Saturday, January 20, 2018

Game of Thrones and cycling: welcome to Catalonia

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular series on TV, if not the most.

Possibly all of you know that Catalonia is the location of the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
One of the most impressive locations is Santa Florentina Castle, in Canet de Mar. It is also very close to NII, a very popular road for cyclists and triathletes coming from Barcelona. Flat and fast one. Then, it is very easy to get to Canet the Mar from Barcelona, just following that big and nice road.
Game of Thrones and cycling
Castell de Santa Florentina (Canet de Mar)
Of course, another very popular location is Girona Cathedral. The impressive stairs just in front of the main entrance are very famous not just for the series!
As you know, Girona is a very popular cycling destination in Spain (also living town of many professional riders), then cycling around Girona and taking a picture in front of Girona Cathedral is a must!

Will you join us to discover those locations?
Game of Thrones and cycling
Catedral de Girona

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Turó de l'Home, one of the king climbs in Barcelona

Roadcycling in Montseny Barcelona
Tiny cyclists at the top of Turó de l'Home (Picture by @rosdemora)
Montseny mountains are really close to Barcelona. You can reach them in about 50 km. Once in Sant Celoni (the starting point of many of the climbs) then you can choose several roads:

1) Turó de l'Home. This is the king climb in Montseny. Reaching 1700 mts height, the climb is 25 km long with very steep parts, specially arriving to the summit.
Detailed numbers for Turo de l'Home
2) Santa fe del Montseny. Spectacular road also 25 km long reaching 1300 mts. Specially on working days there is no traffic at all, perfect for cycling!

3) Coll Formic. One of my personal favourites. A scenic, sunny road, you can climb it even in winter, reaching 1145 mts. Mild climb most of the 26 km, but last 9 km are a bit steeper. A real first category climb.

4) Coll de Ravell. Between Montseny and Guilleries, this is also one of the solitaire roads you can ride when touching Mounmseny mountains. Really worth!
Roadcycling in Montseny Barcelona
Great views reaching the top of Turó de l'Home (Picture by @rosdemora)
Roadcycling in Montseny Barcelona
Long, steep and beautiful climb. Picture by @rosdemora
No doubt that Turó de l'Home is one of the highlights if you are in Barcelona and you are into cycling. A real challenge!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Mont Caro, a killer climb in southern Catalonia

Roadcycling in Catalonia with Montefusco Cycling
The sun is always shining at Mont Caro (Picture by @rosdemora)
Mont Caro is one of those long and steep climbs that you should do once in your life. The sunny, and often windy, southern Catalonia offers you this killer climb, with amazing views from the top. Reaching just 1013 mts height, but including some passages over 12 and 13%. A real challenge for mountain lovers.
Roadcycling in Catalonia with Montefusco Cycling
Spectacular view of the switchbacks (Picture by @rosdemora)
Mont Caro has been stage ending in Volta a Catalonia years 1985 (victory for the colombian Alirio Chizabas), 1991 (stage win for the also colombian Lucho Herrera), and 2017 (winner Alejandro Valverde). This is not a pass between valleys, but a road leading to a radio/tv antena, then it has to be stage ending.

Mont Caro profile
The numbers, the gradients, the steepness
Roadcycling in Catalonia with Montefusco Cycling
Last part of the climb in not very good shape! Picture by @rosdemora

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cycling in the dark in Barcelona (winter rides!)

Cycling in Barcelona at night might be an issue if you don't know the right places to ride.

Here we make some suggestions, in order you can cycle safely in the dark hours.

1) The best place to ride at night is the Formula 1 track in Montmeló town. Not away from the city, you can get it by train. The Formula 1 track is open just tuesdays and thursdays from 18,30 to 21,00. The track is not fully lighted, so you will need to have a good light. The length of the track is 5 km so you can make some loops and test yourself. The loop includes an couple of nice climbs.
A ticket for 1 day costs 5 euros. You have to bring your own bike.
More information here:
https://www.circuitcat.com/en/experiences/bicircuit/

2) There is a bike lane along river Besos (from Sant Adrià del Besos to Montcada i Reixach) 7 km long which is lighted, also very safe, as there are no cars, just walkers, hikers, some skates and dogs (watch out with unleashed dogs). It is a very good and safe place to cycle in the dark in Barcelona.

3) There is a very nice road to cycle at night which we call "Dummidrome" (Tontódromo). It is the road between Cerdanyola del Vallès and Sant Cugat del Valles. Very easy to get from Barcelona. Wide road with 2 lanes every direction, fully lighted which is also a safe place to cycle at night around Barcelona. The route can be longer including the road to the University (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). This road is used in the very popular Cerdanyola Duathlon, late march.

4) Since the new airport Terminal (T1) was opened, there is a large road from Barcelona to the airport which is also very good for cycling. 2-3 lanes each direction, totally safe. Open traffic but very scarce. To get that part, the best way is to go through the industrial area of Zona Franca.

These are my personal suggestions to cycle at night in and around Barcelona. Probably there are many other options, but these are the ones I would recommend.

