Style and Innovation - The Technology of CHPT3 Clothing - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Style & Innovation: The Technology of CHPT3 Clothing

By Girona No Comments

CHPT3 are a brand that we first started working with last November after their focus on local Girona cycling influence and innovative clothing caught our eye (something that ESC partner Brian has already written about and we’ve also explained why CHPT3 are a great fit for ESC). The Girona-based brand helmed by ex-pro David Millar are as much about style as they are innovative technology and to that end we hosted a tech talk with David at our Girona Hub where he explained the ins and outs of some of their key pieces. In this post we’ll give you the recap on some of the technology behind CHPT3 clothing and the style and innovation they are bring to the cycling world.

CHPT3 Cycling Gear - Innovative Technology - Eat Sleep Cycle

CHPT3 – Innovative Technology

The CHPT3 website states: “We founded CHPT3 to be a platform through which we and our partners can do creative, collaborative projects. Together, we seek out new technologies and new contexts in which to push ourselves to the edge of what is possible.”

CHPT3 kit is made in collaboration with Castelli, so you know that you are already getting good quality, but the brand take the innovation up another notch such as with added trickle-down from the pro-level kit used by the likes of Team Sky. For example, the Girona 1.27 Jersey uses the same fabric as the Castelli Maglia Rosa worn by Team Sky at last year’s Giro but with the features enhanced for an everyday use.

Likewise the Girona 1.17 shorts use a special version of the Castelli Kiss Air pad designed to perform both during short, intense efforts and long days in the saddle. The attention to detail goes as far as “multi-panel construction for great muscle support at every point of the pedal stroke, whilst lightweight mesh bibs and 90mm high silicon dot leg bands keep everything where it should be.” From the chamois to the stitching the quality and attention to detail makes for some of the best quality cycling clothing on the market.

CHPT3 Cycling Gear Collection

Road Testing CHPT3 Clothing

Of course, the measure of any good cycling kit is how it fares on the road, so we asked Girona local and CHPT3 ambassador Ramon Lozano to put the kit through its paces on some Girona cycling routes and to give us his thoughts on it. Here’s what he had to say!

Q. When did you first encounter CHPT3 and David Millar?
A. I came across the brand because I followed David Millar when he was racing, I liked his story and the fact that he lived in Girona where we could just cross paths on a ride which as a fan I loved. But it was on a photoshoot that I first came into contact with David. I had noticed this brand for its exclusivity and design which was unlike anything else, but I never had the chance to “touch” it until that day. This past summer, David contacted me directly for the photoshoot of the new collection again and to as if I was willing to collaborate with them from now on, that’s how it all started!

Q. What aspect of CHPT3 do you most like?
A. I particularly like CHPT3 because everything has a history, all the kits are made with a design based on some place or aspect of David’s career, each garment has its history that the fan can know, anyone who knows a little about the brand can spot it from a distance.

Road Testing CHPT3 Cyclng Gear - Ramon Lozano

Q. How does CHPT3 clothing differ from other brands?
A. Chpt3 is not like all, it’s more classic, not everything in cycling is aerodynamic and aesthetic “pro”, cycling is much more. We all like to feel elegant and special at times.

Q. What is your favourite piece of CHPT3 kit?
A. I don’t think I could choose just one item as a favourite but if the ‘Origin” collection is definitely my favourite. The JJ jacket is also a garment that every cyclist should own.

ESC x CHPT3 Collaborations – More Coming Soon!

Keep your eyes peeled for future ESC x CHPT3 collaborations and in the meantime you can shop the latest collection at the Girona Hub or via did the CHPT3 website! And, if you have some new CHPT3 kit that you’re looking to test on a cycling tour then give us a call +34 972 649 131 or contact us online and we’ll help you put the CHPT3 gear through its paces!

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

Classic Girona Cycling Tours - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Classic Girona Cycling Routes

By Girona, Girona Cycling Services No Comments

Girona is an inexhaustible playground for cyclists with myriad quiet roads to explore and challenging climbs to tackle. There’s a lot to be said for going off the beaten track here and exploring the hidden gems of the area. However if you’re here on a European cycling holiday with minimal time then you’re going to want to make the most of your stay, and that means ticking off the some of the classic Girona cycling routes.

We asked members of the Eat Sleep Cycle team to tell us about their favourite cycling routes in Girona.

