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

By Cycling No Comments

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!

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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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Cycling in 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!

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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.

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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]

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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’.”

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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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Eat Sleep Cycle: Introducing Sarto Frames

By Cycling No Comments

As a local bike shop, we’re constantly on the search for unique bikes & brands to offer to our customers. Sarto are custom carbon frame builders, who make and build their frames in Italy. We already work with makers of steel bikes (2-11 Cycles, RS Cycles, Sour) & titatium bikes (Reilly Cycles, Moots, No. 22) and so it is with great pleasure that we add Sarto, custom carbon frame makers, to our brand partners. This week saw the arrival of our first Sarto frame – a  stunning Seta frame in a steel blue which is turning all our heads. Read on to find out more.

About Sarto

Sarto offer a top of the line, fully customisable carbon frame, handmade in Italy since 1960. Sarto offer a fully customisable experience, from geometry, graphics, and even reinforcements on the frame from kevlar, titanium, or carbon.

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Sarto: Custom Carbon Road Bike Frames

Sarto offer a choice of five different frames: Seta (for long, comfortable rides), Lampo (the aero bike), Asola (the climbing bike), Dinamica (the crit racing bike) & Veneto (a sport bike) – designed to offer something for every type of cyclist.

Seta

Elegant, and complete. Made with the stiffest carbon on the market, clean lines with a flat top tube and thin chain stay, as well as a new integrated seat clamp, the Seta is a stunning choice of frame.

Seta Plus

Advanced, and modern. Offering fully integrated routing with hidden cables, this frame, stem, and adaptability offer maximum adaptability. The new design ensures maximum comfort with the seat stays directly connected to the horizontal tube, as well as the fork and rear stays being able to accommodate tyres up to 35mm wide.

Seta Plus Tri-Composite

A nimble and dynamic bike frame. The Seta plus Tri-Composite is built for comfort, both on the flat and on the climbs. Resin, carbon fiber and metal filaments: Tri-Composite opens the new era of carbon frames by increasing the technical performance of the bicycle as well as giving it a sleek and powerful look.

Lampo

Dynamic, and spirited. With speed in mind first and foremost, built with a special surface on the frame tube to increase airflow.

Lampo Plus

Pure, and extremely fast. A machine built for speed, each and every tube has been made to be aerodynamic. The fundamental components of this design is the new handlebar stem, entirely in carbon, specifically designed and optimised to route the handlebar cables directly into the frame, and the new steering tube designed to guarantee top driving quality and perfect integration of all internal cables.

Asola

“The best climbing frame we ever made” – Sarto.

Asola Plus

Asola, the longest selling frame in our range, evolves with the PLUS version, offering total cable integration in the disc brake version.

Dynamica

Sporty, and powerful. Whether you’re racing in criteriums, on the road, or in gran fondos, this is a top choice frame.

Veneto SL

For optimum comfort. “Suitable for cyclists who respect tradition yet love innovation.” – Sarto.

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Sarto: Custom Carbon TT Bike Frame

Ferox

Speed, and high performance. Sarto are offering some of the most advanced technology on the market with meticulous attention to detail. Ideal for for tri-athletes and chrono riders, this model guarantees high speeds.

Sarto: Custom Carbon Gravel Bike Frame

Gravel TA

No limits. Built for those wanting to explore more than just the road. Catering for wheels of either 700C or 650B to allow for a wider range of use, you’re getting one bike frame with the capability of gravel, road, cyclocross and some mountain biking.

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Sarto: Custom Carbon Bike Frames

With Sarto’s offering on custom carbon bike frames, from road, TT, to gravel, they are a top choice to acquire an incredibly special frame. Make a bike fully custom and put your own spin on it for a bike that is truly unique to you.

(Information from the Sarto website)

Get in touch to find out how you can get yourself a Sarto frame, email: [email protected].

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Eat Sleep Cycle Café: Food Philosophy

By Cycling No Comments

With less than a week to go until the Eat Sleep Cycle Café opens we speak to Bram, the Eat Sleep Cycle Café chef, as he talks about the inspiration behind the menu of our new Girona cycling café. One of the most important factors for Lee and Louise when deciding to expand Eat Sleep Cycle, was to ensure they were able to give back to the community & support local producers. Read on to find out more from the chef  behind the newest Girona cycling café menu!

Hello Bram, welcome to Eat Sleep Cycle! Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a chef?

Hi, I’m Bram from the Netherlands, I grew up in a small fishing town Breskens. I started at the age of 14 working as a dishwasher for two hours at the weekend, that’s where Bart started to teach me kitchen life. My most valuable lesson I learnt in the kitchen is to first create a perfect dish, then once you have it, make it as easy as possible to make without losing the quality.

I worked my way up in the kitchen scene & as young guy I would change job each year to gain as much experience as possible. Later, I started traveling in the winters and that’s where the biggest experience was, learning how other cultures cook and eat. It was and still is amazing.