Enjoy and keep safe!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thailand, a different world

Cycling in the Golden Triangle
Thailand has it all: good weather, cheap prices, ancient history, archeological runes, working and friendly people. It's not just about sun and beaches. We already have those in Spain. Thailand is a country plenty of mountains in the North, near Chiang Mai, with amazing climbs that every european cycloclimber would love.

I read in some australian magazine that Chiang Mai will become the asiatic Girona. Good weather guaranteed all year long, tough routes here and there, good roads, amazing landscapes. An ideal location for pro riders, specially in european winter when cold is at its most.

To reach Thailand we have 18 hours trip, including a quick stop in Moscow. Plus 6 hours time difference, you get 24 hours, 1 whole day and we got to Bangkok, Thailand capital.

I left Spain under cold January. Pure winter. When I got Bangkok it is 30 degrees. Back to summer. This is the best time to travel to Thailand, winter, dry season. From april to July this is summer, with hotter temperatures, and from August to November it is rainy season, when they get water for the whole year. Once in Bangkok, another flight to the north to get Chiang Mai, the second most crowded city in Thailand, after Bangkok with over 12 milions inhabitatnts.

Communications in Thailand are.. different. Motorbikes with 3 people, no helmet, the famous tuk-tuk.... Renting a car there is complicated because of the language (unintelligible road signals!) and permanent traffic jam. Traffic in Bangkok is absolutely chaotic, but in the north it is much better. The roads I rode were perfectly asphalted. Just be aware of riding on your left...

In Thailand, food is always present. There are countless street restaurants where you can eat by derisory prices a dish of rice vermicelli or bean noodles, with balls of meat or seafood, or the typical rice, basis of Thai cuisine. Even in the smallest towns there are places to eat, stalls where to buy fruit, chicken or pork kebabs, shops where you can buy bottled water (not even locals drink tap water). The only caution with food is that thai food is very hot and spicy!

Cycling in Thailand with Montefusco Cycling
I don't understand a word...
Buddah and the King are the most important things in Thailand. Buddism is the main religion in 95% of population and its motto is “Sanuk, Sabai y Saduak” meaning” Be happy, stay calm, be thankful for what life is offering you”. Driving in thai roads mean passing by huge Buddah statues and temples (wat) dedicated to. Entering a wat, which is always open to people, means remove your shoes and pray anytime of the day, no need to be sunday. Buddhist monks, dressed with skinheads and their skimpy dresses saffron coloured, are part of the urban and rural landscape across the country. As for the monarchy, the King of Thailand (Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej) is revered by his people. He was proclaimed King in 1946, and today, with 82 years, and with a delicate health remains the great reference of a country honouring the monarchy and which does not allow the slightest disrespect to their King. Unfortunately, his son the Prince does not enjoy the same reputation as the King.

Thailand is a friendly country filled with smiling people. You don't feel threatened or unsafe never. It is a country that knows that depends on tourism and understands how to treat their visitors. You do not perceive an extreme poverty, perceive humble people, but with a good education. All children are uniformed, you see children from schools doing activities, visiting temples...

Everything I expected of a trip like this falls short against what I lived. I fell in love with the country and people. This time the bike was not the main purpose of the trip, it was just a way to know places that otherwise would have not been able to discover. Thanks to the bike I have reached hidden and remote places. There is no better way to know a country that upon a bicycle.

10 thai cycling climbs not to be missed

Doi Inthanon: The highest mountain in Thailand at 2565 mts. The king climb you must do when you travel to Northern Thailand. There is a yearly cyclosportive climbing up there in February. The steepest parts are at the end, it means that the 40 km climbing from Chom Tong become a real challenge, with 2250 elevation! A must for cycloclimbers. What are you waiting for?

Doi Suthep. A very famous climb beside Chiang Mai. In 11 kilometers you will reach 1535 mts height. If you hear about Doi Pui, this is a twin climb in the same mountain, very close one to the other.

Cycling in Thailand with Montefusco Cycling
Samoeng Forent
Doi Samoeng. This is a climb you can include in a spectacular 90 km loop from Chiang Mai. Absolutely recommendable. Solitaire roads, well surfaced, and amazing landscapes. Top is at 1,146 meters.
Roadcycling in Thailand
Doi Tung, great climb!
Doi Tung. 1389 mts height. The mountain of Doi Tung is an outcrop of impressive limestone rock that dominates the plains flooded by river Mekong, near Mae Sai. Doi Tung means “Flag summit”. 12,9 km to gain 552 mts, what means 4% average. Doi Tung is the summer residence of the King.

