Category

Cycling

ESC-Rider-Kona-Process-134-Mountain-Bike-Brent-Botha

Brent Botha’s Kona Process 134

By Cycling No Comments

We thought it would be pretty cool to join our Hub regulars out on a ride & capture them doing what they love most. To kick off our Eat Sleep Cycle Rider series meet Brent Botha & his Kona Process 134.⁠ Brent is a soigneur for Israel Start Up-Nation & a long-time Girona local.

 I chose Kona because it took me back to my days of innocence. It took me back to the days of riding my Kona stab with mates on a weekend from sunrise to sunset.

 

Kona Bikes – An Iconic Bike Company

Kona is an iconic bike company which was founded in 1988 in Vancouver, British Columbia by Dan Gerhard and Jacob Heilbron. They started out building bikes for riders pushing the limits & progressing the sport on the North Shore. Kona is still owned by its founders and now makes all kind of bikes – cross, road, gravel, downhill, city, cargo, touring – but it’s a company famed for being on the rough side of biking with origins in the grassroots racing scene.

We asked Brent what his Kona means to him:

For me it’s brought back the fun. Simple!!!”

Too often cycling becomes a a numbers game & the fun is lost in the data. For Brent, riding his Kona is all about the good times & living in the moment.

Kona-Process-134-ALDL-Brent-Botha-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-RiderThe Kona Process 134 AL/DL

Kona descirbe their Process line as “synonymous with fun, fast, and playful riding.”  The new Process 134 takes those qualities into a shorter-travel bike that has been designed to achieve that “just-right” feeling. Kona reckon that “If Goldilocks needed a bike, this would be her obvious choice. It’s perfect for all mountain bikers.”

The Kona Process 134 AL/DL is a full suspension 29er built for ripping up the trails downhill. It features 140 mm of travel on the front & 134 mm on the rear. Kona redesigned the Process for 2020 & introduced a ‘modern’ geometry – that is a slacker head tube & a steeper seat tube for better stability downhill & easier climbing uphill. Brent opted for the alloy deluxe build – the Process also comes in a more afforable spec (the AL) & in carbon (CL) or carbon deluxe version (CL/DL).

The Process AL/DL was one of Kona’s most popular bikes of 2020. Brent says:

It’s a bike of heritage, it’s “sendy” and has given purpose back into riding my bike.”

Want to find out more about Kona Bikes?

We are the official Kona Bikes point of sale for Girona. Head over to our Kona bikes section on our online shop, check out our Mountain Bikes for great rides from Santa Cruz, Focus & Ridley. or get in touch to speak to us about your dream sendy bike.

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

2020-In-Review-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Girona-New-Opportunities

2020 In Review – A Year of New Opportunities

By Cycling No Comments

Many people across the world can not wait to see the back of 2020 and welcome in a New Year. It has been a devastating year for millions of people all over the world and our thoughts and best wishes go out to all those families who have lost loved ones and those on the front line fighting the virus everyday. Businesses have also taken a huge blow, many forced to close for extended periods. The virus has taken no prisoners.

At Eat Sleep Cycle, first and foremost we are grateful for the good health of our staff and their friends and families. We have an international team based in Girona, also including local Catalans. Most of us have not seen our families in over one year and welcome the day we can get together and make more happy memories with them.

As for our business, our team reflects on 2020 and looks forward to 2021 with great optimism and for good reason. Eat Sleep Cycle is stronger now than it has ever been. 

In 2019, 85% of our business relied on tourism; tours and bike hire for our loyal guests traveling from overseas, with key markets being the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Australia. The remaining 15% was our relatively small retail operation.

In March 2020 flights into Europe ground to a halt; it was the perfect recipe for disaster for our business. We observed the virus start in China, move to Italy (affecting delivery from our Italian suppliers), then to Spain (where we suffered one of the strictest lockdowns) and then to other parts of Europe and the USA. The lowest point for us was when in many parts of the world cycling was banned. Hope of tours in Summer 2020 quickly diminished and it was time to get the flipcharts out and idea shower what we were to do.

Dealing with the Unexpected

At the core of Eat Sleep Cycle is our customer service so we assigned the role of customer cancellations first. Every email received a personal and thought through reply (no automatic responses here, ever). We celebrated every guest that worked with us to move, reschedule and accept vouchers for tour and bike hire bookings. We have developed stronger relationships with many of our guests through this process.

Eat Sleep Cycle is as good as its staff and guides. We wanted to do everything possible to keep our core team safe, whilst communicating clearly with everybody else about the reality of the situation. We even managed to pick-up a few highly talented people along the way. In 2020 our team has become stronger and more talented than ever.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Team-2020-Thank-You

Turning Things Around – A Cycling Boom

So we are people-focused at Eat Sleep Cycle, but what on earth were we going to do about our business? We looked at our Strengths, Weaknesses, the Opportunities and the Threats. We did it as a team, we sought advice and guidance when necessary and came up with a plan. We also took measured risks. 

We saw first hand the boom of cycling and other outdoor activities. The more they locked people down in Spain, the more people would get out and exercise when they could in the designated time slots. Whilst the general global outlook was negative, this “get up and go” phenomena fueled our work. We realised that we did have something to offer people during the pandemic, especially local people in and around Girona.

We discounted our bike hire prices for local people to give those who did not have a bike the chance to try it out before buying. We sold off our bike rental fleet (intended for tourism) to give local people access to affordable second hand bikes at a fair price and with full mechanical confidence. Whether pro racer or cyclist first-timer we welcome every 2-wheeler with open arms. This new focus on local meant everybodies language skills needed to improve so Spanish and Catalan classes followed, a small investment with a big reward when that local person is greeted in their own language.

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-2020-New-Bike-Day-Thankyou-CustomersBut that was not enough to maintain our footprint (a large Hub in the center of Girona), a Tours HQ and Tour Warehouse housing our vehicles. As the virus worsened it was clear that there would be no tourism for the entire year. 