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What is it like to create a menu from scratch for a new restaurant?

Creating a menu is always a challenge, especially in a foreign country away from what you know. You have to do your homework to understand the food culture, and then the menu needs to be diverse enough. I’m not afraid to say I’m stubborn, I don’t like to copy, I always want to end up with my own twist on a dish.

Finding new ingredients is the other nice part of it, it’s a journey that never ends. Finding ingredients with a story is specially awesome. A cheese that is coming from a small local farm, made from 12 cows who all have a name, creating a dish with that, is gold.

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What has inspired the Eat Sleep Cycle Café menu?

Trying to work as much as possible with local and seasonal ingredients is the inspiration for the menu.

What style of food can we expect to see for the newest Girona cycling cafe?

The food of the café will change with the seasons. But you can also expect local ingredients with a international twist. I worked in Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Philippines, and from every place your learn something. It would be nice to infuse some of those flavours in a gentle way with local products from Cataluya.

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Do you have any favourite suppliers or ingredients that you are working with?

My favourite ingredients are always changing. I do like to work with seafood as well meat, but now a days vegan, healthy and sustainable is the hype, so I’m more focused on developing myself in those areas. I’m a massive fan of the “Yakiniku” Kamado BBQ, it’s extremely diverse. Smoking, roasting, slow cooking, pizza, cakes, it is endless! Using this in combination with veggies, creating something out of the box, that’s what I mostly like.

What’s your biggest motivation as a chef?

My biggest motivation is creating dishes and giving costumers the ‘wow’ effect. There is always something to improve, and that never stops.

Stay up to date on the café!

All of us at Eat Sleep Cycle are excited for the newest venture into a Girona cycling café, and we’re all so grateful for your support! Follow us on instagram, and check out our café web page to stay up to date.

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Tour de France Bike Round Up

By Cycling No Comments

What a Tour de France it was this year! We have loved watching the yellow jersey win on a Colnago once again, and loved seeing so many of our favourite bikes out on the road. We take a look at the star bikes of the Tour de France from Colnago, Cervélo, Ridley & Factor.

UAE Emirates: Colnago Bikes

This year UAE Emiriates rode a combination of the Colnago V3Rs, Colnago Concepts, and the Colnago C64’s, built with Campagnolo Super Record EPS. Yellow jersey Tadej Pojacar rode a Colnago V3Rs, built with Campagnolo, Deda, and Prologo.

One of the great things about the Tour de France is that we often see new tech, and designs. Colnago released 108 limited editions of their V3Rs road bikes, we were fortunate to one which flew off the shop floor!

We are a Colnago dealer and stock a range of bikes and frameset’s. Girona local Bre Vine recently bought a Colnago C64 and wrote a blog on why this was her bike of choice, read it here.

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Jumbo-Visma: Cervélo Bikes

From 2021 Jumbo-Visma are sponsored by Cervelo bikes and rode a range of the Cervelo road bikes during the Tour de France, including the Cervelo R5, Cervelo S5, and Cervelo Caledonia, all built with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.

Be it for sprinting, climbing, or a all-round classics bred build, Cervelo has a bike fit for any need. Wout Van Aert stunned fans with 3 epic wins with a mountain stage win on Mont Ventoux, a individual time-trial win, and the most coveted sprint of all in the Tour de France on the Champs Elyesee. Van Aert rides a Cervelo S5 for the sprint stages, and an R5 for the mountain stages, built with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.

Not only are we a Cervelo dealer, we are also currently running an offer on a selected range of our Cervelo bikes! Check it out here.

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Israel Start-Up Nation: Factor Bikes

We were thrilled to see that Factor are continuing their sponsorship of Israel Start-Up Nation for 2022! This year the team rode a combination of the Factor Ostro’s, and Factor VAM 02 rim brake edition, all built with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.

We even saw Chris Froome riding a new time-trial bike named the Hanzo, we look forward to finding out more about! ISN star rider Micheal Woods rode into the Polka Dot jersey on stage 14 of the Tour de France on the Factor Ostro VAM, showing the versatility of the Ostro VAM as an aero climbing bike!

Israel Start-Up Nation coach, Ciarán O’Grady, recently bought a Factor Ostro from Eat Sleep Cycle, read his blog here. His partner, Rocket Rawrrs, also recently bought a Factor VAM 02, read her blog here.

We are an official Factor dealer & our mechanics are specialists in Factor builds. Browse our range of in-stock Factor bikes.

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Lotto Soudal: Ridley Bikes

Lotto Soudal is a Belgian professional cycling team riding Ridley bikes which are made in Belgium. Lotto Soudal rode both the Ridley Helium, being the light weight climbing bike, and the Ridley Noah Fast which is a speed machine, built with Campagnolo Super Record EPS.

