Cycling Sierra Nevada: Last Call for Granada 2019

Spring has sprung, summer is just around the corner, and if you are looking for an exciting cycling challenge in 2019, Granada in Spain’s Andalusian region could be the perfect choice for next cycling holiday.

Home to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and the mighty Pico de Veleta, one of Europe’s greatest cycling challenges, Granada is a fabulous destination for a summer cycling camp, and with more than a few challenging routes to keep you on your toes (quite literally), it is the perfect base for La Vuelta fans who dream of following in the footsteps, or should that be cycle tracks, of their cycling heroes.

cycling holidays granada pico de veleta

Image rights: Alhambra.org

While Granada is still relatively new in the world of road cycling, it is growing in popularity year after year. The roads are good in this part of the world, the hotels are surprisingly cycle-friendly, and with an average of 320-days sunshine per year, you are all but guaranteed a warm ride. It really is the perfect spot for a spring, summer, or autumn cycling holiday, but you may want to avoid the end of August when the roads are congested, the sightseeing attractions are overcrowded, and the daytime temperatures rarely fall below 40° degrees Celsius!

Granada is often referred to as the ‘Land of a Thousand Castles’ and you only have to take a look at the scenic landscapes to understand why. This picturesque city homes some of the most magnificent palaces and fortresses, not to mention the Alhambra, and so there is much to see on your cycling adventure.

road cycling holidays spain

In addition to cycling up Pico de Veleta, which will see you climbing some 2,700metres over 42km with an average gradient of 6%, you will have the opportunity to cycle around Lake Bermejales and down to the coastline of Costa Tropical, and so you can easily spend 4 or 5 days here without getting bored.

After all that cycling, you can indulge at one of the many tapas bars in the city, quench your thirst with an ice-cold Cerveza, and immerse yourself in local culture with a flamenco show at the Alhambra. In this part of the world, there’s no such thing as an early night, so cycle all day, party all night, and enjoy the very best of what España has to offer on a Granada Road Cycling Holiday of a lifetime.

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Stellenbosch Cycle Tour 2020 – So Much More than a Cape Town Cycle Tour Seeding Event!

When Cape Town was announced as the World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the World Travel Awards in December 2018, I don’t think any of us were surprised. It homes some of the most iconic events in the sporting calendar, and while the Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon get the international acclaim that they deserve, there are many other events happening in the Western Cape that have not captured a worldwide audience…yet!

Stellenbosch Cycle Tour 2020

One such event would have to be the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour. A fabulous 102km race throughout the Western Cape Winelands, it is a spectacular ride, and if you have already done the Cape Town Cycle Tour (previously the Cape Argus) and you fancy something a little bit different, this should be your number #1 choice.

The Stellenbosch Cycle Tour is an official seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2020, and so it is the perfect training ride for internationals who intend to participate both events. In 2019, the tour got a new date (pushed back from December to January) and a new location, starting and finishing at the Val De Vie Estate, which is a short drive from Stellenbosch centre. While the route remained largely unchanged this year, the event organisers switched it around somewhat so that Helshoogte Pass, the only real climb of the race, came at the 70km mark, rather than right at the beginning as it was in previous years, to spice things up a bit!

On Sunday, 20th January 2019, the Bicycle Beyond Team lined up for the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour for the very first time, and it did not disappoint! The weather was beautiful, the route was challenging but very doable, and the scenery and camaraderie were simply amazing. While it’s not as big as the Cape Town Cycle Tour, it is just as enjoyable, and if you are looking to start your 2020 cycling season in style, this is definitely one for the Bucket List.

Here’s what our Stellenbosch Cycle Tour looked like…

Cycling the Garden Route South Africa: December 2019

Cycling the Garden Route in South Africa is a dream for many international cyclists, and rightly so. It is undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful stretches in the world to discover on two wheels, and if you are up for the +/- 750km challenge, why not plan your winter cycling holiday now and book your spot on the 06.12.2019 departure!

The beginning of December is the perfect time of the year to visit South Africa, with plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, and less tourists than in February and March when thousands of international road cyclists head down to participate in the world-famous Cape Town Cycle Tour. Flights are well-priced at that time of the year too, and so if you want to extend your 2019 cycling season, this is the perfect way to do it.

Cycling the Garden Route is a demanding trip, especially if you intend to cycle the full route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, but it offers untold rewards. The scenery is spectacular, the roads are surprisingly well-maintained (well, most of them!), and there are some fabulous accommodation choices.