An Epic Girona Cycling Route – Begur Loop

The Begur Loop is littered with beautiful and charming Catalan villages and towns. The route heads through the stunning Emporda region. Heading in the direction of the coast, in the cove of Sa Riera come a series of short, steep climbs taking you South around the coast through Aiguafreda, Sa Tuna and Tamariu which are perfect for a lunch or coffee stop. The route then loops around the lighthouse in Llafranc before turning inland around the busy town of Palafrugell and then back towards Calogne and the coast. From there comes a steady 5km climb followed by a descent into the town of La Bisbal d’Emporda followed by the beautiful medieval villages of Corçà, Monells and Madremanya. From Madremanya you can either climb the steeper side of Els Angels and drop into Girona from the other side or return to town via Celrà.

Begur Loop – Route Facts

  • Selected By: Louise – Eat Sleep Cycle Partner
  • Route Name: Begur Loop
  • Distance: 124 km
  • Elevation: 1,700m
  • Level: Epic

Epic Girona Cycling Routes - Begur Loop - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Leisure Cycling Route – “Silvia’s Loop”

Silvia has her very own loop named after her! ‘Silvia’s Loop’ is for those who enjoy flat terrain, peaceful countryside and rural Catalan villages. The ride traverses South through Plaça Catalunya and across the river to exit Girona towards Quart and on to the completely quiet roads of Llambilles and Campllong. After around 19km you will reach Cassa de la Selva which is the biggest town on the route and therefore the best chance for a coffee stop! After, head to Sant Andreu Salou before riding along the peaceful road to the picturesque town of Caldes de Malavella. From here, the route loops back up towards Campllong into Fornells de la Selva and back into Girona via Montilivi home of the city’s university campus and Girona FC’s Stadium.

“Silvia’s Loop” – Route Info

  • Selected By: Silvia – Hub and Tours
  • Route Name: “Silvia’s Loop”
  • Distance: 44 km
  • Elevation: 400m
  • Level: Leisure

Leisure Cycling Route Girona - Silvia's Loop

Intermediate Girona Cycling Route – Els Angels & Santa Pellaia

This is a real Girona favourite among pros and leisure cyclists alike, the two climbs are both gentle on the legs and surrounded by beautiful scenery. Ride out of Girona keeping the river on your right and take a left at the roundabout to start the first climb: Els Àngels: a gentle 10km at 3.4% average gradient. Be sure to grab a coffee at the top and take in the stunning views of Girona before descending down the other side into the medieval town of Madremanya and onto the rolling country lanes to Monells. After the village of Sant Sadurní comes the next steady climb: Santa Pellaia, which consists of 6km at an average gradient of 4%. After enjoying the views from the top descend into Cassà and towards Caldes de Malavella via the two charming towns of Sant Andreu Salou and Fornells de la Selva.

Els Angels & Santa Pellaia – Route Info

  • Selected By: Brian – Eat Sleep Cycle Partner
  • Route Name: Els Angels & Santa Pellaia
  • Distance: 68 km
  • Elevation: 1,100m
  • Level: Intermediate

Intermediate Cycling Route Girona -Els Angels and Santa Pellaia

Advanced Cycling Route Girona – Coast Loop

A bona-fide Girona classic, leaving Girona without riding the Coast Loop is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower – it’s a must ride! The route heads South out of town before reaching the tranquil roads through Fornells de la Selva and Sant Andreu Salou and onto Caldes de Malavella. Head towards the town of Llagostera from where, shortly after you will reach the 10km climb of Sant Grau which reaches 8-9% in places. After Sant Grau comes one of the highlights of this route: the descent along the coast road with fantastic views of the sea. At the bottom of the descent you will be heading towards Tossa de Mar and cruise along the beach front or stop for ice cream or lunch. However, it’s best not to overfill your stomach as you will be tackling an 8 km climb out of Tossa towards Girona. The remaining 35 km is on the familiar roads from the way there.

“Totally Costal” – Route Info

  • Selected By: Lee – Eat Sleep Cycle Partner
  • Route Name: Coast Loop
  • Distance: 94 km
  • Elevation: 1,300m
  • Level: Advanced

Advanced Cycling Routes Girona - Coast Loop - Eat Sleep Cycle

Girona Gravel Cycle Route – Sant Grau & Llemena

Head out of Girona on gravel tracks. The main climb on this ride comes at 11km in and has average of 7.3% with a 13.1% max gradient 4.8km long switchbacks at the top so make sure you don’t burn all of your energy here, the track is rugged and it is followed by a fast, fun descent. After 24km you will come out in the Vall de Llemena – if your legs are tired from here you can take the road, otherwise, take the gravel track which hugs the river. At 35 km you can warm down on the flat gravel tracks all the way back into Girona.