Cycling in Thailand with Montefusco Cycling
Phi Chi Fa: The finger pointing the sky
Phu Chi Fa. Literally, the finger pointing to the sky. A beautiful, very special place with a panoramic view you will not forget. Last kilometres are really tough, to get to the border with Laos. At the top you can see a tremendous drop on the neighboring country. 1442 mts height.
Doi Mae Salong. Very tough. A real challenge to get to the top. Highlight of this climb are 3'3 km at 12% average gradient! Former opium fields that dominated the area have become vast fields where tea is cultivated now. The city of Mae salong was founded by the Chinese army in 1962 and became the base of the exiled Chinese soldiers. Currently there is a temple at the top of the mountain.
Doi Chaang: Meaning Elephant mountain, because of the shape, looking like an elephant's head. This mountain is known for coffee plantations (Said to be the best coffee in the world? In Thailand?). For cycling, this is a climb 14,4 km long, average gradient 5%, total elevation 780 metros. The summit is at 1.288 mts.
Tha Ton. An impressive huge white Buddah dominates Tha Ton mountain. 3 km at 10% bring to the the top, where temple Wat Tha Ton is, with panoramic views over Chiang Rai and the surrounding areas. 
Mon Cham. Another interesting climb around Chiang Mai with 14 km at 6% average.
Doi Ang Khan. In the border with Burma, this is a climb in Chiang Mai province, 22 km long to reach 1928 mts height.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Barcelona Tourmalet 2018 edition

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
The top of Tourmalet!
This is an amazing cycling trip along the Pyrenees, from 2018 June 30th to July 6th.

The challenge is reaching the most famous climb in the cycling world (Col du Tourmalet) from one of the the most beautiful cities all over Europe, Barcelona. On the way, you will get to know some of the big climbs in the Pyrenees, reaching over 2000 mts. Port de la Bonaigua, Col du Portillon, Col de Peyresourde, Val Louron-Azet, etc.

Our trip includes 8 nights at cozy hotels in the Pyrenees (dinner included), 7 cycling stages, cycling guide, supporting van, luggage transportation... You don't have to worry about anything but cycling and enjoying the landscapes!

More information here: https://roadcycling.barcelona/tours/barcelona-tourmalet/


Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
The map for our 2018 Barcelona Tourmalet route
Now we have all the details for every stage. Here you have them:

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
Ending at Montseny mountains


Stage 1. From Barcelona to Montseny mountains. Our guide will help you to get out of Barcelona and you will start with some climbing close to Barcelona. The amazing hotel you will be sleeping  is located half way the first big climb of the trip. Nice, solitaire, amazing spot and views...

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
Lots of climbing today!
Stage 2. Montseny to Joanetes. Great stage, with the amazing Coll Formic (1145 mts) at the start, then the passage through the Sau reservoir and the tiny road (with no traffic at all) to Coll de Condreu and possibly the approach to Sanctuary del Far, with amazing views. End in a cozy farmhouse with swimming pool. You will be at mum's house.

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
Stage includes the amazing Coll de la Creueta!
Stage 3. Joanetes to Puigcerdà. This is a tough start with Coll de Canes and then a long approach to Coll de la Creueta, to almost 2000 mts, great climb! The descent via Collada de Toses is a real pleasure on a very wide road with stunning views. Puigcerdà is the main city in La Cerdanya region, a wealthy town very know for skiers and mountain lovers. We are in the border with France.

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
Coll de Cantó, highlight of the stage
Stage 4. From Puigcerdà to Rialp. The main climb of the day is Coll de Cantó, a true first category climb, with some very steep parts. On the other side, wide road, perfect surface, time to enjoy on the downhill and then sleep at Rialp.
Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
Do you want some more climbing? Then try Superbagneres
Stage 5. From Rialp to Bagneres de Luchon. This is really high mountain. Port de la Bonaigua is one of the classic climbs in the Pyrenees, reaching over 2000 mts. With a ski resort at the top, Bonaigua is the first road to be closed for snow in winter and the last one to be open in spring. Amazing lanscape. On arrival to Bagneres de Luchon, the strongest riders may climb to Superbagneres, a true hors category climb included in Tour de France several times.

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
3 first category climbs in just 90 km
Stage 6. From Bagneres de Luchon to Campan. The classic approach to Tourmalet would be climbing Peyresourde and Aspin. Our stage is a bit longer including Peyresourde, also Val Louron-Azet (the climb where Miguel Indurain started to win the 1991 Tour de France) and finally the very nice and solitaire Hourquette d'Ancizan instead of the more known Col d'Aspin.

Biketours in the Pyrenees, Barcelona-Tourmalet
More than a cycling stage, almost 3000 mts elevation
Stage 7. Campan to Col du Tourmalet. Today is about enjoying Tourmalet. The idea is you to climb from both sides. Climb from Sta Marie de Campan, descent to Luz St Sauveur and then climbing again from that side (ideally the old road via Fignon). The main thing is enjoying the bar and the souvenir shop at the top. If weather conditions are poor then climbing from Sta Marie de Campan will be enough!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gravel bikes to rent in Barcelona

Gravel bikes to rent in Barcelona
Gravel bikes to rent in Barcelona
We are sure that gravel bikes (same as ebikes!) have a great future ahead.
A gravel bike opens a wide range of paths and loops which you cannot reach with a conventional road bike.
Thicker tyres, disc breaks, those are the main differences between a road bike and a gravel bike (cyclocross bike in fact). But also having the road bike handlebar and the same kind of shifting.
We have already available some Specialized Diverge E5 Sport (model 2018) for our customers, ready to roll and ready to offer you some new experiences!