Creating an Awesome Local Bike Shop

So we focused on our retail business. We invested heavily in bikes, not just road but gravel, mountain bikes and electric too, even time trial bikes. We stocked up on spare parts and components like wheels, groupsets and everything else that a cyclist needs. Whilst others were putting the shutters down we formed new collaborations with brands telling them “now is the best time to start together”. Some came on board and some missed out. When one supplier or brand could not deliver we ordered from another. We did not turn down a single customer, always finding an equivalent product. Local people really started to notice, coming into the Hub and saying “i´ve heard you guys have lots of stock”. Friends sent friends, the word got out. 

As partner of the business I went from managing a large tours business to working on the retail front line. I did my homework on our product, studying the specifications. I rode every bike that we sell, enabling me to highlight strengths and weaknesses of each model. We trained our teams on the new product, they trained themselves too. We became experts in what we sell. I loved it and could see that the team was enjoying the new challenge too. The daily deliveries from suppliers increased and we were excited to see what new tech was inside.

But we could still see the large online retailers taking sales even from our local customers. We also wanted to reach out to our tour guests all over the world with our unique offering.

Maximising Our Potential – Eat Sleep Cycle Hub Online!

We had an online shop but it was not fit for purpose. We formed an online shop emergency squad from our existing team and worked flat out to get our product online. We saw immediate benefit both from local and abroad. People would come into the Hub with the product on their phone. We started getting random online purchases from Singapore, Australia and the USA.

These were new challenges for the team and it was hard work. To keep up team morale we ran daily stand-up meetings, a weekly team ride, monthly bonuses for hitting new retail targets (of course this was credit to be used on our product), week-end trips to Mt Ventoux and the Pyrenees and regular catch-ups and recognition of team performance. 

Eat-Sleep-Cycle-2020-Team-Events-Rides2020 has been a silver lining for Eat Sleep Cycle. Having several business streams (tourism + retail) before Covid was questioned by business analysts but has been a key recipe to our success. A multi-disciplined and international team has been critical, with our core team changing their role as required to support the business and in satisfying our local and foreign customer base. We are also always amazed by the benefit of debate and disagreement before coming to the agreed way forward from a multicultural team. None of this would have been possible without our loyal tour and bike hire guests, local Catalan people, the pros who live in Girona, and our incredible staff team, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. 

Looking Ahead to 2021: What’s Next?

2021 will be the most exciting year in Eat Sleep Cycle history!

We are ready for the return of our tour guests from all over the world to provide world class bike hire in Girona and tours throughout Europe. We are adding some new destinations and our VIP guests will be invited along to those first excursions. We have completely maintained our Girona footprint including our Hub, logistical warehouse housing fully equipped vehicles and tours HQ. In fact we are working on a further expansion for 2021, full details will be revealed soon!

Our bike rental fleet will be bigger and better in 2021. Our orders have already been in with our partner brands for some time for their latest top of the range bikes. We will offer a wider range than ever by introducing Cervelo, Focus and Kona to our existing fleet of Factor, Ridley, Basso and Focus. The fleet will include more gravel bikes and now full suspension mountain bikes and more electric bikes. 

Our plan is to not only sustain but also grow our local bike shop: the Hub, which currently sells a range of bikes, clothing and bike components everyday. This means we will continue to improve our service to the local community too. Our rental fleet doubles up as a demo fleet so anybody can try out a range of bikes from entry level to the latest top of the range tech.

We will work even closer with our partner brands, support their product launches and test their technology in the field. Of course this will all only be made possible by expanding our team, with a focus on local people for our Girona operation. Watch this space!

A Huge THANK YOU from from all of us at Eat Sleep Cycle for your support & enabling us to succeed in what was a very unexpected year. We hope to ride with you all in 2021!

Want to Ride with Eat Sleep Cycle in 2021?

Follow us on instagram & facebook to be the first to know about our next rides & events. Check out our 2021 Tour Calender to get inspired for you next adventure!

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Reyes-Soriano-Custom-Steel-Bicycle-La-Rioja

Meet The Maker: Reyes Soriano – Steel Frames Made By Hand In La Rioja

By Cycling No Comments

What is is about a bike? Why do we love to ride? Why invest in working with an artisan to build a one of a kind bicycle, just for you? Reyes Soriano makes custom steel bicycles in his workshop in La Rioja. For him a custom bicycle is more than science, more than a perfect geometry & precision welding; a custom bicycle is a journey of self-discovery. Get it right & work with the right builder & you’ll not only have a two-wheeled companion for life, you’ll also discover landscapes, routes & journeys from a whole new standpoint.

Here’s what Reyes had to say – it turns out Reyes is just as much a master of words as a master of steel.

¿De dónde eres? / Where are you from?

Nacido en León y después de vivir en varias ciudades, hace ya 15 años que llegué a La Rioja, es una zona con un clima agradable y gran diversidad de paisajes y terrenos, siempre hay sitios nuevos que poder descubrir en bicicleta entre montañas y viñas.

I was born in León & after lived in various cities. It is now 15 years since I arrived in La Rioja – it is a region with an agreeable climate & great diveristy in routes & terrain, there are always new palces to discover by bike between mountains & vineyards.

Reyes-Soriano-Custom-Steel-Bicycle-La-Rioja-Workshop¿Cuándo empezaste a fabricar bicicletas? / When did you start to make bicycles?

En 2014 Mattia Paganotti (Legor Cilcli) fue el maestro que me enseñó las bases y el camino a seguir; desde entonces todos los días son un constante aprendizaje y evolución, siempre creciendo, siempre probando el comportamiento de las bicis que hago para poder sacar conclusiones y mejorar. Disfruto tanto con las bicis que hago para mi como con la felicidad de los clientes satisfechos.

In 2014 Mattia Paganotti (from Legor Cycles) was the maestro who showed me the basics & the route to follow; from then all the days are a constant learning & evolution, always growing, always testing the behaviour of the bikes that I make to draw conclusions & imporve. I enjoy everything – the process of making the bikes & the satisfaction of a happy customer.

¿Por qué acero? / Why steel?