Sant Grau & Llemena – Route Info

  • Selected By: Boris – Workshop Manager
  • Route Name: Sant Grau & Llemena
  • Distance: 51 km
  • Elevation: 550m
  • Level: Gravel

Gravel Cycling Route Girona - Sant Grau & Llemena

Cycle A Classic Girona Route With A Guide

Want to ride one of these classic Girona cycling routes yourself? Take a look at our Girona Services to hire a Wahoo or a guide. If you’ve any questions about any of the routes or our services give us a call on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online.

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How to Choose Your Perfect Rental Bike - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Bike Hire Girona – How To Choose Your Perfect Rental Bike

By Bike Hire No Comments

When planning a cycling holiday a key consideration is what bike to ride. Whilst some people choose to travel with their own bike the majority opt to save the plane fare & hassle of lugging a bike box around and rent instead. Renting a bike can be daunting – so many colours, models, sizes, groupsets, braking systems, frame materials, companies etc etc. But, renting a bike is a golden opportunity to try something new or even test ride the bike of your dreams.

By asking yourself these simple questions you can decide which bike to choose from all the options out there. Given our location this will be focused on Girona Bike Hire but should help choose your perfect rental bike wherever you’re traveling to!
Road - Off Road and City Cycling in Girona Bike Hire - Eat Sleep Cycle

What Type of Cycling Would You Like to Do?

It sounds obvious but if you know what terrain you’ll be riding on this is a big part of the puzzle & you can start to narrow down your bike hire options:

  1. Road – Girona is a hub for road cycling in Europe. Professional road cyclists choose to make Girona their base for training and racing. Quiet roads, respectful traffic a huge variety of terrain & route options make road cycling the most popular type of cycling in Girona (and as a result one of the most popular types of bike hire in Girona).
  2. Off-Road – Girona also has a network of gravel roads, mountain bike trails and family-friendly bike paths. There are plenty of bikes to choose from in the off-road category, depending on which type of terrain you’d like to explore.
  3. City – Cruising around the city and Devesa park on a bike is a cool way to see the city. You could even consider taking a 40 min train to Barcelona and bike around there too. This is a great option for families and groups of ‘normal’/non-cycling people. A Brompton has to be the ultimate city machine – it’s great fun to ride & is completely foldable – perfect for carrying on and off trains & into cafès and restaurants (for more info make sure you check our guide to cycling in Barcelona!)

Road Bike Hire in Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle - Climber - Endurance -AeroRoad Cycling: What Type of Cyclist Are You?

Ok, so you’ve decided you want to explore Girona’s beautiful roads. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of road bikes and see how to separate the options so you can choose the perfect rental road bike. Road bikes tend to fall into three broad categories and are best suited to different types of cyclist.

  • Lightweight – The Climbers Rental Bike: For cyclists who love to climb then a bike designed around the ability to climb will maximise the enjoyment of the ride.
    • Top Pick: Factor O2 Ultegra Di2 – ok, so it’s a treat but we think a Factor 02 rental is the ultimate climbing machine. With a precision engineered Factor 02 frameset, Black Inc carbon wheels, bars, seatpost & stem & the high performance lightweight groupset that is Shimano Ultegra Di2 this is a machine that flies uphill.
    • Best Value: Ridley Helium X Ultegra – if the Factor’s way out of budget there’s no need to panic. Enter Ridley’s lightweight sensation that is the Helium. Aptly named this is a beautiful frameset which heads skywards with ease.
  • Comfort – The Endurance Bike: For riders who love long days in the saddle on varied terrain the endurance bike is the way to go. These bikes tend to offer a more relaxed geometry giving the rider a more comfortable position, best for long days in the saddle.
    • Top Pick: Ridley Fenix Ultegra Disc – The Fenix is Ridley’s answer to Paris-Roubaix. Designed to absorb the shock of the cobblestones the Fenix promises a smooth, sweet ride. Disc brakes offer powerful braking & the ultegra groupset promises perfect shifting.
    • Best Value: Ridley Fenix 105 – the same as above but with rim brakes and Shimano 105 groupset. Perfect for a smooth ride for those on more of a budget.
  • Fast – The Aero Bike: we don’t recommend this type of bike for cycling in Girona. With a more aggressive geometry & added weight for the aero features this is a bike that will neither climb particularly well or be that comfortable for a long day in the saddle.

