responsive, high speed ride & pure Italian style.
  • Ridley Helium SLX Di2: The Helium SLX is the top of Ridley’s Helium line. Ridley have created the lightest frame possible, without losing any stiffness.

Eat Sleep Cycle Epic Cycling Tours - La Purito

Eat Sleep Cycle Epic Cycling Tours

  1. La Purito: One of Europe’s toughest sportives 145 km with a huge 5,200m of climbing!
  2. Raid Pyrenees: The Raid Pyrenees is an epic 100 hour Challenge and cycle from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea via the most iconic cols in the Pyrenees!

Cycling Holiday - Spain - Eat Sleep Cycle

Ready to Start Your Cycling Holiday?

Browse our Cycling Tours now to choose the right one for you. Still not sure? Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you asap!

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

Getting to Girona

By Cycling No Comments

HOW TO GET TO GIRONA

So you’ve booked a cycling vacation in Girona but you don’t know the best way to get here? We’ve got you covered! Girona is well linked to lots of public transportation so there are plenty of ways to get here, either by plane, train or automobile… read below to discover the many ways to get to cycling’s home town!

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.

Winter timetable: https://www.sagales.com/uploads/20181026112800_271667854bfbed2571041bea7fa926f1022d610b.pdf

Summer timetable:  https://www.sagales.com/uploads/20180320161558_aab235e0bd5dfad3b928d77ea29b935b1cc8f1ad.pdf

The simplest way is to have a transfer arranged for you, you can do so via Eat Sleep Cycle for €35.

From Girona Bus/Train station to the old town is about 1.5km distance (15 min walk).

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 around €180. If you choose to take the train, the fast option takes a mere 40 minutes and costs €17 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!

If you arrive at T1 go downstairs following the arrows for a bus (free) between T1 & T2, this bus will take you to T2, then follow signs for RENFE, where you can take the red metro train to Barcelona Sants – R2 line. This train ride takes about 20 minutes. Purchase a single way ticket using the machines on your left hand side as you walk in the station (Single from €4.50). 

Once you are in Barcelona Sants follow signs for the High speed train (AVE), platform 1-6. Try to purchase the tickets online in advance or using the machines there. It’s easy! Please note there is a 20-minute window before the train leaves, that is why we recommend to purchase your ticket in advance! (single from €16.50). http://www.renfe.com/

When you carry a bike box, the High speed train may not allow you on because they allow only one big suitcase (either your luggage or the bike box but NOT BOTH).

The alternative is the regional train that takes 1:40 minutes to reach Girona and there are no limitations to suitcases carried on. 

The easiest way is to take a taxi to Barcelona Sants (around €26), then High-Speed train to Girona.

 

MADRID AIRPORT

While Madrid is over 680 km away there are potentially more flight options for international travelers. 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.

Cycling-Vacation-Spain-Girona-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-How-to-Get-To-Girona

TRAIN FROM OTHER PARTS OF 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. Check out the Renfe train website to plan your journey. 

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! There is plenty of parking around the city, take a look at this map to get an idea (n.b ‘gratuit’ means free).

PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY

Now you’ve sorted out how to get here it’s time to start planning! Read our Cyclist’s Guide to Girona to discover the best of what our home city has to offer!

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!

Factor O2 VAM Bike Review - The Verdict - ESC

Factor O2 VAM Bike Review – The Verdict

By Cycling No Comments

The results of our Factor O2 VAM Bike Review are in! If you read our preview blog you will have seen that we are adding the brand new Factor O2 VAM to our Girona bike hire rental fleet! Well, the bikes arrived at The Hub last week and of course, the first thing we did was take them for a spin! We held a test ride event with Eat Sleep Cycle team members and a few Girona locals and headed out on a 50km hilly loop to put the VAM through its paces.

Factor O2 VAM Bike – Rave Reviews

We asked some of those who joined the ride to give us their verdict on the VAM and sure enough, the bike got rave reviews all round!