El acero tiene un fuerte componente histórico, romántico, heroico… pero además la tecnología ha permitido evolucionar las aleaciones mejorando las características técnicas y reduciendo el peso. El acero es un material muy versátil, eterno, con un comportamiento muy noble y que transmite perfectamente las características del terreno por donde ruedas, es cómodo pero también reactivo.

Steel has a lot of history, it is both romantic & heroic… but moreover technology has permitted an evolution of the alloys – technical characteristcs are improved & weight reduced. Steel is a very versitile material. It is eternal, with a noble character that perfectly transmits the characteristcs of the land where the wheels go – it is comfortbale but also reactive.

Reyes-Soriano-Custom-Steel-Bicycle-La-Rioja-Workshop-Welding¿Qué preguntas le haces al cliente primero? / What questions to you ask your client first?

Un aspecto fundamental es escuchar y poder entender qué tipo de bicicleta quiere y qué uso le va a dar el cliente; siempre hay quien lo tiene muy claro, y quien todo lo contrario… y es entendible, muchas veces nos cuesta analizarnos, entendernos y saber cuales son nuestras necesidades, nuestros deseos y tomar una decisión firme; esto es algo inherente a muchos aspectos de la vida, no solo a definir una bici… es una parte muy bonita del proceso, una especie de conocimiento personal muy enriquecedor. El resto del proceso consiste en toma de medidas, diseño de geometria, seleccion de materiales, fabricación y pintura.

A fundamental aspect is to listen & to understand what type of bike the customer wants & how the customer wants to use it. Always there are those who have clarity & those who are the opposite… and this is understandable! Lots of the time it is hard for us to analyse ourselves, understand ourselves, our needs & desires to make a firm decision; this is something inherent in many aspects of life, not just in defining a bike. This is a very nice part of the process, a way to enrich our personal knowledge. The rest of the process consists of taking mesasurements, designing the geometry, selecting materials, fabricating & painting.

¿Hace todo usted mismo? / Do you do everything yourself?

Si, hago todo en mi taller en La Rioja excepto la pintura.

Yes, I do everything in my workshop in La Rioja, except for the painting.

Finalmente, ¿Andas en bicicleta? ¿Cuál es tu ruta favorita? / Finally – do you ride bikes? What is your favourite route?

Tanto en carretera como gravel mis rutas favoritas son las que no tienen hora límite de llegada a casa, me encanta tomar decisiones de trayectos de ruta sobre la marcha, apostar por la aventura, explorar, perderme, descubrir, hacer paradas sin prisa para disfrutar del paisaje, de la gente, de pueblos perdidos y por supuesto de la gastronomía!

Both on the road & on the gravel my favourite routes are not limited by a deadline to arrive at home, I love to make desicions about the trajectory of a route on the go, betting on an adventure, exploring, getting lost, discovering, making stops without a rush to enjoy the journey, the people, the lost villages, and of course the gastronomy!

Custom Steel Bicycles

We’ve just taken delivery of a RS Cycles Greta Gravel frameset & over the coming weeks we’ll be blogging about the paintwork, the build decisions – groupset, wheelset, finishing kit & sharing scenes from the stand in our Girona workshop. If you’d like to find out more simply get in touch or browse our Custom Bike information. Make sure you follow Reyes on instagram at @rs_cycles & on the RS Cycles Facebook page.

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Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Rene-Herse-Tyres-Test-Ride-Review

René Herse Tyres: The Pursuit of Comfort & Speed

By Cycling No Comments

Eat Sleep Cycle’s Bernat Vilaginés has been keeping himself busy outside of work test riding a set of Steliacoom René Herse tyres. In this blog Bernat introduces the René Herse brand to the uninitiated & shares his insights into the joy of knobbies what makes a tyre great. 

Wide Tyres Roll Faster

Have you ever heard of René Herse tires? Maybe not… maybe Compass tires (the former brand name). René Herse tyres are probably the best tires for gravel and all-road bicycles, and even road bicycles. Their statement is famous, Wide Tyres Roll Faster, and it’s not just a statement, it’s a fact supported by physics.

René Herse make tyres from 26mm to 55mm with a choice of slick or and knobbie finish. I would say from 38mm they are very suitable for gravel, the slick ones yes, and even better the knobbie versions.

Supple Tyres Roll Faster

René Herse tyres have a very particular characteristic, they are supple, and the key factor to get the most juice from them is tyre pressure. Jan Heine, the man behind the brand, is recognised as the eminent figure in the field of tyre pressure – I encourage you to head to the René Herse blog and read everything about tyre presssure and tyre width, you will go to sleep with a deep thinking and very inspired to change what we’ve been assuming for a long time.

René Herse Casings: Standard to Endurance Plus

Nowadays René Herse offers almost all tyres in 4 different casings: standard, extralight, endurance and endurance plus.

Standard is the original tyre, with a supple casing that will surpass your expectatives on grip, rolling stability, and comfort. Then you have the extralight, which enlights all previous charachteristics to the next level. A truly performance version!

Endurance is a more robust sidewall tire with puncture protection retaining all riding habilities.

And the Endurance Plus is a tough tyre thought for this rides or adventures were you don’t really want to puncture, it is a super reliable and protected tire.

A quick note here, all tires are tubeless compatible.

Test Ride: René Herse Steliacoom Endurance

I’ve been testing the Steilacoom 38mm Endurance tyre recently. It’s a knobbie version with the endurance casing (reinforced extralight casing) that weighs 445grs. I’ve been riding with them on pavement as well, and let me tell you something. At first sight you can think, this thing is not gonna roll well on pavement, well, false! It rolls well, and honestly it rolls surprisingly well, because there is a lot of thinking and design that goes behind the placement of the knobs along the tyre.

Knobs are disposed so there’s always a series of knobs in contact with the road so the rolling surface becomes pretty “smooth”. And the knobs on the sides of the tire are disposed in a way that when you corner they are not reaching their edges, and you feel confident that when cornering you have lots of rubber in contact with the road. You have to check your speedometer to realize that you are riding at speeds so close to your rides with slick versions.