Off Road Bike Hire in Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Off-Road Cycling: What Type of Terrain?

If you’re heading off road the key consideration when renting a bike in Girona is to decide what type of terrain you’d find most enjoyable – this will best help you to select your steed:

  • GravelA good definition of a gravel road is anything that a car can be driven down, any more technical and gravel riding starts to head into mountain bike terrain. A gravel bike has wider tyres and more tread compared to a road bike – offering better grip off road. A gravel bike has a more relaxed geometry than their cyclo-cross counterparts. Make sure your rental bike is geared for the rides you’re planning to do: the steep trails around Girona tend to need a larger cassette that what might otherwise be normal. Get an introduction to gravel cycling in Girona from our ESC tour guide Peter Gaskill.
    • Top pick: Basso Palta – ‘Palta’ is Italian for mud & this is a high-end carbon gravel bike which thrives in dirty conditions. With a specially designed fork and shock-absorbing seatpost enjoy a stable and comfortable ride. There’s also space for up to three bottle cages – great for a hot, off-road bike-packing adventure.
  • Trails & Single-trackIf you’re planning on tackling more technical trails then consider a mountain bike. A hardtail will cope with most of what Girona has to offer. A full-suspension is pretty niche and not widely available to rent in Girona.
    • Top pick: Ridley Ignite – A lightweight 29’er hardtail designed for cyclocross competition, this is an ultrafast bike for ultimate off-road fun.
  • Bike Paths – Girona has a network of bike paths, the most popular being the Via Verde, stretching from San Feliu at the coast to Olot in the foothills of the Pyrenees. A hybrid bicycle is best suited to these trails. Equipped with wider tyres than a road bike for extra grip on the gravel and a super comfortable upright position. Hybrid bikes often come with a rack for carrying bags – perfect for stashing a picnic for when you reach the beach!
    • Top pick: Ridley Tempo Disc – a comfy, versatile bike for enjoying bike paths & roads alike. This bike comes in female specific & men’s geometry & comes equipped with a rack for carrying your bags.
    • Add Some Gas: Orbea Keram Comfort Electric – turbo boost your ride and take the edge off the climbs with this dreamy electrified hybrid. Equipped with a rack you can carry everything you need for a lovely day out on the bike.

If some of the rental bikes mentioned above have piqued your interest you can check our range of rental bikes in Girona here and we also have some of them available for purchase if you’re really tempted!

What About Renting an Electric Bike in Girona?

The trend of electric bikes is booming here with electric bike rentals on the up. Sales across Europe are up & more & more people are turning to electric bikes and it’s no surprise why. Electric bikes offer many people the opportunity to ride a bike in places they never imagined they could physically cope with. Electric bikes mean groups of friends & families with riders of different abilities can ride together and enjoy shared experiences. Electric bikes are a serious amount of fun.

  • Top Pick: Orbea Gain M20 – this is a very special electric road bike. A carbon frame & ultegra groupset mean this bike oozes quality and puts Orbea at the forefront of electric bike design. The battery is discreetly hidden in the downtube meaning the bike doesn’t stand out in a field of non-electric bikes.

Bike Hire Girona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Bike Hire Girona – Choose Your Bike!

If you’re in Girona and looking to hire a bike we hope the above guide has given you some useful information about the types of rental options that are available and which one would suit you best. If you’ve any questions about which rental bike is for you then give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info.

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

Factor Bikes Rental from Eat Sleep Cycle

Focus On Factor Bikes

By Bike Hire, Cycling No Comments

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

Factor Bikes – A Winning Combination

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

From Formula 1 to Factor

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

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

Factor Bikes Romain Bardet - Factor Bike Hire and Purchase

Factor Accolades

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

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

Factor Bike Hire and Purchase from Eat Sleep Cycle

One More Lap Factor 02 Bike Hire & Purchase

If you’re inspired to test out the quality of Factor bikes in the high mountains then you’re in luck, as the Factor O2 with Shimano Ultegra Di2 is available both for bike hire and purchase from our Girona Hub and on tours. Take a look at our photo gallery below & give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to book your ride!

