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Tour de France 2022: Route, Key Stages & Riders to Watch

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As the summer sweeps in, we know what is coming… the TOUR!  The biggest race in the world, the three week epic journey around France, the race of history, glory, and defeat, from the cobbles of the north to the highest pyrenees in the south, and of course a breathtaking final lap around Paris- loving cycling means you love the Tour.  And what is better than it being on our doorstep…

Tour de France: 2022 Route Overview

The 2022 Tour de France Grand Depart starts in Copenhagen, the gorgeous Scandinavian capital  of in Denmark. An individual time trial kicks off the three weeks – so the GC competition will begin from the gun.  In these early stages of the general classification battles, some will survive, and we might not have a winner but even in these early days, expect some to suffer losses they can’t bring back. Expect to see Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič putting in fierce fights these first days, against the time trial specialists like Ganna and Dennis.

As we depart the ‘Depart’ the race sails on from Denmark swiftly to Northern France, for a little taste of the cobbles of Paris Roubaix, deep in the trenches of the Arenberg Forest. Whereas Paris Roubaix, the one day classic is fought by the harder, bigger riders, when it’s part of the Tour, the general classification battle lives on and our lightweight climbers will have to fight to stay in the race that day, on terrain foreign to many of their likings.

Of course, the first week is chock full of sprint stages, where we are likely to see Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van Der Poel continue their lively rivalry for the green jersey (points classification.) But it’s not just winning sprints that wins that jersey- it’s intermediate time bonuses, and surviving the three weeks til Paris.  The dreamers dare and the darers dream when it comes to this jersey, and often as it’s said, fortune favours the bold.  The likes of Michael Matthews and Fabio Jakobsen could put a damper on the “vans duo” aspirations…

Tour-De-France-Route-Map-2022-Eat-Sleep-CycleThe Tour de France in the French Alps

And of course, as week two comes in, the race moves forward into the Alps. The Télégraphe and  Galibier and a summit finish on Alpe d’Huez stand out as spectacular places to watch, whether on TV or in person. For a lesser known summit, watch out for the decisive 2,413-metre Col du Granon on stage 11. As the general classification rolls on, the climbers will blossom here, and the Polka Dot (climbers) jersey competition will begin to be contested.  Will the breakaways win?  Will the loyal lieutenants take their chance at glory?  The second week of the Tour is often more unpredictable than the third- when the GC riders are more focused on not losing than winning, and the French riders fight furiously for victory on Bastille day.

Want to climb the Classic Cols of the Alps? Join one of our two Alps tours this summer!

Speaking of that Polka Dot jersey, will it be a year for the French riders as it so often is?  This jersey seems to hold a special place in the hearts of the countrymen, and it could be a showdown, Bardet vs. Barguil, Gaudu vs Martin.

The Tour de France in the High Mountains – the Pyrenees

Into the third week the race heads south west to the Pyrenees. Often overlooked for the Alps, The Pyrenees are the real testing grounds for the race this year.  For a day of experiencing tour atmosphere check out the festivities of the rest day in the fortress city of Carcassone.  The mountains in the Pyrenees come thick and fast.  On Stage 17, all in the second half of the 130 k stage the weary riders will take on the Col d’Aspin  the Hourquette d’Ancizan, and the Col d’Azet. Think that’s enough?  Well, not for the race organisers.  One more kick finishes the day on the  climb to Peyragudes altiport. If that wasn’t enough, the next day brings the same intensity. The final mountain stage of the race takes on the legendary Hautacam.  From the city of Lourdes, and with the  Col d’Aubisque and and the Col de Spandelles between the final brutal climb, this is one of the last true days to win the Tour. Who will be left standing after? 

See the action live: Ride with us on our Tour de France Pyrenees tour & spectate Stage 16 & 17.

And as the dust settles on the mountains, only an individual time trial and a flat stage stand between the peloton and Paris.  As the last Sunday light rolls in, the remaining contenders will put in their final fight, as they circle around the Arc de Triomphe, yet only one with be triumphant. 

Riders to watch out for in the 2022 Tour de France

The winners, the chancers, the characters.

Tadej Pogačar: Nothing like going in wearing number one… two wins in a row puts a lot of weight on the young Slovenians’ shoulders

Primož Roglič: Another Slovenian, this one with something to prove, and incredibly strong team behind him, Rog will have general classification in his crosshairs

Sepp Kuss: Riding in support of his team leader above, the talented American will still take his chances and dare to go for glory from breakaways, or reel back in danger for the good of the team. 

Richard Carapaz: Fresh off an Olympic win and a podium finish at last year’s tour, the Ineos rider from Ecuador will be tearing up the mountain stages.

Matej Mohorič: Winner of Milan Samremo this year, add Matej to the growing number of Slovenian riders on this list. He’s unstoppable on descents and isn’t scared to go all in. 

David Gaudu: An exciting French rider who could be a throw up for a great general classification or a stage win, or of course, the climbers jersey.

Jonas Vingegaard: Second last year, the young Danish rider will still be supporting Rog this year but will bring some fireworks of his own. 

Wout Van Aert: Mountains, Time Trials and Sprints, the Belgian rider can win on all terrains.

Mathieu Van der Poel: Another unstoppable powerhouse- watching MvdP race is nothing if not fun.

Michael Matthews: The Australian will take his chances on the green jersey and possibly try for wins from a breakaway.

Thomas De Gendt: No one, no one bosses a breakaway like TdG. 

Mark Cavendish: (We are all hoping he is there.  No description needed.)

Want to experience the atmosphere of the Tour de France?

Every year we head to the Pyrenees to watch the race as it hits the high mountains – you’re invited! Plus, standby for our next blog profiling the Womens’s Tour de France.

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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Bikes of the World Tour 2022

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We love nothing more than checking out the latest bikes being raced by the pro peleton, especially when they are bikes made by brands we’re proud to partner with. No less than 6 of bike brands we stock & sell in our Girona store are World Tour team sponsors. In this blog we compare the bikes on offer & share our insights into which bikes you, our customers, are most excited about.

Jumbo-Visma (TJV) – Cervélo R5 / S5 / Caledonia

With lead riders like Vos, Van Aert & Roglic & super-domestiques like Laporte, Vingegaard & Gesink, Cervélo bikes have already been ridden to multiple victories this season. Marc Hirsche put the S5 in the spotlight with his epic solo breakaway on Stage 9 of the 2020 Tour de France for Team Sunweb. Since then S5 sales have taken off in our shop. The release of the new R5 brings the tech in line with the price point. The 4th edition of the bike has fully integrated cabling & uber-clean lines. As a top of the line climbing bike the R5 of course flys up mountains but what Cervélo say differentiates the bike is it’s unmatched poise & handling on the descents. All eyes on Roglic & the R5 in the 2022 Tour de France!

Jumbo-Visma have their Cervélo’s built with the new Shimano Dura Ace Di2 12 speed.