You’ll start each day with a delicious breakfast before jumping into the saddle. You can expect to cover some 100km each day, stopping at various lookout points along the way. A sumptuous picnic will be enjoyed on route, and you’ll have time at leisure in the afternoon to enjoy the facilities on offer at each high-end hotel before regrouping for a 3-course dinner.

Garden Route Road Cycling Tour: Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Port Elizabeth
  • Day 2: Port Elizabeth / Build Bikes / Short Spin to Test the Legs
  • Day 3: Cycle from Port Elizabeth to Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Day 4: Cycle from Jeffrey’s Bay to The Crags (Plettenberg Bay)
  • Day 5: Cycle from The Crags to Brenton-on-Sea
  • Day 6: Cycle from Brenton-on-Sea to Oudtshoorn
  • Day 7: Cycle from Oudtshoorn to Swellendam
  • Day 8: Cycle from Swellendam to Hermanus
  • Day 9: Cycle from Hermanus to Cape Town
  • Day 10: Free Day Cape Town
  • Day 11: Departure

Some short bus transfers are included to keep the average daily distance to around 100km, and the group is followed by a support vehicle at all times.

If this sounds like your perfect cycling holiday, find out more, and cycle South Africa’s Garden Route in December 2019!

 

Cycling Grossglockner: Austria’s Highest Alpine Road

So, you’ve done France, conquered Italy, and cycled your way around Spain – what next? Well, it might be time to head to the land of Alpine Adventures and book your 2019 cycling holiday to Austria!

While most people think of Austria as a skiing destination, it is one of the best cycling destinations in Europe. The roads are immaculate, the drivers are courteous, and there are more mountain passes that you can count. The weather in this part of the world is surprisingly good from May through to October with summer temperatures exceeding the 30°C mark, the air is pure, the landscapes are breath-taking, and the food is, well, it’s like it was made for cyclists with decadent cakes, delicious Käsespätzle (cheesy pasta type dish), and coffee… lots of coffee.

In the mountainous state of Vorarlberg in western Austria, there are endless cycling possibilities for those who love a challenge, and once a year, you can compete with other climbing aficionados in the Arlberg Giro in St. Anton, a fabulous one-day sportive that tackles 2,500m elevation over just 150km.

Austria is also home to the Ötztaler Radmarathon, which is often described as the most challenging one-day sportive in Europe. Taking place in Sölden each year, this gruelling race includes 3 knee-trembling passes and covers 5,500m elevation over 238km, so it’s not for everyone, but such is the demand that you can only enter by ballot, and just 4,000 out of some 15,000 entrants get a place each year.

Finally, we come to Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain. The most magnificent adventure for keen cyclists, it features a pristine alpine road that winds its way up and up to the snow-capped peak. You really need to do this between July and September if you are to at least try and avoid snow on the way up, but if you are blessed with sunshine, you may just think you have died and gone to cycling heaven.

The ascent it tough, but the descent was made for daredevils, and with a clear view of the road below, you can really unleash your inner speed devil and break your own Strava speed records.  The Bicycle Beyond Team will be Cycling Grossglockner again in 2019 and you are invited to join us – click here to find out more!

What To Pack for a Road Cycling Holiday

There is perhaps nothing more exciting that an overseas cycling holiday, particularly during the winter months when cycling is mostly limited to spinning classes and rollers here in the northern hemisphere, but if you want to avoid costly baggage fees and paying more than you should to take your beloved bike and cycling gear with you, you need to master the art of packing light.

Cape Town Cycle Tour 2019

Cycling holidays are now more popular than golfing holidays, and fortunately, airlines have taken note. You can now take you bike on almost every flight providing it meets the airline’s size and weight requirements, and you can do this either as part of your checked baggage allowance, or for an additional fee.

While these additional fees will not add a huge amount to the overall cost of your cycling holiday, you’re looking at a minimum of £120 roundtrip, and you can buy more than a few energy gels, protein bars, and chamois creams for that kind of money!