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Summit of Rocacorba

Classic Climbs of Girona #5: Rocacorba

By Girona No Comments

20 km from Girona on a nondescript road in the outskirts of the town of Banyoles, overlooking the sparkling blue lake is the mountain of Puigsou, also known as the climb of Rocacorba. Once a well-kept secret amongst those in the know and only fully paved in 2006 it is now arguably one of the most infamous climbs in the Girona area and one of the first places people head to when visiting the city on two wheels.

Like many of the climbs in Girona the popularity of Rocacorba comes not from its association with huge grand tours and TV coverage but from a slowly built up reputation amongst the professionals who live and have lived here, perhaps none quite so much as David Millar, who founded the Velo Club Rocacorba. As the number of riders in Girona both amateur and professional continues to expand the so-called ‘secrets’ of the area become less so and Rocacorba is no exception.

The fact that the proverbial cat is well and truly out of the bag with regards to Rocacorba is no surprise, the location itself carries enough of an appeal. Banyoles is worth riding to in itself, simply to soak in the beauty of the lake and surrounding area. In addition to its location, part of Rocacorba’s appeal is the challenge of the climb itself, there are few climbs in the area that begin to match it for the gradient and length. When you take the full 14 km into account the average gradient of 5.6% is laughably deceptive and hides the brutal reality of slopes of up to 15% for long periods. However, take the climb as 10 km, starting from the stone bridge over the Matamors river, cutting out the flatter bottom section and the average gradient is a far less forgiving 7%.

How to get a quick time up Rocacorba

But it’s not all just one big wall, the key to climbing Rocacorba in a quick time is to hit the gas on the few interspersed flat sections against your legs’ better wishes. Once the red and white radio masts come into view you can be reassured that the top is near, but don’t get too comfortable, as some of the hardest slopes are within the final few kilometres.

Don’t miss: Rocacorba Food Truck

But, not all of Rocacorba is pain and suffering – alright, most of it is – but the addition in June 2017 of the Rocacorba Food Truck situated 1.5 km from the summit and open every weekend means that the effort required to reach it can be rewarded by delicious local food and drinks. The Food Truck was founded on the concept of passion for mountain sports and local produce and it’s well worth making sure you plan your visit to Rocacorba to be at the weekend to make sure you catch it. Before stopping for a well-earned snack, however, climb the remaining kms to see the stunning views from the top and sit with your legs dangling off the hand gliding ramp feeling on top of the world. There’s only one way up and down so you’ll be going past on the descent anyway.

Want to take on Rocacorba yourself?

No cycling trip to Girona is complete without an ascent of Rocacorba. To experience the challenge of Rocacorba yourself why not sign up to our Girona Experience tour or simply visit The Hub to rent one of our Ridley Bikes and book a local guide to show you the way.

For more information Rocacorba Food Truck visit their Facebook or follow them on, Instagram and don’t forget to check out their jersey’s and tee’s in our Eat Sleep Cycle Girona Hub.

Thanks to Bike Office Espana, Tomas Montes @arriere_du_peleton, Rocacorba Food Truck & Sergi Mas de Xaxars @de_xaxars for the fabulous photos.

Girona Cycling Climbs

Classic Climbs of Girona #4: Mare de Déu del Mont

By Girona No Comments

Girona is renowned as a cyclist’s paradise for a reason: the city provides the perfect base from which to explore the myriad climbs of the surrounding area as well as being home to a plethora of cafes and restaurants – and as we know, cyclists love coffee and food just as much as riding bikes! This is the first of a forthcoming series of blogs on the cycling highlights of the Girona area, and what better way to start than with one of the most iconic local climbs and a real favourite: Mare de Déu Del Mont.

Let us first dispense with the problematic mouthful that is its name: Mare de Déu Del Mont literally translated, means ‘mother of God of the mountain’ and is actually the name of the shrine located at the top. A HC behemoth and one of the longest climbs in the area you would be forgiven for issuing forth a ‘Mare de Déu!’ of your own upon tackling the gradients of it’s upper slopes.