UAE Team Emirates (UAD) – Colnago V3Rs / Concept / C64

Perhaps the biggest rivals this year to Jumbo Visma at the Tour de France, UAE Team Emirates are likewise racking up their victories on their Colnago bikes. The most popular bike on the team, & the bike of choice of superstar Pojacar, is the Colnago V3Rs. However, with rumours flying around the bike industry about an update to the iconic C64, we’ll have to wait & see which bike will dominte the 2022 Tour de France.

The V3 is a top seller at Eat Sleep Cycle. It’s a beautifully made bike & sister machine to the V3Rs, a perfect bike for us mortal cyclists who want all the benefits of the V3 & don’t notice a few grams extra on the weight of the frame.

UAE’s Colnago bikes are built with (what else) Campagnolo Super Record EPS.

Lotto-Soudal (LTS) – Ridley Noah Fast / Ridley Helium SLX

Lotto-Soudal have enjoyed a long partnershop with Ridley Bikes. Riders this year get to choose from the Noah Fast, Ridley’s all round aero bike & the Ridley Helium, Ridley’s super-light climbing bike. In the Spring Classics the Noah Fast takes precedence, but the Helium SLX is the bike of choice when the roads head skywards.

Caleb Ewan is a rider who showcases what the Noah Fast is all about – a couple of weeks ago he powered to vicotry on his Noah Fast on a sprint stage of the Tirreno Adriatico. Whilst here in Girona local cyclists tend to to opt for the Helium SLX to take on our local climbs, the Noah Fast is perfect for riders who know exactly what they are looking for in a bike: speed, responsiveness & aerodynamics.

Lotto Soudal race with Shimano Dura Ace, DT Swiss wheelsets & 4iii power meters.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco (BEX) – Giant TCR Advanced SL / Propel Advanced

(Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Bike Exchange mix good vibes with hardcore racing & it’s always great to see the team celebrate when they claim a win. Their sprinters have been racking up the early season victories – Kaden Groves & Michael Matthews took back to back wins in the Volta Cataluyna aboard their Giant TCR SL Advanced bikes. The TCR SL Advanced is Giant’s take on an ‘ultimate all-round race bike’ & with 30 years of victories, it’s hard to argue with. On the shop floor the TCR offers an an amazing package for the price point – the only thing holding it back from bestseller status is that Giant have not yet made the move to fully integrated cables.

Bike Exchange race with Shimano Dura Ace Di2.

Israel-Premier Tech (IPT) – Factor Ostro VAM / O2 VAM / One

Israel-Premier Tech are one of the newest teams in the World Tour & are sponsored by high end British brand, Factor. Their bikes are a best seller on the Eat Sleep Cycle shop floor & are the envy of the peloton. IPT have been busy building a roster of super star names – the likes of Chris Froome, Sep Vanmarke & Michael Woods are just three of the riders bringing regular headlines in.

The team held a pre-season training camp this year in Girona & the Ostro was the visible bike of choice for the IPT riders. This trickles down to what amateur riders are looking for in a modern bike. The Ostro is perhaps the best all-rounder on the market combining the best of the uber-lightweight O2 VAM with the aerodynamics & stiffness of the One. The design of the seatstays ensures the bike is also comfortable to ride. It’s a tough bike to beat for our customers & for the IPT riders.

IPT Factor bikes are built with Rotor Aldhu chainsets, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifters & Black Inc wheelsets.

Cofidis (COF) – De Rosa Merak – Campagnolo Super Record EPS

Last but not least is Team Cofidis & their De Rosa Merak. De Rosa is a boutique Italian brand, the Merak is their equivalent of the Ostro – an awesome all-round race bike. It’s light, responsive (stiff) & comfortable too. Guillame Martin rode his to a strong 8th place in the Volta Catalunya – Cofidis achieved World Tour status in 2020 – a huge deal reflecting the ambition perseverance & sacrifice of the team.

On the shop floor the Merak turns heads amongst our customers. It’s a bike suited to those in the know, for those who appreciate Italian made quality & timeless design & for those who choose not to follow the latest trend on instagram.

Cofidis’ De Rosa Bikes are built with Campagnolo Super Record EPS.

Want to learn more about these beautiful bikes?

Visit us in our Girona Hub to see these amazing machines first hand. During the cycling season we’re open 7 days a week, 09:00 – 14:00 / 16:00 – 19:00. We have a number of the bikes also available to hire – see our available bike hire options & treat yourself to a test ride.

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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Andalucia Gravel Bikepacking Tour: Sherry, Seafood & Flamenco

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Bikepacking is taking the cycling world by storm. Eat Sleep Cycle founders Lee & Louise headed to the south of Spain to enjoy some quality time on the bike & explore the region. Lee tells us all about the journey.

Here are the boundaries we had for our bikepacking tour of Andalucía:

  • Just 5 days of riding – this was a holiday & we wanted to come home feeling fresh, so the routes couldn’t be too epic.
  • In January so probably avoiding the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada’s
  • A loop (getting the train or dropping off the car in one place and collecting it afterwards)
  • Carrying everything we need, no support, however staying in nice hotels and not camping.
  • Gravel bikes meaning we could get off the main roads which we would do as much as possible.

There were some places we really wanted to visit, like Seville (I had a bike race finish there a few years ago) and Sanlúcar (Louise went to Flamenco dance classes there as a teenager).  We also really wanted to see Granada but the first planning observation was the vast size of the Andalucía province compared to others in Spain. With just 5 days and taking into account the chillier mountain weather in January, we crossed out Granada for a future visit. We would focus on the main cities of Seville and Cordoba instead.

Bike Gear for Bikepacking: The Bikes

Louise would ride her custom RS Cycles Columbus tubing steel gravel bike. Its so small it only takes 650 wheels and those were given a tyre upgrade to the faster rolling gravel kings. Her bags were the lightweight Restrap collection  since those fit nicely on her tiny bike.

The Eat Sleep Cycle workshop built me a Ritchey  Outback especially for the trip. I used the Ortlieb bags from our rental equipment. Both Louise’s and my bike were powered by the SRAM Force AXS groupset for extra smooth shifting, though Louise had the Mullet upgrade.

RS-Cycles-Ritchey-Bikepacking-Set-Up-Eat-Sleep-CycleThe Bikepacking Adventure Begins: Arrival in Cordoba

We decided to start in Cordoba, the closest driving distance from Girona. Why not take the train I hear you ask? Of course we would prefer this, however getting the bike on the high speed AVE train that crosses Spain is not guaranteed. It needs to be in a case, or bag, so you can try with a large bin bag, but we just couldn’t take that risk on this occasion.

Arriving in Cordoba was a joy. What a peaceful city with easy access from Orange tree-lined roads. We even managed to park the car for free for a week (practically for free – we paid a gentleman €1.50 a day to watch it which seemed to be part of a great local government program).

Cordoba to Osuna, 92 Km, 537 m elevation, 60% gravel

The gravel bikes came into their own right away, leaving the city under the main roads and immediately out onto the olive tree lined via verde, with Cordoba gradually shrinking in the distance.

Immediately we got a sense of the size of Andalucía, vast bare fields, only green where farmers irrigate extensively. Thousands of olive trees as far as the eye could see. This is where touring by bike is really a treat – on a map it looks like nothing special and in real life the views are spectacular!