“Feels Like Skiing”

Factor O2 VAM Bike Review - Eat Sleep Cycle - Sam Tabotta

“The Factor VAM – possibly the perfect bike for avid cyclists and racers, not only does it have the coolest stock paint job but also an aggressive feel that urges you to step on the pedals. The sensation of riding the VAM is hard to describe, the best I can do is say that it feels like skiing. You cant feel any loss in power through the bike, it never slows down and when riding out of the saddle or even sprinting all of the energy is transferred to the wheels making you feel as though you can go fast forever.”

– Sam Tabotta

“Feels Like It Has A Motor In It”

Factor O2 VAM Bike Review - Eat Sleep Cycle - Girona - Lee Comerford

“The Factor O2 VAM feels like it has a motor in it. Descending is thrilling, like a roller coaster, not quite scary but close enough to scary to be incredible! It’s a bike that needs to be ridden fast. Cruising along, of course it is smooth and an easy ride, but when you put the hammer down then you really feel the power of the VAM”

– Lee Comerford (Eat Sleep Cycle partner)

“Classic…Clean…Sharp…Stiff”

Factor O2 VAM Bike Review - The Verdict - Eat Sleep Cycle - Marco Hemskerk

“I like the look of the bike. Classic, clean and low profile in colour. Feeling on the bike was good. You immediately feel the bike wants to ‘go’. The bike also felt secure. Already after the second corner in the descent I felt confident and could descend fast. The feeling is ‘sharp’ in the corners. I did a sprint uphill and that was fast. The frame is stiff and the feeling is that power is speed. So in short I really liked it. If only I had the money…”

– Marco Hemskerk

Factor O2 VAM Bike Rental - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Factor O2 VAM Bike Rental

Do you want to try the Factor O2 VAM for yourself? Reserve yours now by visiting our bike hire portal or give our team a call on +34 972 754 301.

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to join our newsletter to receive regular updates on our latest tours!

 

Photos by Daan Van Meeuwen

Cycling Nutrition for Riding Trans Pyrenees - Chimpanzee Nutrition

Cycling Nutrition for Riding Trans Pyrenees With the Help of Chimpanzee Nutrition

By Cycling No Comments

We’ve already touched on the subject of nutrition for cyclists in a previous blog, but we wanted to look a little closer at what it takes to fuel your body on an epic cycling tour. When spending so much time in the saddle day on day, getting the right nutrition and the right amount of calories is vital. This means taking in the right amounts of the right fuel at the right times, whether in the form of bars, gels or energy drink – finishing an epic bike tour takes more than just good legs!

Chimpanzee Bars - Eat Sleep Cycle Nutrion Partners

Chimpanzee Bars – Our Nutrition Partners

Chimpanzee are our nutrition partners for our tours and their natural, vegan and gluten free products go down a treat amongst our guests! As the official sponsors of climbers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and skiiers the brand know a thing or two about how to fuel an epic adventure. When you’re in the saddle for days at a time there is nothing worse than having chewy, tasteless bars that you don’t even want to eat and having your ride suffer as a consequence. Nutrition that is tasty as well as effective is key – if your energy bars are a delicious flavour then you’ll be looking forward to eating them. Chimpanzee’s flavours include banana and chocolate, peanut butter, lemon and even cashew caramel, the flavours are so good you’ll be wanting to snack on them whether you’re riding or not! In the hydration department, refreshing grapefruit and lemon flavours make sure you’re keen to quench your thirst and their tasty gels in flavours like forest fruits and piña colada using 100% natural ingredients are both tasty and gentle on the stomach.

Sample Day of Ride Nutrition: Trans Pyrenees

So, let’s have a look at what cycling nutrition for riding Trans Pyrenees actually entails with a sample of what you should be looking to consume during the day.

Ride Stats

  • Ride: Bagneres du Luchon – Saint Savin via the Peyresourde, Aspin and Tourmalet
  • Distance: 106 km
  • Climb: 3,600 m

Breakfast: Eat a combination of protein and slow-release carbohydrates, e.g Oats followed by an omelette.