There are two ways to take on Mare de Déu, the ‘easier’ route is from Cabanelles: 18.54km with an avg grade of 5%. The gradient is more constant and less gruelling on this side but there are also short descents and flats in places, which do provide welcome breaks but can mess up your rhythm (this is true of both sides). The bottom slopes are surrounded by woodland so there’s nothing much to look at but your own stem or whoever happens to be in front. As you gain elevation, however, the trees give way to some of the most stunning views around which coincides nicely with the most painful part of the climb so you can concentrate on picking out where you just climbed from instead of your burning legs. Indeed, one of the draws of climbing Mare de Déu del Mont is the spectacular scenery from the very top of its 1,093m summit which include panoramic vistas of the surrounding area including the Pyrenees in the distance, Banyoles Lake and, on a clear day, the Costa Brava coastline.

The second route is through the Medieval town of Besalú, the charms of which make it worthy of its own blog, and I would recommend posing for the obligatory photos with the 12th century Romanesque bridge before Mare de Déu leaves you looking sweaty and knackered. From this side it’s 20km in length and the average gradient is still 5% although much of that comes from the flatter bottom section. After taking a right turn in Besalú the road edges upwards slightly before you reach the tiny town of Beuda where the climb begins proper. From there you need to choose your gear selection wisely as the narrow road can go from a descent to a 10%+ slope in a matter of one corner. After a few kilometres of this and a series of hairpins comes a junction – it will be very tempting to take a right and descend the other side down to Cabanelles but that won’t get you any glory or kudos from your mates so take the left and continue the climb following the same road as the Cabanelles side for the remaining 6.6km of 7-10% gradient to the top.

It’s worth adding that, once you’ve enjoyed your fill of the scenery on offer from the top, the descent should be treated with great respect and care as the roads are narrow, steep, and twisty and there may be oncoming traffic.

Ridley Helium SLX

First ride: Ridley Helium SLX

By Bike Hire One Comment

The brand new, custom painted Ridley Helium SLX had been sat staring at me for 3-weeks. I’m a bit funny with riding a new bike without a proper fitting session and I simply hadn’t had time. But when Tiesj Benoot won Strade Bianche on it, I dropped everything, put on the nearest cycling clothes (lucky for you no photos of that catastrophe) and headed out into the Girona sunshine.

A new bike normally feels strange on the first ride. Especially because this time, I decided to trial a new saddle. I’ve had some numbness troubles downstairs and determined to fix that, will test the Eat Sleep Cycle Fizik saddle fitting programme (Test any saddle before buying). I am starting with the Antares which is wider than my previous Arione. Idea being the sit bones rest on it rather than that important nerve which eventually causes numbness. For the first few rides, the sit bones hurt a bit, but that’s a sign of a good position.

In addition, this was the first time I’d used Rotor cranks. Since they are manufactured in Madrid it seemed fitting to have them on our rental and race bike fleet. I know, you can’t fault Shimano, but I wanted to give it a go. I’m not sure if it’s the shape of the Rotor cranks or if they genuinely are better but they felt good from the offset.

Other upgrades on the bike include the legendary Fatboys, the creation of Drew Gill at Spin On These ( I could write a blog just on these wheels which have broken the age-old idea of narrow tyres and high pressure. The opposite results in more comfort, more grip and a better looking bike! Finished with the new Ultegra shifters, brakes and derailleurs, what is left is a very light and attractive looking bike.

From the off-set the bike felt stable, if not a little high at the front. The Helium has a reasonably large stack and I´m used to riding slammed race bikes. Due to a combination of back problems and more riding in the high mountains, I’m open to giving a higher front end a go.

Instantly I noted great responsiveness when accelerating to beat the red lights out of town. The bike felt super stiff. Once into the countryside things started to speed up and in the aero position, I was pushing 50 km/hr easily. A great start!

It was the first climb that signed and sealed my decision to ride the Helium this year. As the bike is the race choice of our sponsored race team “Rocacorba Racing” it only seemed fit for that climb to be Rocacorba. At nearly 1,000 meters it’s tough, with gradients of over 14% in places.

As soon as the slope steepened the bike just seemed to ride away from me, begging to be ridden faster, jump out the saddle on the bends instead of cruising around and keep the pace up all the way to the top. Wow, the bike is light and yes I noticed a big difference from last year’s race bike (a Guerciotti).

Chatting to several other professional riders in Girona who also ride the Helium, we´ve heard plenty of stories of the bike being under the legal limit of 7 Kg. But us amateurs don´t need to worry about that and every gram in our favor is potentially more kudos!