We stopped for lunch in a small restaurant in Écija and tried the local salmorejo (garlicy tomato cold soup) and jamón croquettes.

It was after this we first experienced the fierce wind which would feature during the rest of the trip. Were we unlucky just going the wrong way, or is it always so damn windy in Andalucía?!

Arriving at Osuna, after a quick wash we headed out to enjoy the sunset from the Colegiata which overlooks the city majestically.

Andalucia-Bikepacking-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Gravel-Via-VerdeOsuna to Ronda, 79 Km, 1,850 m elevation, 70% gravel

We rode out of Osuna directly into a wind farm park, which gives an idea of just how windy it was. I loved getting right up close to the turbines and feeling the force!

The gravel was perfect which helped tackle the short steep bergs through the park. It made for a tough day on the legs with the loaded bikes.

The path got Hiller and hillier the closer we got to Ronda. The hill top cities in Andalucía make you work for them and the arrival into Ronda was no different with 5 Km into a headwind on an uphill drag.

Ronda to Arcos de la Frontera, 87 Km 1,654 m elevation, 40% gravel

Before leaving Ronda we took a small detour to view the Puente Nuevo (new bridge) which adjoins the new and old city. Famously, Ronda was one of the last standholds of the Moors and only by cutting off the water supply at the bottom of this bridge were they conquered.

If there is one place on the trip I will come back to ride my bike more that is Ronda. The epic climb up to Grazalema (through the Sierra Grazalema) left us speechless. Full blossom trees lined the roads and outstanding views in all directions.

If we thought we were done at the village we were not, the road kept on going. With a loaded bike weighing around 20 Kg these long steep climbs take their toll!

We descended the chilly back side and stopped in a roadside Parilla for some snacks before joining the main road to Arcos de la Frontera. The gravel bikes meant that at any opportunity we could leave the main road and escape any traffic, which we did at every opportunity.

Of all the places we saw on our trip, Arcos de la Frontera, perched on a cliff edge and dominating the horizon, was the most remarkable. The climb up through the cobbled streets really tested my Wahoo navigation. The hotel advised not driving up, we didn’t know it would also be a challenge on a bike! This place was not designed for cars or even bikes!

We stayed in the only decent hotel up there, a Parador, a converted Magistrates house. The views were outstanding and the room had a bath, which 3 days in (and with little preparation for back to back days) helped ease some of the aches and pains starting to emerge.

Sierra-Grazalema-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-BikepackingArcos de la Frontera to Sanlúcar

For the first time on our trip we felt a tail wind. It took us just over an hour to get to Jerez (direct translation Sherry and the birth of it).

We took a long route to Sanlúcar via Puerto Santa María, because we wanted to see the coast after several days inland. Just another special feature of Andalucía, being the Province which benefits from both the South (Mediterranean) and some West (Atlantic) coast.

Most of the ride from Jerez to Sanlúcar was functional, through the poor suburban outers of these places. This is one of my favourite things about touring by bike – seeing how people really live and not just the rich and polished inner old towns set up for tourists.

The last 20 km into Sanlúcar had us hugging the Guadalquivir river on yet another excellent via verde, we saw first hand every man and his dog growing manzanilla on their lawns (it is only grown here due to the unique climatic conditions).

Closer to the city a purpose built boulevard saw half of the city out for their pre dinner sunset excercise, the place immediately grew on me. Louise had joined a small Flamenco school several years back during her dancing days so being back brought back some fond memories.

We enjoyed freshly caught prawns and local white wine at the busiest restaurant in the central plaza. Although we live in Girona, Andalucía is one step further on the Alfresco living scale, probably due to the milder climate.

Sanlucar to Seville, 96 Km, 48 m elevation, 90% gravel

We left Sanlúcar through a stunning pine tree natural park into what can only be described as a bird paradise. We were stopped in our tracks by flocks of flamingos enjoying the ideal conditions. We were on the route along the Guadalquivir river to Seville. 90 Km of gravel cycle path, on paper a dream and in reality extremely tough against the blinding headwind that day. To get through it we took turns facing the winds force and taking regular breaks to enjoy our quickly diminishing snacks (we didn’t see so much as another person the entire ride).

Endless-Road-To-Sevilla-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Bikepacking4 hours in we reached the end of the river path and to our delight a bar, or a farm, a farm bar let’s call it. They had Coke and coffee and that’s all that counts. I am fluent Spanish but the strong accent here tests me to my limit so we also ended up with 2 random tapas which apparently I ordered!

The final race into Seville proved just how good the cycle paths are in the city. Completely divided and perfectly identified, with separate cycling signals at crossings, it is a joy to cycle through this city.

We stayed right in the center of the old town with easy access to all of Seville’s main attractions. What a wonderful romantic city to finish our cycling tour.

We took the train back to Cordoba to finish the loop. All in all, 5 days of riding.

Until the next time…

To improve the trip I would add an extra day riding in Ronda and in warmer times and with more days to play with of course add in Granada and the Sierra Nevada. I hope to be back to Andalucía again soon to discover more of this wonderful Spanish province.

Want to find out more about Bikepacking?

Read Daan’s blog about bikepacking the Badlands ultra-race or check out our Pirinexus tour if you’re looking for a great route to try out bikepacking.

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De Rosa Bikes: Evolution & Origins

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As we head into Spring (yes, it feels like Spring here in Girona already!) we take a look at the origins & evolution of boutique Italian bike brand, De Rosa. 

De Rosa Bikes: Racing Origins

Ugo De Rosa was born in Milan, Italy in 1934. He grew up with a strong passion for racing & studied mechancis & engineering whilst competing in the amateur Italian peloton. In 1953, at the age of 19, he opened his first shop & started to make racing bikes. Just 5 years later his reptuation had spread & pro-cyclist & hero of the Italian nation, Raphaël Géminiani, asked De Rosa to build him a bike for the Giro d’Italia. And so began De Rosa’s long & strong history at the top level of cycling.

De Rosa’s first team in the peloton was Faema & by 1973 De Rosa was the team mechanic & official frame builder for Eddy Mercx & his highly successful Molteni team. In 1974 De Rosa won the World Championships with Francesco Moser. By the end of the 70’s & 20 years after opening his first workshop, De Rosa bikes exploded on the international scene, with huge demand for his machines in the USA, Russia & across Europe. Ugo decided to close his small workshop next to his home & move to a larger space in Milan.

Keeping things in the family has long been a tradition for Italian bike makers, and it’s no different for De Rosa. Ugo’s three sons Danilo, Doriano & Cristiano joined the company to look after production & to develop the comercial side of De Rosa.

De Rosa are a forward looking company who currently the bike sponsor for World Tour team, Cofidis, who raced to a stage win in the 2021 Giro d’Italia for Victor Lafay. Founder Ugo De Rosa leaves us with these words, a testiment to the forward-looking nature of the company which has the innovation of the bicycle engraved at the heart of its soul:

I am a man who goes straight to the point. And, by force of habit, I never look back and count the years I have spent making frames. I prefer to look ahead, because after half a century, I am still convinced that the bicycle has room for improvement. And, just has I have done up till now, in the future too I want to contribute to the evolution of this fascinating vehicle, which at the same time is so simple and so complicated.