To save money on your cycling holiday, you need to know what to pack and how to pack it, and so here are a few tips for your next overseas cycling adventure:

  1. Invest in the lightest bike bag or box you can find. Hard shell cases do provide a greater level or protection, but they often weigh over 10kg, and leave very little room for anything other than your bike. Scicon and EVOC Bags are exceptionally lightweight, easy to pack, and they leave plenty of space for your cycling kit – and so they can save money in the long run.
  2. Book your flight with an airline that allows you to transport your bike as your checked luggage allowance. For long-haul flights, British Airways is a good choice as they have a checked allowance of 23kg. Providing you have a lightweight bike bag or box, there’s no reason why you cannot pack your bike, helmet, shoes, and 4 or 5 lycra outfits and still stay within your 23kg limit, leaving you hand luggage allowance free for everything else.
  3. Some airlines, such as KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines all charge a fee for transporting bikes, but they have an increased allowance of up to 30kg. Even the old stinge-bags at Ryanair follow this rule, and with 30kg at your fingertips, you can easily pack your bike and all your cycling gear for a 2 week cycling holiday.
  4. Pack for the type of cycling holiday you are going to take. If you are cycling out and back to the same hotel each day, then 2 or 3 outfits will see you through a weeklong trip. You can easily rinse out shorts and jerseys in the evening and leave them to dry the following day, so you’ll always be fresh and ready for the day ahead. If you are constantly on the move, such as a Garden Route Cycling Holiday from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town in South Africa, then you will need to pack a clean set of cycling clothes for every day of your itinerary. It may sound excessive, but no one wants to cycle next to whiffy armpits, so be kind to yourself those around you by changing daily!
  5. In the evenings, you only likely to wear your casual clothes for a few hours, so take plenty of mix and match items that you can wear more than once. As most cycling holidays take you to warmer climates, shorts and t-shirts are fine, but always take a fleece or jacket – just in case!
  6. Unless you heading to a remote cycling destination such as the Peruvian Andes, the mountains of Lesotho, or far south Patagonia where cycling supplies are limited, avoid taking gels, energy bars, electrolytes and an excessive amount of spare inner tubes with you. They will all add to your checked baggage allowance, and you can buy them on site.
  7. That said, don’t forget to take important things such as specialist tools and components that are not widely available in other parts of the world.
  8. Finally, whatever you do, do not pack CO2 canisters. You’re likely to get arrested for trying to blow up the plane, and if they somehow manage to pass through the airport security systems, they could explode in your bike bag and cause all kinds of damage.

The key to packing for a cycling holiday is limiting it to the essentials. Most cycling gear can be washed and dried in an hour, so you can always ask the hotel to wash your clothes if you get stuck. But try to keep it light so the only thing you have to worry about is cycling from A to B, oh yes, and not being the last up the hill!

 

 

Top Overseas Cycling Sportives for Your 2019 Calendar

The sunshine is still hanging around in some parts of Europe, but it won’t be long until the indoor cycling season gets underway, and if you need some inspiration to get you through the next 3 months of spinning classes or home training on the roller, here are our Top 10 Overseas Cycling Sportives for your 2019 calendar:

Cycling Holidays 2019

  1. Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, 24th November 2018, New Zealand

Okay, we know we said 2019 sportives, but there is still time for one last hurrah this year with the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in New Zealand. A fabulous one-day event with multiple different disciplines, it is suitable for all fitness levels, and it will give you the opportunity to escape Europe just as the ‘real’ winter begins.

  1. Cape Town Cycle Tour – 10th March 2019, South Africa

A fabulous one-day, 109km cycling event around the Western Cape peninsula, the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2019, previously the Cape Argus, is the perfect warm-up ride for the new year. With toasty temperatures and magnificent cycling routes around the city, Cape Town is the perfect destination for a spring cycling holiday, so why not join the 35,000 others next March, and start your season in style.

  1. Tour of Flanders – 6th April 2019, Belgium

Follow in the footsteps, or should that be cycle path, of the world’s greatest athletes on the non-pro version of the Tour of Flanders. A partly cobbled circuit strictly limited to 16,000 entrants, this one day classic attracts riders from all over the world. Four route options available.

  1. Mallorca 312 – 27th April 2019, Mallorca Spain

If you don’t mind the crowds, the Mallorca 312 is a fabulous one-day sportive on the sun-drenched island of Mallorca. There are three different routes available, the 167km, the 225km and the 312km, and surprisingly, you can decide on route how far you would like to go. All entrants start at the same time, although you need to meet certain cut-off points if you intend to cycle the longer routes, and the event starts and finishes in Playa de Muro.

  1. Nove Colli (Nine Hills) – 19th May 2019, Cesenatico Italy

The original sportive and the classic Italian Gran Fondo, the Nove Colli or Nine Hills has been running since the early 1970s, and yet it continues to grow in popularity year after year. Entries are limited to 13,000, and they sell out in minutes, and while it’s a demanding route with gradients of up to 20%, all types of riders are invited to take part. PS: Entries open TODAY!!