Noise Cancellation Technology

The only drawback here would be noise, knobby tires are more loud in contact with pavement. But wait a minute, they are working on a noise cancellation knobs patern, which is already
available in the Fleecer ridge tire. Let me add a comment here, you can’t imagine how confident you can feel descending on 32mm or bigger tires, this is a game-changing property on the road, and you know what, lots of new road bikes launched in 2020 and next season have room to install 32mm tires. And as I’m not a racer and you probably are not I will choose for comfort, safety and rolling performance over skinny light tires, they were good yes, but wider is better.

So, pavement approved. Let’s move to gravel roads. What can I say? All the previous ups just become better, off the road you can squeeze all the nice properties of the tires, they roll super-well, they corner like a dream, and they are supple or comfortable as you were riding on a magic carpet.

Not too many more words to add here. I will encourage you to believe in our reccomendations to give these guys a try. Honestly, you will be surprised and inspired, how a simple thing like a tyre can change the riding properties of your bike, how important a supple case is, how important tyre pressure is, how important width is. Because the most important part of your riding experinece are the tyres, simply because they are always in touch with the ground being the latest asphalt or not.

Want to learn more about René Herse?

Check out our recent Cyclist’s Guide to Tyre Pressure with JP, maker of 2-11 Cylcles & René Herse expert.

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

Mechanics-Guide-To-Winter-Bike-Maintenance-Eat-Sleep-Cycle

A Mechanic’s Guide to Winter Bike Maintenance

By Cycling No Comments

Whether you’re living in sunny Girona or facing wet, windy & cold weather for the next 6 months, every cyclist should take some steps to prepare their bike for winter. If the latter sums up the conditions you’re facing, the best bet is to simply buy a second bike prepped for harsh conditions, wrap your summer bike up in a blanket & store her away for winter. If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride the same bike all year, our mechanic WillemJan shares his 10 recommendations for prepping your bike for the winter months & tips for how to keep it running smoothly.

  1. Change Your Tyres

Selecting tyres that cope well with wet & dirty conditions is the most important thing to do to prepare your bike for winter. Switch your summer tyres for something more durable & with more grip on the side. Also look for a tyre that is heavier & more dense, many tyres come with an anti-puncture layer which is perfect for riding on dirty roads & avoidng fixing puctures in the cold!

Vittoria Rubino Pro Control are my favourite winter tyres for cycling in Girona. Continental 4 Seasons are great for countries like the Netherlands & the UK.

2. Go Tubeless

Another good way to avoid puncture is to set your tyres up as tubeless (if your wheels are tubeless ready!) This makes a big difference to your ride expereince.

3. Tyre Pressure

Selecting the right tyre pressure for your set up & the conditions can transform your cycling experience. A lower tyre pressure gives you more traction & is more comfortable. It’s a myth that lower pressure can lead to more punctures – this is not true! Read our Guide to Tyre Pressure for more info.

Mechanics-Guide-To-Winter-Bike-Maintenance-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Wash-Wax4. Wash & Wax your frame

After every ride clean your bike straight away – wet mud is easier to wash off than dry mud. Hose your bike down & dry it off. Applying a wax layer to the frame makes this part much easier & also protects the frame from damage.

5. Maintain your chain

Wipe & clean your chain after every ride & use a good chain lube. I don’t recommend the normal ‘wet’ chain lube. This gets messy & makes the chain collect dirt. The oil can also spray onto the disc brake. It’s much better to use a high valeu chain wax. If you know you’ll be riding in the wet, add an extra layer the night before your ride.

Smoove makes a great wax lube & the Muc Off Ceramic lube is also a good option.

6. The details count

Before the winter kicks in, grease all the small bolts on your bike, these are the first things to rust in the wet.

7. Safety First – check your cables & brake pads

Before the winter season check all the cables on your bike & replace them if they’re worn. Check your brake pads for wear & check with type you are using. There are two types of brake pads – Resin pads are soft/organic & offer great braking power but wear quickly in wet conditions. Metal brake pads are made from a much harder compound and wear much more slowly. These can squeak when they are wet though!

8. Accessories

Consider adding mud guards to your bike – you’ll have lots of friends on group rides if you fit full mudguards! Mudguards also help to protect rim brakes from extra wear.

9. Spring Clean

Riding in wet conditions usually means everything needs to be stripped down & regreased – check the headset & the bottom bracket & re-grease everything! Replace worn brake pads & replace stretched cables & treat yourself to some summer tyres!

10. Stay Safe & Light Up the Road

Keep riding this winter wherever you are! Remember to add a set of lights to your bike & stay safe out there!

Need help with your bike?

If you’re in Girona feel free to visit WillemJan & our team of mechanics! We service all kinds of bikes – those belonging to World Tour Pro rider & 20 year old Bromptons alike!

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

 

 

Cyclists-Guide-To-Tyre-Pressure-Bike-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Girona

A Cyclist’s Guide to Tyre Pressure

By Cycling No Comments

The cheapest way to make your bike faster.

Aficionados will know that the more sophisticated the tyre, the more knowledge the rider must have to get the most out of the tyre & enable it to perform at its best. As our tyres get wider & pressures get lower, chosing the correct tyre pressure for a rider and bike has never been so important. Too high and you’ll feel every vibration of the road, get more punctures & risk tyre explosions. Too low & the tyre might collapse on a corner or pinch flat.

JP, distributor of René Herse tyres, sat down with the Eat Sleep Cycle team to bust some myths about tyres & help us guide our customers to the optimum tyre pressure for their set up & style of riding.

JP opens by telling us to forget the instructions on the tyre – the numbers serve a legal purpose to protect the tyre manufacturer against lawsuits. So, let’s go back to basics in our quest for optimum pressure.

Tyre-Pressure-Training-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-2-11-Rene-HerseWhat is tyre pressure?

Tyre pressure is determined by the volume of air a tyre can contain & the weight of the system (bike, rider & kit). The volume of air a tyre can contain is determined by the size of the tyre & the size of the rim of the wheel. Over the last 30 years us cyclists have been taught to believe that the vibrations & noise of high pressures & thin tyres speeding over tarmac is fast. But if you stop & think about it, all the vibrations are wasted energy.