De Rosa Carbon Road Bikes

De Rosa started to manufacture carbon bikes in the year 2000 – let’s take a look at their top of the line carbon frames 20 years later:

De Rosa Merak: Lightweight Race Bike

De Rosa’s Merak is a pure racing machine. In 2020 the Merak has come back to the De Rosa product range, ready for competition, whether its racing at high level competitions or riding granfondo’s. The Merak is a beautiful bike that can tackle the demanding nature of the sport. It’s a lightweight climbing bike promising comfort & aerodymanic excellence.

Whilst selecting the Merak is easy, the real challenge comes with how to spec the bike – check out our three builds below:

Let us know in the comments below how you’d build yours.

De-Rosa-Merak-Carbon-Road-Bike-Eat-Sleep-Cycle

De Rosa SK Pininfarina: Aero Race Bike

The SK Pininfarina is a collaboration between two great icons of Italian manufacturing: De Rosa and Pininfarina, whose shared values for high-performance, artisanship and attention to detail, have been reflected in this aerodynamic bike build. The New SK Pininfaina “aims to be the point of reference for te aerodynamic and fast bikes in the international cycling scenery.”

An integrated cockpit, clean lines, and aerodynamic tubes, the SK Pininfaina is stunning model for those wanting a fast machine to race on, or even for those wanting to win the town sign sprints.

Learn more about the SK Pininfarina

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De Rosa Idol: Endurance Road Bike

The Idol is model that stands out in this day and age of road bikes, the slightly curved top tube, the “Arc Slope curvature”, is a signature for the Idol range. The “unmistakeable appearance is able to express the style and design that have always been brand’s trademark.”

See more about the De Rosa Idol

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De Rosa 838: The Perfect Introduction to De Rosa

An all-round bike for riders seeking a taste of De Rosa riding, best described by De Rosa themselves:

Simple, decisive, and effective lines with a clear mission: welcoming you into De Rosa’s world, without compromising on style and performance. The frame of the new De Rosa 838 is made of carbon, weighing about 900 grams, it is a slightly sloping frame and offers a beautiful balance with the out-of-saddle. The down tube stands out for its sinuosity and the gearbox is elliptical, polished, to ensure greater stiffness. The chainstays are minimal and the head tube is able to accommodate the fully integrated cable routing for a very clean look and reduced aerodynamic impact. The fork accommodates tires up to 32mm. 838 is your first De Rosa, your first will to ride a heart bike.

Learn more about the De Rosa 838

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De Rosa Steel Bikes: 55 Years Later

When Ugo started making bikes in the 1950’s steel was the material of choice. In 2005 (55 years later!) De Rosa returned to it’s origins & launched its brand new lightweight steel frame, the Corum.

Once again De Rosa are reaching beyond just the carbon bike offering with a steel racing frame, Corum. We’re seeing the “want” for steel bikes on the rise once again and De Rosa have hit the nail on the head with this steel frame, built with softer alloy in the fork. The Corum is built for speed, but she’s a bike built traditionally – tying cycling’s history with a new frontier of racing.

Corum – “She is the lone voice. She is the steel and the passion.”

De Rosa Titanium Road Bikes: Anima & Solo

A De Rosa titanium frame is built to “transmit the ultimate riding experience”. On the launch of their new Anima titatium bike, De Rosa had this to say:

Titanium has been in De Rosa’s factory for 25 years and the Anima bike is the latest expression of this, the symbol of an evolving craftsmanship tradition. The frame of the  Anima represents the Black Label tailor-made technology created to mark the excellence of De Rosa frame production. The concept is simple: create a “Made to Measure” frame that fits the body of the cyclist. In the same way that Ugo De Rosa has been building bicycles for over 65 years, the black label program gives the cyclist complete control over the creative process. You choose the materials, details, and geometry to ride a unique masterpiece built and finished by the skilled hands of the master craftsmen in Cusano Milanino.

De Rosa At Eat Sleep Cycle

De Rosa add style & pure Italian passion to our range of bikes on the shop floor. Check out our De Rosa bikes in store or online, or get in touch to find out how you can get yourself a De Rosa, we offer custom builds as well as off the shelf models. Email: [email protected].

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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Putting the 2022 Ridley Kanzo to the test: gravel riding in and around Girona

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Nafent Magazine, the bilingual cycling magazine in Catalonia, tried Eat Sleep Cycle’s new Ridley gravel bikes for a week and tested them on all terrains and surfaces. Our conclusion: The Kanzo, whether it is electric or not, is your ideal gravel bike for both performance riding and bike packing.

Looking back on a great week of graveling in Girona and its surroundings, Nafent found its journey to the Puig Segalar (close to Albons) iconic for all their rides. The Ridley Kanzo faced all kinds of terrain on that 90-kilometer route towards the northeast: asphalt, good gravel, single tracks, steep ascents, technical downhills and rocky roads and it resisted all.

It is our second day on gravel bikes we sail out for the ‘Puig’, a fantastic viewpoint in the south of Alt Empordà, and approximately 35 kilometers away from Girona. That day we barely see any paved roads, practically less than 10% of our whole ride is planned to be on tarmac as soon as we leave the city.

The route to Puig Segalar is quite hilly. It contains a few steep inclines, which can tickle the muscles. We visit our favorite towns when we depart from Girona by road bike: Gaüses and Pins. Later on, we see a few other old towns like Saus and Ventalló. However, the destination that strikes us the most is the abandoned castle close to the Puig Segalar. On our route builder that seemed to be a great place to go.

Ridley-Kanzo-Gravel-Electric-Bike-Rental-Girona

The serious climbing starts when we are getting near to the ‘Puig’ itself. We first cross the tiny town Palauborell (six houses and a church), and then find the abandoned castle on our way. It turns out to be less abandoned than we thought beforehand, it is a private place, but that does not take away its beauty. We wonder from that moment on what the function of such a big castle in the middle of nowhere was in the past.

From there it is a bit steeper towards the ‘Puig’. The gravel gets a bit rockier here, but the Kanzo’s do not have any issue with stones that take away some of the speed. Climbing to the highest point in this area is definitely worth the effort: from Puig Segalar one can pretty much see all the places in the north-east of Catalonia: from the Pyrenees to Roses and from l’Escala to Rocacorba.

It is an easy-going downhill towards another small village called Marenyà, before we start to ride back towards Girona on flatter gravel roads. We are developing some speed on our way back, and the Ridley Kanzo seems to enjoy that too. The stiff frame and aerodynamic build, that the Kanzo inherited from the Ridley road bikes used by WorldTour-team Lotto-Soudal, makes one use the biggest gears on the gravel bike on the flats. Via Jaffre and Flaça (unfortunately partly paved) we find ourselves on the classic gravel route back to Girona. Five hours later we are back where we started: at Eat Sleep Cycle’s cafeteria.