We sadly didn’t get to see much of Caleb Ewan on his Noah Fast after he crashed out on Stage 3 having fractured his right collarbone in four spots during a high-speed crash towards the finish line. However, we did see a number of strong rides from the team, including from 23 year old Brent Van Moer on Stage 4 where he was caught close to line by the sprint teams fighting for the win.

Not only do we stock a range of Ridley road bikes, including the Helium, Fenix SliC, and Noah Fast, we also stock Ridley gravel bikes such as the Kanzo Adventure and Kanzo Fast! See our Ridley bikes here.

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Want to learn more about the bikes we stock and custom builds at Eat Sleep Cycle?

Browse our range of in-stock bikes or contact us directly to start the conversation.

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Factor VAM 02 – Rocket Rawrrs Custom Build

By Cycling No Comments

I recently bought a Factor VAM 02 as an upgrade to my S Works SL5. I’ve been on the hunt for a new bike for awhile, patiently waiting until the right bike came at the right time. The Factor VAM 02 was that bike, and I’m happy to say that I fell in love with this bike on my first test ride, she’s light, responsive, climbs like a beast and super comfortable to descend on.

Choosing the Factor O2 VAM

 

I’d been looking for a new bike for awhile, knowing I couldn’t upgrade to another S Works, I was looking for a bike that was in budget, preferably a second hand or an ex-rental to be more eco-conscious and cost effective, and also wanted a pure climbing bike. The Factor VAM 02 fit my criteria, she’s an ex-rental frame from Eat Sleep Cycle in perfect condition, a pure climbing bike, and was in budget!
I took her for a test ride and by the end of the ride had completely fallen in love with how she felt on the road, so I decided there and then this was the one for me.
It’s not often we really take into consideration the environmental impact of new bikes and bike parts, and so for me, buying what I could for my new bike second hand, and utilising what I already had was really important. Eat Sleep Cycle were so supportive with this and do offer their ex-rental fleets at a superb price after the rental season, they also have a bike exchange programme and sell on the second hand bikes! All of which are professionally checked before hand. I really rate this initiative.

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Factor o2 VAM Ride Style

 

The biggest noticeable difference for me is actually my confidence when descending. My previous bike had very narrow handlebars which was suitable for the races I had been doing, but I now I have 38cm wide handlebars and feel like I have a lot more control when descending. I have been able to push my skills so much further so going for the Factor VAM 02 has definitely changed my riding style.

It’s also helped my climbing ability and over the past few months of riding this bike my climbing style has changed and become so much more efficient.

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Factor O2 VAM vs Factor Ostro

 

There are so many things I love about my new bike, and that I changed from my old S Works. I am also now on disc brakes, mainly because this was the option that was available rather than a conscious choice to opt for disc brakes, but I really am getting on well with them and have to say I’m definitely a convert.

The Factor VAM 02 is comfortable, light, and responsive. She’s at home in the mountains and hilly terrain and is so perfect for a place like Girona. My partner recently bought a Factor Ostro which is stiffer and more race ready, having given that a little spin I’m glad I went for the VAM 02!

You can read Ciarán’s blog on his Factor Ostro VAM here.

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Living in Girona: Making the Move from the UK

 

My partner started working for Israel Start-Up Nation as a coach and they have a heavy presence in Girona, he was keen to make the move and live closer to the team having spent the last few years away from his teams due to my work. We decided to take the leap to starting a new life in a new country, its been a dream of ours to do this for a long time!

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Best Road Cycling Route in Girona

 

Its a route I created, an amalgamation of two routes I love. Its a mix between the “Coast Loop” and “Romanyà de la Selva Loop”. You head out from Girona to Tossa de Mar and follow the coast road until you hit the beginning of the Sant Grau climb. This is one of my favourite climbs in Girona as the views are amazing! You then head back down into Llagostera, but take a right at the roundabout rather than following the road you came in on. Follow this up to Romanyà de la Selva, where you then head back down passing Calonge, up another climb and onwards to Madremanya. There is another road you could take which is a little nicer, but far more busy, so I stick to my quiet roads. You end this route by heading up the backside of Els Angels, back down the longer side, and finally rolling home into Girona and to a café for some sustenance. The route is 132km and over 2,000m of climbing.

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Rocket’s Custom Factor VAM 02 Build:

Frame: 49cm Factor VAM 02 Black and Red (Ex-Rental)

Handlebars: Black Inc integrated handlebar and stem, 38cm by 120mm

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 (Ex-Rental)

Cranks & Power Meter: Quarq (Second Hand)

Wheelset: Black Inc Twenties

Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Controls

You can watch my full review here.

Want to learn more about Factor Bikes custom builds at Eat Sleep Cycle?

We are an official Factor dealer & our mechanics are specialists in Factor builds. Browse our range of in-stock Factor bikes or contact us directly to start the conversation.

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