We need to re-learn what fast actually feels like – what something feels like & how a tyre performs under testing are really different. Fast is silent, fast is smooth & it follows that fast is actually alot more comfortable that the antiquated high-pressure, high-vibration feeling of ‘fast’.

What about aerodynamics?

This is a good question & it’s true that wide tyres can comprmise the aerodynamics for very fast paced rides and road racing conditions. Thus tyre width & pressure selection is about finding the perfect balance for you as an individual, based on what terrain you’ll be riding & what your priorities are on a bike. Note that bikes are evolving to take wider tires in account, so are rims and so on –  aerodynamic bikes dialed in for wider tires are soon to be a reality.

Performance & Comfort

Never underestimate the influence of comfort on your performance. A rider who is comfortable on their machine can ride for longer & can put out more power – the more supple a tyre, the more comfortable it is & the better it performs. According to JP:

What’s called suspension losses is actually energy from the road/tyre interface dissipating in your own body as heat and costing you power. The rougher the terrain, the more you need “comfort” to ride faster.

A ‘new normal’ Tyre pressure for roadies

The professional peleton is catching on to the science & wheel manufacturer’s are developing wider rims capable of supporting tyres at lower pressures. A 23 mm tyre used to be standard for a road tyre. Now the majority of riders are running 25’s or 28’s & our workshop gets daily requests to fit the widest tyres that a frame can take. It will be the case in a few years that pro riders (prioritising aerodymanics) will be running 28’s and normal riders (prioritising comfort) will be running 30’s or 32’s on their road bikes. JP tells us:

The new generation of road wheels are much wider. For example, Enve 3.4AR wheels are 24mm inside width hookless rims, which make a 28mm tyre go up to 30mm in real life & recommend a pressure of 4.5 bar (65 PSI) for a rider weighing 80 kgs.

That is new, bonkers & very exciting.

Calculating your optimum Tyre Pressure

Luckily, there are some great tyre pressure calculators out there to do the complicated math for us. You’ll need some key pieces of informaiton to hand:

  • Weight of the system (rider + bike + kit)
  • Wheel diameter (650b/700c/26″)
  • Tyre width (make sure you measure the actual width, not the width it says on the tyre)
  • Weight distribution (the geometry of the bike – endurance, race, gravel etc)

Plug your information into one of these caluclators & away you go!

Silca Pro Tyre Pressure Calculator

Sram AXS Tyre Pressure Calculator

Tyre Pressure Calculator App

These calculators give a good reference point to the pressure which will work best for you however facotr in a variance of +/- .3 bar, depending on rider preference & terrain. For example, if you’re planning a ride on super smooth tarmac, add up to an extra .3 bar to your recommended pressure. If you’re heading off-road on the same set up on rough terrain, go up to .3 bar lower. It’s all about smoothing out the vibrations & minimising rolling resistance.

The Difference Between Front & Rear Tyre Pressure

JP teaches us about the importance of you, the rider, in tuning tyre pressure:

Whilst some calculators will give a recommended front & rear pressure coming mostly from bike geometry guess, this is where you, the rider comes in to fine tune things. Using the Tyre
Pressure App, only use the rear wheel result. The front tyre should be 0.9 – 0.95 (5% – 10% less) of the pressure of the rear. The difference depends on your riding style. If you’re someone who likes to climb out of the saddle a higher pressure (0.95 of the rear) makes sense, if you like to stay seated go for something a little softer – 0.9 of the rear.

What about Tubeless Tyres?

There is a common misconception that running tubeless means you should run a lower pressure. This is not the case. Tubeless set up allows a lower pressure but the ideal pressure a rider should run is still determined by their weight and air volume of the tyre. Tubeless is great for lighter riders who need to run a lower pressure than a standard clincher would allow. Tube type setups tend to work best for tyres up to 35 mm, Tubeless starts to come into its own with tyres over 35 mm.

JP also recommends not using tubeless setups over 4 bars (60 PSI) – this is also the recommendation of the René Herse brand:

Above 4 bars, sealants don’t work so well on punctures anyway and tend to spray bike and rider in action. Also if you roll thinner tires you’re probably riding on smooth roads an looking for sporty and fast rides… Some good latex tubes from Silca will give you the best experience.

What about Rolling resistance?

A durable tire with a sturdy casing and a high level of puncture resistance, will not roll as well as a tire that’s very compliant, light, and more delicate of construction. A wider tire will roll better and have better grip compared to a very narrow tire, but will suffer at high speeds due to aerodynamic drag.

  1. The most efficient set up in terms of rolling resistance is a latex tube paried with a supple tyre
  2. Next up is tubeless with a small amout of sealant.
  3. Standard tubes & standard clinchers are the slowest.

Be aware that a latex tube & supple tyre will require pumping every day – pressure is lost fairly quickly, so whilst this set up might be perfect for a one day race, it’s not be the most practical for a multi-day adventure when you can’t access a track up every morning.

Tyre-Rolling-Resistance-Explained-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Tyre-PressureGreat Pumps = Accurate Pressure

Not all pumps offer a high level of accuracy & the lower the pressure you want to run, the more sophisticated your tool needs to be. Look for a pump with a dial that is easy to read. Consider two pumps – one for tyres you like to run at a higher pressure (anything over 60 psi) & one for your low pressure tyres (anything under 60 psi). Make sure that the pressure dial is easy to read & that you can read the same pressure every time regardless of what angle you’re seeing it at. Make sure that your pump repeatedly achieves the same results – ask your local workshop to check your tyre pressure too.

Check out this Silca Pista Floor Pump if you’re looking to upgrade your tools.

René Herse Tyres

René Herse are leading the field in producing supple tyres which offer supreme comfort & performance. The tyres are handmade in small quantities in the Panaracer factory.