Ridley-Kanzo-Gravel-Electric-Bike-Rental-Girona

The electric Ridley Kanzo is nearly empty when we order our coffees, however, with a range of around 90 kilometers, including over 1200 meters of elevation, we must say that we are impressed by the battery.

An extensive report on Nafent’s three-day bike packing tour through the Alt Empordà can be found in the second edition of the magazine. Volume 2 of Nafent Magazine can be found at Eat Sleep Cycle by the end of April.

Ridley Kanzo Adeventure & Kanzo Electric Gravel Bikes

Nafent got a Ridley Kanzo and a Ridley Electric Kanzo from Eat Sleep Cycle in Girona for this gravel bike packing tour. Nafent was particularly impressed by how stable the Kanzo is and how reliable the electric support. On steep uphills, the electric variant wants to keep going, also if small rocks reduce your speed. In downhills, both models go very smoothly through the corners.

The single gear chain ring in the front is not an issue, as the biggest and smallest rings in the back are more than sufficient to overcome 98% of all the climbs and downhills.

The Electric Kanzo has a range of around 90 kilometers, depending on how much power you need and how hilly your route is. For our distances it was more than sufficient. Bringing the charger allows you to recharge the battery during coffee stops. Recharging, in the beginning, is fast, however, to fully recharge the battery, you need a few hours.

The Kanzo turned out to be an ideal bike for gravel bike packing. The bags from SKS Germany perfectly fitted onto the bike and after a few minutes, we forgot about our bags. The thick tires, disc brakes and stiffness of the frame result in a very comfortable riding experience.

Bike Packing Set Up

Nafent chose German quality for their bike packing tour through the Emporda. All products for the bike packing trip were from SKS Germany. On the normal Kanzo, we mounted the Explorer saddlebag, Explorer bar bag, Explorer Edge, and the Explorer Smart. This was enough for a small bike packing trip like ours, especially while sleeping in comfortable hotels or apartments like Hotel Empordà Golf and Bravissimo.

For more sophisticated bike packing tours, for example, with sleeping bags and tents, SKS Germany offers plenty of possibilities to make your trip successful. For example, the Explorer Experience Framebag has a maximum load capacity of 5 kilograms, is waterproof and keeps space for your water bottles. An extra feature from the Ridley Kanzo is that there are additional alternative places to mount bottle holders on the frame.

The only product we did not use from SKS Germany was the Mudrocker. It did not rain and the roads were not wet, so Nafent decided to leave the mudguards at home.

Girona Gravel Route to Puig Segalar

Nafent planned the route on Kommot – check it out & download it below:

Experience gravel cycling in Girona

If you’d like to experience this ride you can rent a gravel bike or book a gravel cycling tour. Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online for more info!

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Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Girona-2021-Recap

2021: A Massive Year for Eat Sleep Cycle

By Cycling No Comments

If we thought 2020 (which included the cancellation of international travel) was a big year for Eat Sleep Cycle (primarily a travel business back then), 2021 has made it look like a tiny little stepping stone on the way to great things.

This year has been incredibly challenging & extremely satisfying all at the same time. 

Thank you!

We would like to take the opportunity to look back at 2021 and thank all of our customers, our staff, our families, the local government and tourism bodies and anybody else who has supported Eat Sleep Cycle this year. It is impossible to mention you all but you know who you are. We owe you big time!

Recap of our plan

We approached 2021 as a year in which we could grow our retail business and enjoy the return of international travel. There was so much uncertainty around travel so we decided to focus on developing our retail business. That plan included bringing in new talent to our team and collaborating with new exciting brands. That was the plan anyway, so how did it work out?!

60% recovery of our tours business in Autumn

Of course nobody knew how COVID would continue to affect travel, even through the uncertainty we achieved a 60% recovery of our European tours over the Autumn period. We delivered tours in Girona, Mallorca, South Spain, the French Alps, Italian Dolomites & Morroco. Cycling experiences have continued to be the core of our business. We were so happy to welcome guests back that we had not seen for one or 2 years.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-2021-Cycling-Tours-Return270% increase in our retail business

Of course we benefited somewhat from the COVID cycling boom, but also our focus on catering for our local market and global market simultaneously via our online shop really worked out.

We took on new brands, particularly growing our new bike stock, including Giant, De Rosa and Kona. We also started working with some beautiful boutique brands like Moots, No.22 & custom steel frame builder RS Cycles.

People are constantly suprised at how we managed to have a steady supply of bikes throughout the year – check them out here!

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-2021-Retail-Sales-BoomBecoming Girona’s No.1 Bike Hire Centre

With our shop at full capacity serving our local customers we knew we needed more space to continue offering high quality bike rental. Enter our Bike Rental Centre, located just next door to the shop. In Autumn we enjoyed our first bike rental season since the 2019 lockdowns, with customers testing our our Ridley Fenix SLiC’s, Basso Palta’s & extra special demo bikes too.

We’re in the middle of building a seriously nice fleet for 2022 – alongside our favourite Ridley’s & Basso’s we’re adding Colnago to our bike rental offer. Check out our 2022 bike hire fleet.

Putting the Eat into Eat Sleep Cycle

A huge project for us this year was to open our very own Cafè Restaurant. We signed the contract in March, started our crowdfunding campaign in April, started the construction project in May & opened on the 31st July for a whirlwind summer. 

The cafe restaurant and bike hire center really established Eat Sleep Cycle as the Girona cycling destination. If you haven’t seen the set-up yet you must visit our little cycling heaven corner of Girona in 2022!

Thank you to our awesome team!

We were grateful to grow our team once again in 2021. A big welcome to our new café team – Bram, Massimo, Ariadna, Ingrid, Alma & Ferran. Welcome to Raul, Manuel & Jose Luis to team Finance, Cristina to Tours & Oscar, Mike & Mateu to the shop. A huge welcome also to Maribel, our cleaner who does so much more! Here we all are having fun this December:

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Team

What’s Store for 2022?

2022 will see the return of our cycling tours business to almost 2019 levels and we will operate tours in all of our existing locations and roll out our first departures in Portugal & Slovenia.

Our cycling Hub in Girona will be thriving through the full season and our terrace will be full of happy cyclists. We will organise many more free social rides for local people and visiting cyclists alike.

We’re not planning big growth in retail, more stabilising and consolidating our offer & improving the quality of everything we do in this area. We will focus more on sustainability and developing the skills of every one of our team.

Of course we will all enjoy some incredible bike rides and we hope you do too!

Ride with Eat Sleep Cycle in 2022!

As soon as you’re ready to travel we would love to cycle with you! 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

 

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Cyclist’s Guide To Italy

By Cycling No Comments

Italy has a special place in Eat Sleep Cycle history and we cannot wait to return to bring more of our amazing guests to this incredible country in the not too distant future. Italy has cycling deeply embedded in its culture & history. Capturing the depth of riding, the variety of terrain, the passionate cycling culture, the incredible food, the cycling industry in just one blog is pretty much impossible. But here I hope to give a tantaslising taste of what Italy can offer for the cyclist.

