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!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Transpyrenees, such an amazing trip!

Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling
Tourmalet, the highlight of any trip!
This is one of the most classic trips in cycling world.
From the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea in 11 stages along the main climbs all over the Pyrenees.
This is a sample tour, we can fully customize the tour according to your needs.

Day 1: Departure
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Barcelona-Vic. About 100 km to get out of Barcelona taking the bike lane beside river Besos, and afterwards leading to Montseny area, where you will climb the nicest col in the area: Coll Formic. Solitaire road, great views, ideal for cycling. The first big mountain of the trip at 1145 mts.

Day 2
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling
Vic-Puigcerdà. Today you will climb a precious col, not very known, although Volta a Catalunya pro race has been there several times. Coll de la Creueta, an espectacular mountain road with great views. Arrival to Puigcerdà, capital of Cerdanya area. We are already in the Pyrenees..

Day 3
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Puigcerdà-Valencia d’Aneu. Long stage, about 130 km, including Coll de Cantó, a tough climb, but once at the top, the main difficulties are done. Once in the valley you will cross Sort town (translation: “Luck”). Maybe it is worth stopping to buy some lottery?

Day 4
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Valencia d’Aneu-Bagneres de Luchon. No warm up and already a big climb: Port de la Bonaigua, over 2000 mts, a big one! Once in the valley (Vall d’Aran) we will enter France via Col du Portillon, a short but steep climb. Arruving to Bagneres de Luchon, the strongest will climb to Superbagneres, a nlong and steep climb included several times in Tour de France.

Day 5 
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Bagneres de Luchon-Campan, 123 km. Col de Peyresourde (including the famous crep restaurant at the top!) and Col d’Aspin are the difficulties of the trip. For die hard guys we include Port de Bales at the start of the stage. One of the toughest climbs all over the Pyrenees!

Day 6

Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling
Campan-Tourmalet-Aubisque-Bielle. 111 km including Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque. Those are capital letters. This stage is worth the whole trip. Cycling history has been written on these roads!

Day 7
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Bielle-Saint Jean de Pied de Port. The trip is not over! This stage is even harder than yesterday! After Col du Marie Blanque (optional), you will have to climb Pierre St Martin (from Arette), and then Chalet d’Iraty and Burdinkurutxeta, to get to St Jean du Pied de Port, end of the stage.
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling
Bagargi, stunning views!

Day 8:
Transpyrenees roadcycling tour with Montefusco Cycling

Saint Jean de Pied de Port-San Sebastian. The last stage includes still 3 climbs. The last one if the famous Jaizkibel, included every year in Clasica San Sebastián in August. Fantastic views from the top, and then just the final descent to San Sebastián!


Monday, November 13, 2017

Catalonia long week end breakaway

Road cycling in Catalonia
Map of a sample tour
If your group doesn't have much time, we will help you to have the most of your time. You just need 4 days and 3 nights to enjoy cycling in Catalonia. We will take yout to the nicest roads, and also the kind of routes you would like (ergarding distance, etc.). You don't have to worry about the bike (we will provide some), nor the routes (we will design the best stages), nor the hotels (we will book the best hotels for you) nor the food (we will provide lunch in our supporting van). Here you have a sample tour:

Bike lane from L'Escala to Sant Pere Pescador
Bike lane from L'Escala to Sant Pere Pescador
Day 1: Arrival to Girona airport. Caldes de Malavella-L’Escala 80 km.
We will pick you up at Girona airport and transport to starting point, to have a quick breakfast, will do bike setup and start first stage, including about 80 km with some climbing. Few miles after the start begins the climb of the day, a beautiful, solitaire and not very steep climb named Santa Pellaia. After the descent towards La Bisbal we will cycle through not very crowded roads, and then a stop in Peretallada is worth. Old and touristic town, cars are not allowed and lots of restaurants and shops welcome the tourists. After Peretallada we will continue through Torroella de Montgrí till L’Escala..
Arrival to the nice L’Escala, coastal town to enjoy a nice hotel by the sea.