They are available in three sizes:

  • 26″
  • 650b
  • 700c

They are available with four different casings:

  • Standard – this is the ‘entry-level’ René Herse, but there’s nothing entry-level about them!
  • Extra-light – this is an exclusive polyester casing unique to René Herse. The 28 mm tyre comes in at just 220g.
  • Endurance – this features the extra-light casing with additional density & a puncture protection layer
  • Endruance Plus – special tougher casing material, for even more protection. Perfect for adventure riding & truly epic journey’s where punctures must be avoided at all costs.

They are available in multiple widths from 26 mm road tyres to 55 mm mtb/gravel tyres & with a choice of all-road slicks or dual-purpose knobbies depending on the terrain you’re seeking.

Look out for the first generation of René Herse tyres with noise cancellation technology…!

Rene-Herse-Tyres-Explained-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Gravel-Road-TyresRené Herse Stockist

We’re proud to stock René Herse tyres – drop by our Hub & we’ll help you to find your perfect tyre (& pressure!) or browse our René Herse tyres online.

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

 

 

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Ridley Noah Fast Disc Bike Review

By Cycling No Comments

Ridley Bikes is a Belgian family run business run by foudner Joachim Aerts (fan of the films by Ridley Scott, hence the name of his bike company). Aerts has created a very cool bike brand, with its HQ & experience centre located in the heart of the Belgian countryside. Ridley are a long-time sponsor of World Tour team Lotto Soudal & riders of Ridley bikes include sprinters Caleb Ewan & John Degenkolb, master of the breakaway Thomas de Gendt & classics star Phillippe Gilbert.

Ridley Noah Fast Ultegra Di2 Disc

The Ridley Noah Fast turns-heads. Ridley has used its on-site windtunnel to develop new, faster tube profiles and improve the overall aerodynamics of the Noah Fast, while saving 250g frame weight over its predecessor, the Noah. The integrated bar stem does much for the look of the bike – cables are nowhere to be seen & the bike has an exquisite, minimalist look.

Chris talks us through the bike:

Ridley Noah Fast Specification

Product

  • Price €7,899
  • Weight 7.5 kg (Size M)

Features

  • Frame: Noah Fast Disc, 50T-40T-30T High Modulus Unidirectional Carbon, In-Mould F-Surface Technology, TA 12x142mm
  • Fork: Noah Fast Disc, 50T-40T-30T High Modulus Unidirectional Carbon, In-Mould F-Surface Technology, TA 12x100mm
  • Group: Shimano Ultegra Di2 HDB
  • Crank: Rotor 3D+ 52/36T
  • Sprocket: Shimano Ultegra 11-30
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Flatmount
  • Wheels: Forza Vardar, 17mm Internal Width
  • Handlebar: Ridley Fast Integrated Cockpit
  • Stem: Ridley Fast Integrated Cockpit
  • Seat Post: Noah Fast Disc Seatpost
  • Chain: KMC X11
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
  • Tyres: Vittoria Corsa 25mm

Industry Reviews

Paul Norman reviews the bike for Cycling Weekly:

As you’d expect from an aero machine, the Ridley Noah Fast Disc feels, well, fast. That’s particularly noticeable on flat-out downhill runs, where the Ridley feels very stable riding in the drops without the twitchiness that some machines exhibit. Crosswind stability is also good, with none of the buffeting that the combination of deep tube sections and disc rotors can cause for some aero machines.

Everything feels very taut and there’s a degree of steering precision which adds to confidence at speed, while there’s the reassurance of the disc brakes when you do need to slow yourself down.

The flip side is a rather less comfortable ride than, say on the Scott Foil – although that bike has been ridden to a win at Paris Roubaix, so you’d expect it to have plenty of compliance.

Eat Sleep Cycle team rider Amy Waldron has been test riding the Noah Fast:

This is a great bike! As well as being fast on the flats the Noah Fast climbs really well – a nice addition to an aero bike. It’s a bike that almost rides away from you – the power transfer is awesome.

Ridley Noah Fast Custom

As with all Ridley Bikes the Noah Fast is available to buy as a frameset or as a complete bike with Ultegra Di2. Ridley also offer custom Pure Line paintwork for the bikes. Our rental fleet comes in stealthy black with white decals, Caleb Ewan’s bike comes in metallic black with white decals. Whatever your style, this can be a beautiful personalised machine for any rider looking to optimize speed!

Ridley offer a wide range of beautifully made bikes, from the Fenix SL for shmashing over the cobbles of Roubaix, to the Helium SLX for floating up the climbs. Ridley are well known for their cyclocross & gravel bikes and make fantastic mountain bikes too.

Interested in a Ridley Bike?

Check out our Ridley Noah Fast bikes for sale online or contact us about your very own custom build.

Travel-Policy-Coronavirus-Protecting-Guests-Protecting-Guides

Travel in our ‘New Normal’ World

By Cycling No Comments

Protecting our Guests & Guides

Travel always has risks & now more than ever the decision to travel or not is a personal one. For those who are ready to travel again & get back in the saddle we’re taking extra precautions to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our guests & guides safe during their Eat Sleep Cycle tour.

Cleanliness

Hotels

We work with carefully selected hotels who already pride themselves on spotless rooms & public areas. We ensure that all the hotels & guesthouses we work with are following the new protocols for social distancing & cleanliness. We also prioritise working with small, boutique hotels ensuring our guests contact with as few people as possible.

Food Preparation

We will continue to serve our trademark picnic lunches on tour. Our team will be wearing masks & gloves during all food preparation & will follow all normal food preparation & hygeine guidelines.

Equipment

Our vehicles, bikes & any equipment like GPS devices & pumps will be sterilised every day.

Travel Companions

We love to run private trips for individuals, couples & groups of friends and family – we do not have a minimum group size.

We will continue to run our scheduled tours as we know many of our guests love to travel solo and ride with new people. Again, we keep numbers to a minimum – many of our scheduled tours run with groups of 6 people or less.

Being Prepared

Healthy Travel

When you arrive on tour your guide will give you a quick contactless temperature test – anyone with a temperature of over 38 C / 100 F will not be allowed to participate in the group tour. Guests are asked not to travel if they feel unwell.