Italian Cycling Regions

Italy is packed with beautiful regions to explore by bike – there are high mountains & sparkling lakes in the north, beautiful vineyards, rolling landscapes & rustic farmhouses in the central region of Tuscany & stunning flat lands, mediterranean coast & whitewashed villages in the southern region of Puglia. Plus the Apennine mountains, the islands of Corisca, Sardina & Catania, the incredible Cinque Terre… the list is endless!

Cycling in Northern Italy: Lakes & Mountains

The north of Italy holds many delights and challenges for the cyclists. Not a place for beginners, the Alps, the Dolomites, Veneto, Piemonte & Lombardy offer off-the-scale-awesome riding.

To the north of the lagoon city of Venice lie the towns of Conegliano, Basso del Grappa & Feltre, all fabulous bases for riding. From Bassano discover the beautiful Veneto region & climb the Monte Grappa, a great warm up for the high mountains.

In the north east corner of Italy is a climb which inspires terror amongst the pro’s – Monte Zoncolan. The Zoncolan is a regular feature in the Giro d’Italia & the climb from Ovaro features a leg-busting 6km section which averages 15%.

To the west lie the picturesque Dolomites, known around the world for stunning rock formations. A must-ride loop is the 54 km Sella Ronda from Corvara – one of the most beautiful rides in the world which features four mountain passes. The Sella Ronda loop forms a part of the annual Maratona del Dolomiti sportive – an epic ride which also features the iconic Passo Giau & Passo Falzarego.

Continuing west we reach the Italian Alps, high mountains which include the 47 switchbacks of the Passo Stelvio, the eye-watering gradients of the Passo Mortirolo & the mighty Passo Gavia. These climbs are where the key battles of the Giro d’Italia are fought every year & are where cyclists become legend; remember Andy Hampsten cresting the Gavia in a snow storm to take the maglia rosa in 1988 & in 1994 the legend of Il Pirata was born when a young Marco Pantani launched a breathtaking attack on the Mortirolo.

After the Alps it’s wise to head to the Italian Lakes and enjoy some rest & relaxation. But don’t be fooled – from lakeside hotels the only way to ride is around the lake or up & out. Be sure to pay homeage to the Patron Saint of Cycling at the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine & test your legs on the short but brutally steep Muro di Sormano. As well as regular vists from the Giro d’Italia the Lakes of Como, Garda & Maggiore also play host to the final monumnet of the season, the Giro de Lombardia.

If you have any energy left, continue the adventure & head west again to Piemonte. Climb the gravel slopes of the Colle de Finestre, as well as the epic cols of Nivolet & Agnello. Drop down back to the Barolo wine region & savour the rolling roads & indulge in a spot of wine tasting to round off the northern Italian experience.

Want to experience Northern Italy? 

If you’ve got 3 or 4 weeks to spare this would be an incredible Grand Tour: fly into Venice, ride Trans Dolomites, hit the Italian Lakes for a week in Lombardy, then continue west to tour Piemonte. Fly out of Milan.

Cycling in Central Italy: Tuscany

For something altogether more relaxed explore the rolling landscapes of Tuscany. As well as making a great training ground for legendary Italian cyclists Bettini, Cipollini & Bartali, Tuscany is also well suited to lesiure riders & gravel lovers.

Cycling-Tuscany-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Strade-BiancheEvery year the city of Siena hosts the Strade Bianche, the southernmost Spring Classic of the calendar. Riders tear across the white gravel roads of the Crete Senesi region, tackle short, steep climbs & a fabulously technical parcours. The first rider to make it to the Piazza del Campo in the centre of Siena takes the honours.

Tuscany is home to fabulous hotels, restored castles, Italian villas & rustic farmhouses. It’s the perfect place for cyclists who love food & culture to visit.

Want to cycle in Tuscany?

Join us for a long weekend of cycling in Siena for the Strade Bianche or ask us about our brand new Tour of Tuscany!

Italian Cycling Heritage & Racing

Giro d’Italia

Italy’s Grand Tour is usually a highlight of life in May. The race started in 1909 and grew from a an Italian-only race to include riders & teams from all over the world. A total of 49 riders won the first 2,448 km race, with Luigi Ganna taking first place. In the 1920’s Alfredo Binda was the dominant rider, and it took the Ironman of Tuscany, Gino Bartali to defeat him. Bartali’s dominance was only challenged in 1940 by his 20 year old teammate, the great Fausto Coppi. 10 years later, in 1950, Hugo Koblet of Switzerland became the first non-Italian to win the Giro. American Andrew Hampsten became the first non-European winner in 1988, and the first South American winner was Nairo Quintana of Colombia in 2014.

Ask us about following the Giro d’Italia on a custom tour. 

 Italian-Cycling-Heritage-Race-History-Giro-d-ItaliaStrade Bianche

L’Eroica Strade Bianche (“Heroic race of the white roads”) was created in 1997 as a granfondo for vintage bikes on the white gravel roads around Siena. The concept was to recreate cycling’s so-called “heroic era” from the first half of the 20th century, when most bike races were ridden on dirt or unpaved roads.

The Strade Bianche is Italy’s youngest race on the World Tour calendar, but it’s quickly become a classic. The peleton races across the Tuscan countryside across a mix of country lanes & white gravel roads. The first edition rolled out in 2007, with a womens edition starting in 2015.

Milan – San Remo

One of the five monuments of cycling, Milan-San Remo was first held in 1907. The 298 km race is the longest one-day race in professional cycling and its flat(ish) course makes it a favourite of the sprinters. The course runs from the city of Milan across the plains of Piemonte & Lombardy, to the Liguran coast. The entire second half of the course has a view of the mediterranean as the race makes its way to the fashionable seaside resort of San Remo.

Giro Lombardia

If Milan-San Remo is the sprinters classic, the Giro Lombardia is the climbers classic, and the last monument of the season. Held in the autumn the race is also called the race of the falling leaves and started in 1905. The route has changed many times, with the only consistent features being Lake Como and the iconic Madonna del Ghisallo climb.Other famous climbs include the short but tough San Fermo della Battaglia and the 9.6 km Colma di Sormano.

Made in Italy

Italy in one of the major fashion houses of Europe & the same goes for cycling clothing. Itlay produces some of the world’s best fabrics & its no surprise that a multitude of cycling clothing is made in Italy and use this fact as a part of their marketing as a sign of quality.

As well as clothing, Italy has several highly regarded bike brands. Institutions like Campagnolo, Bianche & Pinarello are proud of their Italian routes. Family run business Basso Bikes continue to proudly make their frames in a factory in Bassano del Grappa – a step up from the family garage where Alcide Basso produced his first frames.

There is so much more to write about cycling in Italy – watch this space for our upcoming features on our favourite Italian cycling climbs & recommendations for the best places to stay, eat & drink!

Do you want to find out more about cycling in Italy?

As soon as you’re ready to travel we would love to show you around Italy! Check out our Italian Tours or 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!

 

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Badlands: My First Bikepacking Adventure

By Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Girona, South Spain, Spain, Women's Cycling No Comments

This year local Girona trio Rocket, Cristina, and Laura from Over & Out took on Badlands, by Transiberica. A 750km gravel race, crossing two deserts in Andalusia, with 16,000m of climbing. This was the first ultra-cycling race for all three, and for Rocket, her first ever bikepacking adventure…What a way to start. Read on to find out about how they prepared for this event, and how it went.