On The Bike: Make sure you are hydrating fully, even in colder weather, by drinking at least one 500ml bottle every hour. For extra hydration and energy add an isotonic energy powder. Make sure you are replacing lost calories and energy by consuming energy bars and gels at regular intervals. Remember: if you’re feeling hungry or thirsty it’s already too late so preempt that bonk by eating and drinking! If your ride is long enough to overlap with lunch time then a stop for a more substantial refuel at a cafe or restaurant is always a good idea, (or a carefully-prepared roadside lunch, if you’re on an Eat Sleep Cycle tour)!

Cycling Nutrition for Riding Trans Pyrenees - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Recovery: Take a recovery protein drink to promote the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

Dinner: Make sure you replenish those resources and take in enough energy for the next day’s ride. Eat plenty of carbohydrates and proteins, staying hydrated is also important you’re on vacation, after all, so a tipple or two won’t hurt…

Trans Pyrenees Cycling Tour with Eat Sleep Cycle

Fuelled and Ready For Your European Cycling Tour?

To find out more about our European Cycling Tours give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online! We still have some spots available for 2019 and our 2020 calendar is already starting to fill so make sure you contact us asap to save your saddle!

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

 

Photos: Anton Miettinen

Factor O2 VAM Bike Preview - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Factor O2 VAM Bike Preview

By Cycling No Comments

New bike day is always exciting for any cyclist, and here at Eat Sleep Cycle we’re lucky in that it happens for us fairly regularly and with some of the best brands on the market. When we received our Factor O2 One More Lap rental bikes back in October as part of our ongoing collaboration with local brand CHPT3, it was like Christmas had come early and we couldn’t wait to introduce them to our guests. Now, after 9 months as part of our fleet we’ve had rave reviews from tour guests and Girona bike hire guests alike about the O2. That’s why when Factor released the O2 VAM we were sure that this would be a bike we wanted at the Hub.

The Best Bike In The World

Rob Gitelis, owner of Factor made the bold statement that:

“After over 20 years in the industry, I decided to throw out the rules and challenge Factor with one simple goal: to develop the absolute best bike in the world. With the O2 VAM I truly believe we have achieved this goal, and I can’t wait for our customers to experience this bike.”

Factor O2 VAM Bike Preview - Velocità Ascensionale Media

Factor O2 VAM – Velocità Ascensionale Media

Anyone familiar with what ‘VAM’ means will immediately know that the implication is that this is a climbing bike. For the uninitiated, VAM is an abbreviation for the Italian: velocità ascensionale media which translates to “average ascent speed” or “mean ascent velocity”, in other words, a way of measuring climbing speed. Therefore, it goes without saying that this is a light bike. With many of our European cycling tours taking place in high mountains, often with steep gradients, where a light bike can mean a world of difference to the rider the Factor O2 VAM is the perfect fit. While the original Factor O2 is light, the VAM is lighter still, 100g lighter to be precise, weighing in at 690g.

Factor O2 VAM Bike Preview - Bike Improvements

The Subtle Improvements of the Factor O2 VAM

Indeed, the VAM may look a lot like it’s predecessor but from gathering data from the original O2 Factor have made a number of subtle improvements for the VAM, in their own words:

“The O2 VAM combines three years of data from our O2 Project with demanding fabrication techniques, redefining what is possible and shattering industry norms. Turning convention on its ear, VAM shines on the unforgiving ramps of Passo dello Stelvio, but owing to its unprecedented stiffness to weight ratio and unparalleled ride quality, is equally suitable for a local century ride.”

Factor O2 VAM Bike Preview - What The Press Say

The Factor 02 VAM – What The Press Say!

We can’t wait to test this bike for ourselves, so make sure you check back for a fully-detailed review when we finally get in the saddle next month. Meanwhile, let’s see what the cycling press have to say about the bike:

  • “From the very first pedal stroke, the O2 VAM is everything you’d expect it to be: light, stiff and quick to change direction.” – Cycling Tips
  • “Factor O2 VAM sheds 100g off their top road bike… and makes it ride better” – Bike Rumor
  • “up there with the lightest of the light” – Bike Radar

Factor O2 VAM Bike Rental - Coming Soon

Factor 02 VAM Rental – Coming Soon!