Support & Advice

We are here to support you during your trip & our team in the office & guides out on the road are on hand 24/7 to help navigate any unexpected situations. All of our guides are First Aid & CPR trained & speak the local language of wherever you’re travelling. We have a protocal to follow should anyone fall ill on tour.

We will also let you know ahead of time if your destination country requires proof of a negative Coronavirus test to gain entry at the time of your tour.

Face Coverings

All guests are invited to bring their own face mask on tour. Whilst we do not ride wearing face masks, it’s great to have mask on standby at all times. We also carry hand sanitizer on tour & suggest all guests bring their own too.

Meals

During our tours we dine in small local restuarants & request a table outside whenever possible & when the weather permits.

Want to Talk About Travelling In Our ‘New Normal’ World?

We’d love to hear from you, find out how you’re doing & hear about your travel plans. Get in touch for a no-comittment chat and friendly advice abour when & where to consider for your next cycling trip.

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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Focus Izalco Max Disc 9.7 AXS Review

By Cycling No Comments

Focus Bikes was founded in 1993 by cyclocross World Champion Mike Kluge & is based in Stuttgart, Germany. Focus has it’s roots in mountain bikes & now leads the way in producing high performance road bikes & e-bikes.

The Izalco Max – A Perfect Aero All-Rounder?

The Izalco Max is fast, aerodynamic, elegant & light – the perfect all-round machine? Check out Chris’ video review of the top of the line Focus Izalco Max Disc 9.7 – the bike currently proudly on display in our Hub window!

Focus Izalco Max Specification

Product

  • Price €6199
  • Weight 7.9 kg (Size L)

Features

  • Available Sizes – XXS – XXL
  • Groupset – Sram Force AXS
  • Fork & Frame – MAX technolofy carbon
  • Handlebar – Easton EC90 Aerobar
  • Saddle – Prologo Dimension
  • Seatpost – Izalco Carbon
  • Stem – Focus Izalco
  • Tyres – Conti GP 4000 SII 25 mm
  • Wheels DT Swiss Dicut ARC1450

Industry Reviews

Warren Rossiter summaries his experience in his review for Bike Radar:

The ride is brilliant – firm yet forgiving. It’s comfortable enough for long, hard rides, light enough to climb with the best. The handling is sublime – nimble without nerves and with an agility that puts it up with the best of breed. Very impressive.

Cyclist Magazine takes a slightly more ciritical view of the 9.9 models & scores the bike 3/5 as they find the handling too lively:

Does well to blend aero design with classic road bike attributes, albeit this means it much more Jack of all trades than true master

Gran Fondo Magazine conclude that the bike is a great option for bike racers but note the light handling make it less suitable for more leisure-oriented riders:

With its sprinting abilities and playful handling, the FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 is a great choice for all the racers and crit riders out there. For tours and more leisure-oriented riders, it’s less appropriate due to the agile front and the comparatively low amount of comfort. While it’s a solid all-rounder, it’s just a bit too sporty to take the win in our test.

The Focus Izalco Max Range

The 9.7  comes in at €6,999 with the Sram Force AXS groupset. This bike can be upgraded to the 9.9, €8,999 9.9 Dura Ace Di2 or the 9.8 €8,499 Sram Red AXS version. For those looking for a similar ride feel without the super bike price tag, the 8 series starts at €3,099 for a Shimano 105 build & a light (but not superlight) carbon frame & non-integrated cables.

Interested in a Focus Bike?

Head over to our online shop to browse the models we have in stock or contact us about your dream build!

Cyclist-Guide-to-Bikepacking

Cyclist’s Guide To Bikepacking

By Cycling No Comments

How To Plan A Bikepacking Trip

The bikepacking season is well & truly here in Europe. Hot summer weather means packing light & an opportunity to expand your horizons and keep costs to a minimum (or splurge on some luxury hotels of course!). Planning a bike tour is great fun but also requires a bit of thought & planning – skip this phase and you could end up having a miserable time. Here’s our top tips on what to consider when planning your trip – these are the same steps we work through when planning a custom cycling tour for our guests.

Top-Tips-For-Planning-A-Bikepacking-TripChoosing Your Route

Why Bikepacking?

Have a quick think about what your motivations are for the trip – do you want to get away from it all & head out on a spontaneous adventure? Maybe you want to log quality miles, or opt for a more relaxed break with a focus on great food & beautiful places to stay. The answers to these questions will start to give you an idea about some potential destinations for your bikepacking trip.

What Terrain & What Bike?

Next up is to decide what type of terrain you’d like to ride – do you want to enjoy smooth tarmac, gravel trails, bike paths or single track? Do you fancy some climbing or do you prefer to keep things flat? Do you want to stick to terrain you’re comfortable with or are you looking to push your comfort zone?

With this info you can then select the perfect bike – a high performance road machine, gravel bike, touring bike or mountain bike! Check out our 2020 Bike Rental Fleet Review for an overview of different bike options for different styles of riding.

How far do you want to ride?

The most important thing here is to be realistic. There’s nothing worse than committing to huge daily distances & realising halfway through day 1 that you’re not quite as fit as you thought you were! Remember the miles will be slower as you’ll be carrying all your gear & don’t forget to consider the fatigue building up over the duration of the trip. When choosing your stopover points keep things comfortable – it’s never a problem to extend a ride with an extra loop or extra climb but it’s difficult to shorten. The worst case is you end up hopping on to main roads to cover distance more easily – fine if the aim or your trip is to cover as many kms as possible, but pretty miserable if you were hoping to explore backroads & villages.

How long do you have?

Are you looking for a quick weekend break, a week long cruise or an epic multi-stage adventure? Having a rough idea of dates should be a factor in deciding where you’re going to ride – in the peak of summer it’s great to head north to a cooler climates, in Spring & Autumn everywhere is ace & in winter southern destinations are king. If you’re bikepacking on the road make sure you find out about traffic conditions in your chosen region – shifting a trip to the coast in summer to mid-week dates can make a huge difference to traffic levels.

Where to Sleep?