Where It Began

Laura and Cristina (Cris) had been preparing for Badlands for a year, whereas I had heard about it through them and decided it would be cool to challenge myself in a new way. Coming from road racing, I’ve been keen to get myself on a gravel, and what a way to kick things off with gravel racing, 750km in Andalusia? Yes please.

I’ll be honest, Badlands was not intended to be my first ever bikepacking adventure, but a series of unfortunate events, and a busy work schedule, meant that it happened that way. 10/10 would not recommend turning up never having backpacked before, but go big or go home, right?

As Laura and Cris were already riding as a pair, I entered solo with all of us repping our Over & Out squad.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Badlands-Gravel-Cycling-Laura-Cycling-Coach

Badlands Preparation

Laura applied her knowledge as a cycling coach and director sportif to look at the route and split it into days. Listing out the climbs, technical sections, villages where we could find water, and hotels along the way. Naively, we split the route into four days, thinking five would be the maximum number of days it would take. I say naively because there’s a huge difference between what’s on paper, and the reality of the route which we quickly discovered during the event…

Training wise I had an event earlier in the Summer, a multi-day stage race in Andorra on the road, and so this was my first focus. I had a large base block prior to this event, some rest after the event, and then began to work back up. Unfortunately, due to work my training began to take a dip a few weeks prior to the event which wasn’t optimal, it meant I began tapering early. With guidance from Laura and Ciaran O’Grady, they helped make sure I was in the best position I could be in the circumstances.

With our route split completed, and training underway, we then needed to think about what we’re packing, which bike bags, and the equipment we’ll need along the way. As both Laura and Cris had some experience with this, they were able to help me with items I would need, and those I wouldn’t. I also reached out to other adventure seeking fanatics who had experience with ultra-riding or multi-day bikepacking adventures for advice.

Kit Choice

I decided to use Restrap bike bags, I’d used them before and was really impressed, they’d also been recommended to me multiple times as the best to use for this type of event. Having reached out to them, Restrap sponsored my bike bags for the event. I settled on the race collection saddle bag, frame bag, top tube bag, and then a canister bag. This was the perfect set up, I was able to fit everything I wanted to pack including having some extra room for food along the way. I also took a camelbak to ensure I could carry even more water, this was vital.

Kit wise, Universal Colours, a British sustainable and ethical focused clothing brand sponsored Over & Out. The kit was perfect, particularly the Chroma cycling jersey which was lightweight and comfortable. I wore the Mono bibshorts in a size up which were perfect for the heat.

For my shoes I opted to wear the Quoc Gran Tourer (which were gifted) over my S-Works MTB shoes, as they are much more supple and wider which meant when my feet were swelling in the heat, I still had room and felt no pressure points.

I refined my kit list with the help Laura, Cris, and Sami Sauri, and have to say I was happy with everything I brought.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Badlands-Gravel-Cycling-Universal-Colours-Restrap-Quoc

Bike Set Up

With the help of Willem from Eat Sleep Cycle, and input from Daan who did Badlands last year, we built up my brand-new RS Cycles Brusca gravel frame with Shimano GRX from my old cross bike.

We went with a 38t front chainring, and 46t cassette. While this worked well, there were times I wished for the 50t…

My tyres were Rene Herse Oracle Ridge 700C x 48 tubeless. I suffered with not one puncture, at all, and felt secure on the entire route. Never having ridden Rene Herse before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am beyond impressed with these tyres!

Race Countdown

We flew to Granada a few days prior to the event, giving us time to sort out last minute situations, as well as having time to recce the first few km of the start of the race, particularly the first climb and technical descent.

The Race

At the start line the nerves were real. I still had no idea what to expect, but we hung at the back knowing we wanted to take things slow.

Day one was epic. It is possibly one of my favourite days I’ve ever had on the bike, it was long, hard, with more climbing in one ride than I’ve ever done. There were some long climbs, one in particular which was all on the road and I was able to keep a strong cadence and spin up to the top. The first 40km were brutal, as we were told to expect, with some technical gravel and sharp gravel climbs. We made our way through, yoyoing with a few other riders with whom we got to know a little along the way.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Badlands-Gravel-Cycling-Startline-Universal-Colours

We stopped once for an early supper, and then carried on, our eyes set on Gorafe being the town just outside the first desert. Our initial plan was to ride through the desert at night, but arriving late to Gorafe and struggling to find some food without meat, we decided to hit the sack for a few hours.

This was the first time I’d ever slept out with no tent, in a random location, not including those as a child sleeping under the trampoline in my backgarden. We found a number of other rides sleeping outside in front of the only BnB in the town (which was fully booked) and decided the safest thing to do was to crash there also. I use the term sleep loosely, it was mostly drift in an out of consciousness over the course of a few hours. We slept on roll mats, in only bivvy bags, wearing leggings and a puffer jacket for warmth.

At 4:15am we started to pack up and find water getting ready to start the day in the desert. By 5am we were on the “road” hitting the first climb out of Gorafe. We rode for a few hours in the dark, and as the sun began to rise we hit the first village, finding a few of our friends at a café drinking coffee. We sat down to join them and caught up on the previous day. They’d ridden the 30km late last night and had crashed in the village square, having dealt with puncture after puncture for hours on end into the early hours of the day.

After a few cups of coffee, we carried on, enjoying a beautifully paved road to the next town, and last water stop (little did we know). As the day went on we took on some more technical sections of sand, long climbs, rocky sections, steep climbs, and as the day got hotter and hotter, the lack of water, food, and sleep started to become an issue.

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Laura’s ongoing tooth infection was becoming more and more unbearable, taking its toll on her body. We’d booked our hotel earlier in the day, knowing we’d need a bed for the night and this became out motivation to keep moving. With 30km to go before leaving the desert, we decided I would ride on, get to the hotel, and find food for us. During this 30km I had some of my darkest moments, I received word that Cris had crashed and hit her head and was struggling with dizziness. I’d nearly fainted in 49 degrees climbing up the final climb, forcing myself to get off and sit under the shade for a moment. With only 500ml of water left, and still the distance from the edge of the desert to Gor to go, not knowing where the water was, alone, a little scared, unable to keep food in my stomach having been sick, I wondered what the hell I was doing here. Seeing some other riders towards the top of climb lifted my spirits and I kept going.

Those final few kms to the hotel were the hardest of my life, alone, with no water, dehydrated, suffering with head stoke, it took everything to keep the pedals turning. I remember feeling so defeated, shaking feeling cold but hot, and delirious, having exited the desert there was still a way to go to Gor to our hotel and it felt insurmountable.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Badlands-Gravel-Cycling-Gorafe

That first glass of water at the hotel I will remember for the rest life. Badlands is like this; it pushes you beyond the limits of what you thought you were capable of. Having showered, taken a brief rest, and chugged my weight in water, I changed into the only non-cycling clothes I had and made my way back to the village to find a supermarket to find some food to cook for when Laura and Cris made it back. Another 6km I thought would be impossible, and yet I rode on.