Day 2  L’Escala Figueres 95 km 
L’Escala-Figueres 95 km including the climb from Roses to Alt de Perafita and stop in Cadaqués, where genious Salvador Dalí lived. And also the steep climb to the Monestry of San Pere de Rodes. Nice aerial views from there to Port de la Seva and Costa Brava. This area maybe windy, with the so named, tramuntana wind, very strong if it blows. Figueres is a must, with the Museum dedicated to Salvador Dalí.

Road Cycling in Catalonia
Amazing views from Mare de Deu del Mont
Day 3 Figueres-Olot 110 km
The first climb is the toughest all over the trip. Mare de Deu del Mont, at 1100 mts. In my opinion much nicer than the much more known Rocacorba (nearby). Very steep parts and incredible views from the top to the Canigou peak, the highest in the Eastern Pyrenees. Once gain in the valley the stage continues to Banyoles (worth a stop for lunch/coffee) and then to Mieres and the Vulcano de Santa Margarida, as Olot is the main town of the vulcanic La Garrotxa region.

Day 4 Olot-Olot 90 km. Transportation to airport.
If you thought that the main part of the trip was done, you failed. Last stage includes the very tough and beautiful Coll de Bracons, and the even nicer Coll de Condreu and El Far. El Far is the perfect ending for a trip in Catalonia. Unbeatable views.
We will be able to have a shower and be transported to the airport (Barcelona or Girona)


Thursday, October 26, 2017

The best Granfondos in Catalonia, which one is for you?

Coll de Bracons by Montefusco Cycling
Coll de Bracons, included in Terra de Remences route (long loop)
Nowadays in Catalonia we have many Granfondos, to discover some of the best roads around. Also to try to go fast and beat your club mates. Here we will suggest some of the best sportives organized in Catalonia, from our point of view. All of them are really worth, and remember, this is just a sample, you've got a lot of choices...

Terra de Remences by Montefusco Cycling
Tough route, indeed!
Terra de Remences:
This is a classic sportive, the most popular all over Catalonia. The route is simply perfect. There are 2 choices, the short version (95 km), including Coll de Capsacosta and Coll de Canes, and the long versions including an extra loop about 80 km long with Coll de Bracons and Coll de Condreu, a couple of very interesting climbs.
In short:
Website: http://www.terraderemences.com/
Starting point: Sant Esteve de'n Bas (close to Olot)
When: 13/5/2018
Distances: 95 km (short) and 176 km (long)

Els 4 cims by Montefusco Cycling
La Creueta and Coll de Pal, the beauty and the beast!
Els cuatre cims:
It was organized over 20 years ago and then just since a couple years it is again on the catalan calendar. One of our favourite climbs (Coll de Creueta) reaching almost 2000 mts, and the very steep Coll de Pal are the highlights of the route. The climb to Coll de Pal at the end of the route, with over 150 km on your legs, is a real challenge...
In short: Website: http://www.4cims.com/
Starting point: Bagà
When: 1/7/2018
Distances/Elevation: 162 km, 3600 mts elevation

La Ruta Minera by Montefusco Cycling
Coll de Pradell, the monster!
La Ruta Minera:
No doubt the highlight of this route is Coll de Pradell, one of the steepest climbs you can find all over Catalonia. The famous section at 20% is one of the classic "survival" sections to struggle while climbing.
In short:
Website: http://www.larutaminera.org/
Starting point: Berga
When: July
Distances:154 km (3800 mts elevation) or 116 km (2800 mts elevation)

Is there a flat road there??
Gran Fondo La Mussara:
Organized for the first time in 2015, in just a couple years it has become a very popular meeting point for catalan cyclists, also for foreigners to discover a real paradise for cyclists, as Costa Daurada, close to Tarragona (south Catalonia) .

In short:
Website: http://www.polargranfondolamussara.com/
Starting point:Reus
When: 3/06/2018
Distances:189 km