All that was left was the ride down and a combination of the Fatboys and bike stiffness made that very enjoyable. The slightly higher stack was not detrimental to the descent.

Last and not least, the bike looks great. Ridley´s custom paint jobs are top notch, with a full colour palette and several designs to choose from. I went for a stealth look, with a touch of Rocacorba Racing blue, but below you’ll see just how adventurous you can be with it…

A Grand Départ we will never forget

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This weekend we opened the doors to our brand new Girona Hub, a pretty momentous & proud moment in our short (but intense) history.

Our early blog readers will remember how Eat Sleep Cycle started: in August 2016 we ran our first tour from Girona to Biarritz with a rented Enterprise van and 6 intrepid clients. In November 2016 we opened a tiny local in the Barri Vell and stocked it with 7 Cinelli rental bikes.  That winter we developed our blog into a website, added some tours and started to take more & more rental bookings. By April 2017 we had a fleet of 20 Orbea bicycles and were opening a second premises just over the plaza.

We thought we had made it but had little idea about the surge in business to come. The 2017 season was bonkers & brilliant. We ran tours across the Pyrenees, recced new itineraries in the Dolomites & Picos mountains, rented bikes, guided rides around Girona and worked all the hours we could. By the end of 2017 we knew we needed more bikes which, in our 20 bike-hook HQ, was not an option. We started taking bookings for 2018 and worked out we needed around 70 bikes to meet the demand of early bookers. We went to see out of town storage units, considered a 3rd local on the same plaza & tried convincing (ie. bribing) our landlord to rent us his garage.

Then one day in December Lee walked past a beautiful glass locale on Placa Catalunya, located next to popular cafe +Cub, with a sizable Terraza. There was a ‘For Rent’ sign on the door with a number to call. Lee called it & the wheels started turning.

Fast-forward two months (nothing takes very long at Eat Sleep Cycle) and we are the proud tenants of Carrer del Vern, 3. We have 70 beautiful Ridley rental bikes (now including Gravel & Mountain bikes), two workshop spaces, a bike fit studio, a bike rental pick-up space and a beautiful retail space showcasing kit made in Catalunya, Worx Bikes and leading brands Assos & Ridley.

Friday night was opening night and we were overwhelmed by the turnout. Our Hub was THE place to be seen on Friday night. It was a party packed with people who’ve been part of our journey – family, friends, teammates, club members, our lawyer, our builder, the ladies from Tourist Info, town hall representatives, pro riders, colleagues from other cycling businesses & journalists all flocked to the Hub. We overflowed out the door and onto the terrace, people were jammed into both floors, queuing to get in and see the new space. It was a very proud few hours for the team.

+Cub (our new favourite neighbours) welcomed us by running a bar for the event with delicious juices, cava & beers. Silvia (our new favourite employee) baked an Eat Sleep Cycle cake to die for (prepared with the pastry chef from El Celler Can Roca no less!) and ESC volunteers kept everything running behind the scenes.

We followed the opening night with a weekend of cycling, offering free guided road, gravel & mountain bike rides, a trip to the Rocacorba Food Truck and a delicious lunch at +Cub. We hosted a Retul Bike Fit talk by the legend that is Emi Molina from VeloLoveFit, we offered massages by Gabinet Medic Girona, we launched our race teams Rocacorba Racing & Els Àngles Racing.

The whirlwind weekend is over and now we’re working in the Hub and turning our attention to delivering an epic 2018 of cycling. Here’s to the next chapter in the journey, we cannot wait!

Photo Gallery by George Harper

Cycling Climbs of Girona: #3 Sant Marti Sacalm

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Sant Marti Sacalm is THE 20-minute power test cycling climb of the Girona region and if you come here for a visit you can´t leave without giving it a blast, as we say in Eat Sleep Cycle language.

At 5.2 miles, or 8.6 kilometres it´s not particularly long and at an average of 7% it´s not leg-breakingly steep either, which is probably why I like it so much.

But there´s a lot more to it than that  and in no particular order, it´s a climb with a paved road all the way to the top with your reward being absolute solitude and a pretty basic cafe.

If you´re really going well you can ride it in the big chainring – though the steepest section is inside the opening few hundred metres so be careful not to go into the red zone here as you´ll pay for it later.


To reach the start, you simply ride west out of town through Salt, Bescano and Angles before swinging down right at the roundabout there and on towards Olot.