When they arrived later that night, we were broken, hurting, exhausted, dehydrated, suffering with heat stroke but happy to have somewhere to sleep. With Laura in pain, Cris in no state to get on a bike, and with my struggling to get food in my stomach we went to bed planning to have a team meeting the following morning to check in before we decided on the day. The next section of the race was going to be a brutal section over 100km with no food stops, an 18km climb to start (which a friend of ours took 5hrs to get up as it was mostly hike-a-bike), and little water security.

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That following morning, after a long chat, we made the decision to pull the plug on this adventure. I was heartbroken for Laura and Cris who had been prepping and planning for this adventure for so long, but in our current states, we didn’t want to take the potential risks.

Badlands Reflection

Badlands was one of the best and worst rides of my life. Riding on the gravel with two of my best friends for so long, on a completely new adventure, was epic. Seeing them both accomplish things they’d never done before and seeing how strong they had come into this race was beyond awesome. Challenging myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to my growth zone was equally as awesome.

However, the lack of water, and water security, the heat, and the issues along the way made this one of the worst experiences I’d ever had on the bike. I suppose that’s the type 2 fun, it was horrible, but I look back and think how epic it was to make it through that.

Badlands challenges every essence of your being, and for those finishers, all of you, whether you completed it in two days or six, my hat is off to you! What a feat! For those who started and pulled the plug whether it was km 60 or 650, kudos to you, starting Badlands is not for fainthearted, and those who take to start do so with courage. You’re epic. And Badlands, perhaps I’ll be back for a re-match…

A huge thank you to Eat Sleep Cycle, Restrap, Universal Colours, and Quoc for your support.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Badlands-Gravel-Cycling-Rocket-Rawrrs

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Cycling in Girona in Autumn 2021: Everything You Need To Know

By Cycling, Girona No Comments

If you are planning a cycling trip to Girona this Autumn and worried if it will go ahead or not this blog is just what you need! Eat Sleep Cycle founder Lee shares his thoughts & advice for travelling to Catalunya this year as a cycling business owner in Girona.

Recently I have personally had many phone calls with concerned cyclists from all over the world planning a trip to Girona and wanted to write my answer down, who knows, maybe it helps some more cyclists out there!

Of course there are rules on entry and exit from your relative countries and from Spain, you will have to check those out yourself. But once you are in Girona you will be surprised just how normal things are and wonder why you left it so long!

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Hub-Cafe-Cycling-Cafe-Girona

The simple answer is that eating, sleeping and cycling in Girona is now largely unaffected by COVID and has been for some time. There are no restrictions on where you can ride your bike and who with. All the cafes, restaurants and bars are open (in some areas closing at 1:30 am – if that affects you this blog is not for you!) and the hotels are in full swing inviting guests from all over the world. There is not a single aspect of your cycling trip that will be affected.

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Masks are still worn indoors but not outdoors. Some people still wear them outdoors but most don’t. Most people have had the double vaccine and this Summer really has felt normal with friends getting together, summer terraces full of happy people and enjoying their holidays.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Hub-Cafe-Cycling-Cafe-Girona-Restaurant

In fact we have seen a big surge in cyclists in Girona looking for group rides and cycling buddies to grab some food and drinks with. So if you are traveling solo Autumn is a perfect time to come.

Get In Touch!

Read more about staying in Girona on our Cyclist’s Guide to Girona here, or get in touch if you have any questions via email: [email protected]

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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Eat Sleep Cycle: Introducing Vielo Bike Brand

By Cycling No Comments

British brand Vielo are coming on board at Eat Sleep Cycle. Vielo build unique road and gravel bikes, standing out with bold colours and custom 1x chainrings. We interview father & son founders Trevor and Ian to find out more about this bike brand, how it came to be, and about the stunning bikes that they offer. 

Tell us about Vielo, how and when were you founded?

“Vielo was founded in 2018. With over 36 years experience in sales, marketing, brand building and distribution for high end global bicycle brands (Marin, Scott, Storck, Sarto and Lightweight wheels) we decided to use all our knowledge, passion and energy to build our own brand Vielo.

We brought together a small team of like minded people who shared our values of honesty, integrity and reliability to launch our first model, the Vielo V+1 gravel bike’.”

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Cycling-Girona-Bike-Vielo-v1g1

What sets you apart from other bike brands?

“Vielo is positioned as indie boutique British brand that offers cycling fans around the world with an exclusive range of exceptional high-end, cutting edge bicycles and products focused on innovation, fusing the latest carbon fibre technology and know-how with beautiful design and craftsmanship.  Underpinned with a passion and belief to make it better.”

You’re big fans of 1x, what is it that you prefer about 1x over 2x?

“We are forward thinking and knew (back in 2017) that groupset manufactures were going to bring 12 and 13 speed groupsets to the market in the very near future.  This meant that the number of gears normally used on a 2x system would be covered in a 1x  12 or 13 speed range.  From here, we would have a lot more freedom to design and engineer our gravel and road bike frame with just a single chain ring and no front mech. Both the Vielo R+1 road bike and V+1 gravel bike are designed around a fully 1x drive line.

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We offer a range of our own CNC machined chainrings that are engineered to accommodate a perfect chain line across Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo to suit every riders needs in both road and gravel.

The benefit of our 1x frames is to increase the BB stiffness by 32% (over a 2x frame), offer increased tyre width and fully symmetrical frame design.”

What frames do you currently offer, and could you tell us a little about them?

“The R+1 road bike is available in 2 frame levels. The Alto frame (880g) is fully integrated for (SRAM) wireless shifting. Plus the Strato frame (1100g) for regular cable routing to accommodate mechanical and e-wire shifting.   Both frames accommodate 32mm tyres on modern wider rims to reduce high frequency road vibration, plus additional mechanical comfort from the rear seat stay design.

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The 2nd Generation V+1 gravel bike follows the form of the R+1 symmetrical  down tube to BB junction, accommodates 50mm tyres in 700c and 650b with (non dropped) symmetrical chain stays and further comfort via the curved tube shapes of the rear seat stays.   The V+1 Alto is 880g and the Strato is 1100g. Both frames can take regular mechanical and e-wire systems.”

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I have to admit, I love your colour schemes. In a world of black and stealth looking bikes, having some colour is becoming more and more appealing. Why were you drawn to making sure your frames were colourful?

“We like to be forward thinking with our colour pallets and simple graphic design. We don’t do Black.”

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We’re looking forward to having Vielo at Eat Sleep Cycle, what are you most looking forward to about joining the ESC family?

“We love working with like-minded dealers and staff that have similar values to ourselves, plus we are a family business. We look forward to building our trading relationship long into the future.”

We can’t wait to have Vielo in store, so keep your eye our for when we’ll have stock!

Get In Touch!

Update – our first Vielo framesets have arrived & are on display at the Eat Sleep Cycle shop. You can also see Vielo bikes on our online shop. If you’re interested in Vielo and would like to discuss dream builds, please get in touch! Email: [email protected]

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