With such rave reviews the Factor 02 VAM bound to be a huge hit as one of our rental bikes, to find out more about renting the Factor O2 VAM visit our Bike Hire web page, give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 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!

Cycling & Well-Being- How Cycling Can Help Your Well-being

Cycling & Well-Being: How Cycling Can Help Your Well-being

By Cycling No Comments

It’s well-known that cycling is good for staying fit, but it’s also hugely beneficial to our general well-being too!

What is Well-being?

Well-being can take on many forms; physical well-being, mental & emotional well-being and social well-being. In some ancient philosophies such as the Māori philosophy of Hauora, well being is also linked to our relationship to the land. Meanwhile, the dictionary definition of well-being is simply: “the state of feeling healthy and happy” but how can this be achieved through cycling?

Cycling & Well-Being - Healthy Body

Healthy Body – Physical Well-being

There are countless physical health benefits to cycling, the most obvious being increased cardiovascular fitness and improved control of blood pressure which come from practising most endurance sports. In addition, regular cycling can also improve sleep, studies have shown that as little as 20-30 minutes of cycling every other day can have a positive effect on sleep quality, which is vital to maintaining mental as well as physical health. Cycling is also likely to lead to increased energy in day-to-day tasks thanks to improved muscular strength and stamina.

An additional physical benefit of cycling is that it is a low-impact sport meaning that even those who are prone to injury from higher-impact sports such as running can ride their bikes with peace of mind.

Cycling & Well-Being - A Healthy Mind From Bike Rides

A Healthy Mind From Bike Rides

Of course, physical and mental well-being are intrinsically linked, taking care of your body is proven to go hand-in-hand with mental health and it is well-known that exercise releases endorphins or happy hormones, but it isn’t just the physical aspect of cycling which can improve mental well-being.

A solo bike ride can be a great way to get some mental breathing-space and is a chance to unwind and spend a few hours of undisturbed ‘you time’. Time alone on the bike can often have a meditative effect leaving you feeling cleansed of worries and stress.

Cycling can also be a great self-esteem boost from the satisfaction of completing a tough challenge, increased fitness or learning a new skill, although it’s important not to fall into the trap of attaching too much self-worth into fitness achievements – maintaining balance is key!

Social Well-being

Cycling can be an incredibly social sport and is a way to connect with lots of people from all walks of life. Be it through a club or a team, or even a cycling vacation, it’s easy to make life-long connections through the cycling community.

Of course, it’s also a great way to give back to others by teaching skills to newcomers, volunteering at events organising group rides or even raise funds for a charity. Of course, all of these interconnect to add to improved mental and overall well-being.

Cycling & Well-Being - Connection to the Land

Connection to the Land

In contrast to driving a car, riding a bike leaves you exposed to the elements and slower speeds mean that you have more opportunity to take in your surroundings and connect to nature. Cycling also gives you an appreciation for the structure of the land as you are more aware of undulations and changes in the road or trail, thus connecting you more closely to the land which some cultures consider to be a key element of well-being.

How Has Cycling Changed Your Life?

How does cycling improve your well-being? We’d love to hear how cycling has changed your life – Tweet us @eat_sleep_cycle or drop an email to [email protected].

Motivated to ride? Why not book yourself a cycling holiday and take advantage of all of these amazing benefits whilst in a stunning European location, browse our tours to find the perfect one for you!

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

Ridley X Trail - Bike Review - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Ridley X Trail Bike Review

By Cycling No Comments

Gravel cycling is the ‘next big thing’ in cycling right now. However, the term ‘gravel’ has a number of interpretations depending on who you speak to; for some gravel riding constitutes riding on any non-paved road whereas for others it can range from that all the way to technical single track. It is therefore pretty difficult to speak broadly of ‘gravel’ and incorporate everyone’s individual preferences and equally difficult for a bike to cover all bases defined as ‘gravel’. However, at its most basic definition a gravel bike is one which can be ridden both on and off road seamlessly, so where does the Ridley X-Trail sit?