After 10 kilometres of undulating road on a hard shoulder you´ll reach the town of Amer but before you exit it you´ll see a sign left for Sant Marti Sacalm.

Enjoy the last breaths that you can call your own because when you reach the top of the plateaux and see that road snaking around to the left, that´s what you´re looking for.

Yes, Sant Marti goes up and up and up and up and up. It doesn´t level off ONCE so just settle in and find your rhythm.

The key to a good time here – and I´m just outside the top 50 guys to have went up it so I´m hardly an expert, is ride within yourself for the first two minutes until you´re over the steep stuff.

Then prepare to suffer for the rest of it.

If you´re lucky like I was you´ll have someone just hanging ahead of you to help drag those last few beats out of your heart.

I recorded a pretty embarrassing average of 169 beats a minute for my effort, so I´m convinced there´s loads more in me on this climb…though probably not the six minutes I need to beat Simon Yates´time.


Distance: 5.2 miles/8.3 kilometres

Average grade: 7%

Max. Grade: 11%

Altitude at the top: 816m/2,346ft

Elevation difference from the bottom: 605metres

Els Angels Girona Cycling Climb

Cycling Climbs of Girona: #2 Els Angels

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Els Angels, often mistakenly called “Hells Angels” by Girona newcomers (a simple error in pronunciation, not down to its difficulty…read on) is the climb that got me to Girona. Tired of poor training routes around my work for lunchtime escapes, I was determined to do any job that had good riding on the doorstep. So when I zoomed in on the windy switch backs of Els Angels in Google Maps, the base of which happened to be 500 m from the office, I knew that job was for me.

Funnily enough, when we (Louise and I) moved to Girona, the very next day was the annual hill climb competition up, you guessed it, Els Angels. It’s part of the annual Girona Cycling Festival run by Bike Breaks, the best cycling festival I’ve seen and I love to participate in every year.

The night before the competition I thought I better check out the climb. Louise had really bad cramps that week. Foolish me had booked an apartment on the 4th floor with no elevator and that had aggravated her legs. So it was a lone recce of a climb that was to become an integral part of my life.

The first thing that hit me is it is literally 5 mins out of Girona center. I didn’t even have to stop at a traffic light to get there. A common complaint from locals is it isn’t enough time to warm-up. Anyhow, there I was at sunset in June cruising up this beautiful wooded climb thinking “I’m in paradise…..ah yes, a race tomorrow, must take note of bends…and stuff”. A few things came to light. It’s reasonably long at just a smidgen over 10 km. It flattens off and even descends at least twice. That’s a nightmare for keeping a high power going but a lovely break if you are cruising up. It has a bit of everything – long straights, switch backs, hidden sections in trees and open sections staring out onto the mountain range. It’s a truly special experience.

You know you are at the top when you see a large cross. If you are feeling strong at that point you can do the 500 m extra to the Santuari of Els Angels where you will be treated to stunning 360 degree views.

The day of the hill climb came. I pushed Louise to the start line, she could only pedal with one leg. Our hopes of her winning the posh watch (to pay our first months rent) were blown so the pressure was on me. But there was no way I could beat these local guys. Great excuse to pay the man a visit though, its my favourite place to be.

I ALWAYS go off to hard on TT’s, especially up hill. But on a short one that isn’t always bad, it depends how badly you can bury yourself within your own pain and suffering! I just went as fast as I could, span those pedals at the highest cadence I could whilst pushing as hard as I could. I wasn’t looking at any numbers which all would have told me to stop. At the top I collapsed, you could tell I’d tried hard put it that way.

When I was called up for first place I couldn’t believe my ears. With a time of 22:40 I’d managed to secure the watch. We’d be staying in Girona after all.

Girona Cycling Els Angels Hilll Climb Granfondo

Last June was my 3rd Hill Climb competition. It never gets any easier. Though the climb itself only averages a measly 3%, when you go full gas it really hurts! I have beaten that first time by over a minute, now at 21:32 (14th on Strava with a pretty prestigious crew). Its my claim to fame, one of the only races I’ve ever won and a piece of suffering I like to re-visit every year to check I’m still cycling enough.


Distance: 10.1 km
Average grade: 3.0%
Max. Grade: 8%
Altitude at the top: 414 m
Elevation difference from the bottom: 344 m