Bikepackers generally fall into 3 categories depending on their budget for the trip & motivation for riding:

Bivvy Bag/Tent

Hands down the bivvy-bag is most economical way to travel. It’s also the most adventurous and gives you the most flexiblity whilst on the tour. It’s pretty great to make it to the top of a climb & decide to call it a day, make camp & watch the sun go down. Be aware you’ll have to invest in a bit more gear to be able to sleep outdoors in comfort so this option only makes sense if you’re planning on a longer trip or multiple trips in this style!

Guesthouse

Staying in local guesthouses along the route is a great way to meet people who live in the area & get some insights into the local way of life. Things to consider when choosing a guesthouse are whether or not they offer evening meals as well as breakfast. If not, is there a place you can get some food within walking distance – when you arrive after a long day on the bike the worst thing is to have to get back on the bike in search of sustenance.

It’s nice to mix up different types of guesthouses to give your trip some variety. Spend a night or two somewhere rural, then head to enjoy an evening in a buzzing town centre. It’s generally best to avoid big cities when bike packing – getting in & out can be super stressful in traffic, especially if you’re not sure of the route. However, if you have time for detailled route research & want to get a hit of city culture most cities have one or two more bike-friendly routes in & out – check train route & rivers on the map, often there’s a bike path alongside them.

Luxury Hotels

If you’re looking to treat yourself then go for the best hotels in the region. Benefits include post-ride recovery in the hotel spa, massages on demand, a very comfortable, clean bed, unlimited toiletries, laundry service & great food & wine! Make sure you have the mental strength to check-out in time to make your next planned ride & make sure the food choices cater for cyclists – gourmet food is delicious but often lacks carbs – a bikepackers best friend on a multi-day trip. A nice way to plan a trip is to build towards a spectacular hotel for your final night or two. As the miles rack up, often the need for quality recovery increases too!

Back to Choosing Your Route!

Once you’ve established all of the above it’s time to decide where to ride & put some hours into planning your route. Different regions lend themselves to different styles of trip:

Bikepacking-Destinations-Mallorca-Morocco-AndaluciaMallorca Beach Hop

  • Motivation: a nice mix of exploring by bike & relaxation on the beach, with options for great food & sightseeing for those who are keen
  • Terrain: best for road cycling, gravel also an option
  • Sleep: Best for guesthouses or luxury hotels – there are loads to choose from & distances between places are small.
  • Distances: Mallorca is an island so this is not a location to rack up huge point to point miles. Perfect for 50km – 100km days!
  • Duration: Anything from a weekend to a week. If you go over 2 weeks you’ll run out of road or go around in circles
  • Time of year: All year around, at it’s very best for cycling in Spring & Autumn.

Trans Andalucia

  • Motivation: best for a get-away-from it all epic ride!
  • Terrain: road, mtb or gravel, it’s all awesome. Andalucia is home to the Sierra Nevada mountains
  • Sleep: Luxury hotels are few & far between, there are great guesthouses & camping wild is also doable
  • Distances: Andalucia is the land that keeps on giving. Best for long days on the bike, but there are plently of villages dotted around
  • Duration: At least a week to get a taste of the region.
  • Time of year: All year around but avoid July & August unless you don’t mind the heat

Sahara Desert & Atlas Mountains

  • Motivation: total escape & new horizons
  • Terrain: road, mtb & gravel – Morocco has it all. Avoid main roads & big cities – the traffic is chaotic.
  • Sleep: local guesthouses – rustic & welcoming, good to have the option ot bivvy if you don’t make the distance. There are some luxury hotels dotted around, they are few & far between & very disconnected from local life.
  • Distances: Huge & at altitude. This is tough, beautiful, remote riding!
  • Duration: The more time you have the better to experience the full variety of riding
  • Time of year: Avoid June, July & August, the heat is extreme. If you’re heading into the high mountians avoid January & Feburary as you’ll be climbing into ice & snow.

Once you’ve selected your region it’s time to start hunting down the best roads, places to stay & unmissable food stops. Are there climbs you want to aim for? Are there mountain ranges you’d prefer to avoid? Where are the two or three locations you really want to stay the night? With these bits of information you can start to piece toegether the outline of a trip.

Make sure you consider how you’ll get to the start of the trip & how you’ll get home. A few adjustments at the planning stage can save you hours of pre & post trip travel hell.

How to Carry Your Gear

There’s a huge amount of bike-packing gear on the market & it’s wise to do some homework & work out what works best for both your bike & the amount of gear you want to carry.

Weight distribution is key for a smooth, stable & enjoyable ride. Load too much on the back of the bike and your front end will feel like it’s lifting off the ground, climbing out the saddle will be super wobbly and corners will have to be low-speed to stay upright.

Opt for smaller packs, but more of them. If you’re travelling super light go for a saddle pack & a bar bag to get some weight off the back, if you need more gear, add a frame bag & then a fork bag. If you’re going heavy-weight and heading off on an epic ride a traditional touring set up with a rack and panniers might be the best way to go.

If you’re in the market for new bike luggage we highly recommend Restrap & Ortileb. Both companies make fantastic, reliable products & are well worth the investment.

How-to-pack-bikepacking-gear-kit-choice

Packing For Your Bikepacking Trip

Your packing list is up to you and will be shaped by both how long you plan to be on the road, the time of year you’ll be riding & your hygiene standards! Remember, everything you pack is something you’ll have to carry & unpack & repack throughout the trip – simplicity & lightweight, multi-purpose items are key.

Check out our Bare Essentails packing list on our Bikepacking the Pirinexus blog. If you can’t cope with travelling this light, consider getting your luggage transfered to each new location – you’ll have less freedom in terms of altering your route & more to plan but hey, it’s your dream bike trip after all!

Thinking about a Bikepacking Trip & Need Some Help?

We’d love to hear from you! We’re experts in planning bike adventures & would love to hear about your dream trip. We offer flexible services from route planning, accommodation reservations, bike hire, bike luggage hire, luggage transfers & more. Get in touch for a no-comittment chat!

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