  1. Vätternrunden – 15th June 2019, Motala Sweden

Describing itself as “the world’s largest recreational cycling event” the Vätternrunden in Sweden is a true icon in the international sportives calendar. A 300km route around Lake Vättern, this Swedish Classic offers breath-taking scenery and attracts cyclists from 50 different nations. Registration is open now and closes on 22nd October, so you need to act now if you are to secure your place for 2019.

  1. La Marmotte – 7th July 2019, Alpe d’Huez France

No sporting calendar would be complete without La Marmotte, and every cyclists should attempt this mountain sportive at least once in their lives. Tackling the four classic climbs of the Tour de France, this toughie attracts 7,500 riders each year, who battle it out over 174km and 5,000 altimeters – phew! Once again, registration is open now – so get cracking!

  1. Arlberg Giro – 4th August 2019, St. Anton Austria

It might not be one of the most famous sportives on the list, but is certainly one of the most enjoyable, and if you are looking for a well-priced cycling event in Europe next summer, the Arlberg Giro could be the perfect choice.  Including a few famous Austrian Passes such as Montafon and Silvretta, this one day race will see you climb 2,500 meters over 150km, but the scenery is so beautiful, you won’t even notice your climbing… okay, maybe exaggerating a little bit there! Sign up before 31st December 2018, and you’ll get entry plus a complimentary cycle jersey by JAKROO for just €43 – bargain!

  1. Öztal Cycle Marathon – 1st September 2019, Sölden, Austria

Described as the toughest sportive in Europe, the Öztaler Radmarathon is a 238km route with over 5,500 meters of elevation. There is only one route, there are strict cut-off guidelines in place, and many a grown man has cried tackling the final climb of Timmelsjoch – referred to as ‘Il Mostro’ or ‘The Monster’ by Italians. In the Austrian alps at this time of the year, anything can happen, and snowfall is not uncommon, so this one’s definitely not for the fainthearted!

  1. Giro Del Lago – November 2019, Puerto Varas Chile

See out 2019 in style with the Giro del Lago in Puerto Varas, Chile. A relatively new event, but one that has already attracted quite a following, it includes a 168km loop around Lake Llanquihue with a modest 2,040 metres of elevation. Limited to just 1,500 entries, this is by no means a big sportive, but if you ever fancied cycling in Patagonia (who doesn’t), then this could be the perfect starting point for your Chilean Cycling Adventure.

Winter Cycling Holidays Gran Canaria: Sunshine all but Guaranteed!

Are you looking for the perfect short-haul winter cycling holiday? With year-round sunshine, spectacular cycling routes, and bicycle friendly accommodations, Gran Canaria is fast becoming the best cycling destination in Europe for winter getaways, giving neighbouring Lanzarote a run for its money.

While still relatively new on the international cycling circuit, Gran Canaria has been attracting pro cycling teams for years. Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador as just a few of the famous faces you can expect to see on the island during the winter months, along with upcoming members of the Tinkoff Academy who come to the island to train.

A challenging cycling destination for those who love to climb, Gran Canaria homes more than a few demanding mountain passes to test your legs. There’s Pico de las Nieves, the highest peak on the island reaching 1,950m, the Valley of the Tears (VOTT), and the Temisas Climb between Aguimes and St. Lucia but to name a few.

While Gran Canaria is best known for its golden sand dunes and busy tourist areas, the moment you step inland you’re in a whole new world. Just 10 minutes from the busy coastal regions, you’ll find pristine cycling routes with little traffic and very few other cyclists, and while some of the roads could do with a little TLC, the majority are well maintained and perfectly suitable for road biking.

The beauty of Gran Canaria is that it bathes in year-round sunshine, and so you can cycle here at anytime of the year. From November to March, you can expect daily temperatures of around 25 degrees, and if you choose to stay in the south of the island in areas such as Tauro, you won’t need much more than a pullover for the evening.

Here’s what your 7-night Cycling Holiday in Gran Canaria could look like:

Day 1 – Arrive Las Palmas, transfer to hotel

Day 2 – Cycle Tauro – Aguimes – Temisas – St. Lucia – Vecindario – Tauro (approx. 125km)

Day 3 – Cycle Tauro – Soria – Fataga – San Fernando – Tauro (approx.. 110km)

Day 4 – Cycle Tauro – Fataga – Pico de las Nieves – Puerto de Mogan – Tauro (approx. 120km)

Day 5 – Rest Day – go enjoy the beach!

Day 6 – Cycle Tauro – Puerto de Mogan – San Nicolas – Artenara – Fataga – Tauro (approx. 145km)

Day 7 – Cycle Tauro – Ayagaures – Meloneras – Tauro (approx. 70km)

Day 8 – Departure

Find out more!