Ridley X-Trail Review – Comfort & Versatility

Defined by the brand as an ‘all road’ bike the Ridley X-Trail truly is a bike for those who like the option to be able to explore off-road rather than those who want to leave the tarmac almost completely behind. You would be forgiven for mistaking it for a cyclo-cross bike, but what differentiates it from a cross machine is the absence of an aggressive, racy geometry which allows for more comfort when taking things off-road. Indeed, comfort and versatility are the name of the game for the X-Trail, made for long days in the saddle exploring new roads which may not all turn out to be paved ones but will certainly not be too technical.

Ridley X Trail Bike Review Comfort and Versatility

Ideal for Both Paved & Gravel Surfaces

In terms of gravel cycling in Girona the Ridley X-Trail is perfectly suited to taking on the Pirinexus route which is mainly off-road but on purpose-built gravel paths constructed over a disused train line. However, there are plenty of excellent trails around Girona too which the Ridley X-Trail would be perfectly at home on so long as the terrain doesn’t take too technical a turn or indeed to steep, at which point the weight of the bike can prove cumbersome. The maximum tyre width (36mm) also inhibits you from delving too far into MTB territory however it’s a trade-off between that and the speed on the tarmac and purists would argue that if you want to ride MTB trails then you should be riding an MTB. The X-trail does however weigh in quite heavy, at 8.65 kg.

All in all, if it’s out-and-out gravel cycling that comes closer to mountain biking that you’re looking for then a bike such as the Basso Palta might be more suitable, but for those who want the option of exploring both paved and gravel surfaces and aren’t worried about catching KOMs the Ridley X Trail is a great option.

Ridley X Trail - Bike Review Analysis

Ridley X Trail Review Analysis

Overall the Ridley X Trail is a great bike, especially for riding on both paved and gravel surfaces and in this section we’ll look at the positives and weaknesses of the bike.

Positives:

  • Fun to ride
  • Fast on the road & looks good
  • Option for mudguards

Weaknesses

  • Max tyre width – only clearance for 36mm
  • Quite heavy
  • Not particularly responsive.

Ridley X Trail - Bike Review - Eat Sleep Cycle Bike Rental Girona

Want to try the Ridley X-Trail for Yourself?

You can rent the Ridley X-Trail or the Basso Palta from us during your next Girona cycling vacation – we run gravel tours in Girona all year around and are we’re heading Trans Alps on gravel this July which is going to be epic! Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 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!

Taking on the Trans Pyrenees Challenge for Charity

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Amy Cuthbertson is a cyclist from the UK who started riding in late 2016 and is taking on a big challenge this year. She joined us for our Girona Women’s camp in April in training for her goal of completing the Trans Pyrenees Challenge in June in aid of two charities: The Brain Tumour Charity and Duchenne UK.

We caught up with her to find out why she decided to take on the challenge, and how she’s preparing for it.

Describe your personal journey and why you are taking on this challenge.

I started cycling in October 2016, having previously been allergic to exercise, unless you count snowboarding which is, if I’m honest, more drinking than exercise.  My first ride was 3 miles and I was toast! That first year on a bike is pretty exciting because everything is a milestone. My first 20 miles, first 50 miles, first 100km, and then first 100 miles, each box ticked was a nod to the progress I’d made.  In March 2018 I went to Mallorca with Queensbury Queens of the Mountain CC, my all-female cycling club, just for a weekend, but I got to tackle my first long climb in Sa Calobra, and I discovered a love for climbing. So in June I headed off to Italy in search of some more long climbs, and it didn’t disappoint, ticking off a few more 10 km+ climbs along the way and still hungry for more!  With my new love of climbing I decided I needed to find myself a mountain challenge that would allow me to raise money for some charities close to my heart. Having lost 2 people in recent years to brain tumours I am passionate about raising as much money as I can for The Brain Tumour Charity, and then with a friend’s son being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy last year I decided to split the funds with Duchenne UK as a charity that was helping them to support their son.  And as everyone knows I like riding my bike up hills, I had to make sure the challenge was suitably epic so that everyone didn’t just think I was off on a holiday!

So here I sit, challenge accepted, 7 weeks out from attempting to ride from Girona to San Sebastian.

How are you preparing both your bike and your body?

I’ll be riding my Canyon Ultimate for the challenge, albeit with the front end brought back up to a more comfortable position for long days.   Having tested the legs and the bike in Girona on ESC’s Women’s Week in April I’m going to add a 34t chainring to the front before the Pyrenees.  You can never have too many low gear options right? The 52/36 I have at the moment gets me up climbs just fine, but riding multiple mountain passes each day it can’t hurt to have an even more spin-friendly option for tired legs.  

I’m on the turbo or in the gym most days in the week, and the weekends are now dedicated to seeking out hills.  In the Pyrenees they built roads that snake around the mountains, in Yorkshire they just decided to build them straight up!  Maybe I’ll be eating my words soon enough, but at the moment I think Yorkshire and the Peak District are way tougher than the Pyrenees!

 

What are your goals for the challenge?

If I make it to the finish line without having to get in the van at any point I’ll consider that a massive success.  I’m not in any rush to make it there, I just want to make it. I’ve been training hard, but for a still novice cyclist this is a challenge of epic proportions.  I’m travelling solo for this adventure, not knowing anyone quite as crazy as me to want to take this challenge on, so I’m hoping to make some good friends out on the road.

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What are you most nervous about?

It’s the weather I’m most worried about for the adventure.  I can get myself fit enough, I can make sure my bike is in good shape, but I can’t do anything about the weather, and unlike on the Women’s Week if I look out of the window and see the heavens have opened there’s no option to go for a nice walk around town and have lunch instead, there are miles to be covered to the next hotel.  The weather in the mountains can be highly unpredictable, could be 35 degrees, could be snowing, maybe both on the same day! But at least we have van support so that we don’t need to carry kit for all conditions in our pockets. And I have no desire to descend mountain passes in a snowstorm, so if I need to make a decision to stop for safety then I will.  Always safety first!

 

What are you most excited about?

I’m incredibly excited about tackling the Aubisque, assuming I make it that far!  And I’m really hoping there’ll be a moment in the last day or two where we get to the top of a climb and can see across to the ocean at San Sebastian for the first time, knowing that we’ve ridden all the way across the Pyrenees from Girona to the opposite coast.  I think that would be the moment that makes the whole trip special.

 

You can support Amy here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AmyCuthbertson2

Photos courtesy of @openautograph

You can follow Amy’s progress via social media @snowtosea and @ridelikeagirlrs

 

We look forward to supporting Amy this June! If you would like to join her and take on the Trans Pyrenees Challenge for yourself then don’t hesitate to email [email protected] or call +34 972 754 301 to secure your place!

 

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WIN a Place on our October Girona Classic Climbs Tour Worth Over €1,500!

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Enter our competition to win a place on our fully supported Girona Classic Climbs tour taking place this October 6th-12th and worth €1,500.

See below for details on how to enter.

Girona Classic Climbs Autumn Tour Giveaway

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

The winner will be selected at random and be eligible to claim a place on our October Girona Classic Climbs tour.

The prize includes:

  • 7 day guided & supported ride itinerary taking in the classic climbs of Girona
  • 6 nights 4* hotel accommodation in Girona city centre
  • Breakfast every day
  • A welcome & farewell evening meal
  • Ride nutrition every day
  • 7 day Bike Hire (model subject to availability)

The prize does not include:

  • Flights & airport transfers
  • Lunches, coffee stops & additional evening meals

To see full details of the tour visit the Girona Classic Climbs tour page.

We reserve the right to update the Terms & Conditions at any point.

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