Cycle Sweden’s Vätternrundan 2020: Registration Open Today!

If you think you have to wait until October to register for the Vätternrundan 2020, think again! Entries for Sweden’s most iconic cycle tour open today, and if you want to secure your spot on this 300km extravaganza around Lake Vättern, now is the perfect time to head on over to the official vatternrundan.se website, set up an account, and register your interest for next year.

cycle vatternrundan 2020

Image courtesy: http://www.vatternrundan.se

Listed as “The World’s Largest Recreational Bike Ride” the Vatternrundan is a one-day, 300km event that attracts thousands of cyclists from all over the world. Starting and finishing the city of Motala, whose population triples in size over race week, it is a long but rewarding ride along the shores of one of Sweden’s most beautiful lakes. You’ll have the opportunity to see both sunset and sunrise as you ride through the night on this spectacular cycling sportive, but you shouldn’t hang around for too long, there are cut-off points to meet, and you need to be on time if you are to cover the whole 300km!

The Vätternrundan Cycle Tour has come a long way since the inaugural ride in 1966, when just over 300 participants turned up. Today, more than 23,000 cyclists from 50 different nations line up for the event, and as such, the demand for entries is high. In 2016, entries sold out in just over a minute, and while things seemed to have calmed down slightly, the event sells out fast year after year.

If you love the idea of cycling in Sweden next year but feel a 300km ride is out of your comfort zone, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several other options available. There’s the Halvvätten 150km ride for men and women, the Tjejvätten 100km ride for women only, the Vätternrundan 100km that allows participants to use e-bikes, the MTB Vättern for hardcore Mountain Bikers, and finally, the Mini Vättern for all the mini riders out there – just for kids.

Overall, Sweden’s Vatternrundan Cycle Tour attracts 37,000 participants, and you have the opportunity to be one of them in 2020! As a WACE (World Association of Cycling Events) sportive, the Vätternrundan lines up as one of the five most prestigious mass-participation cycling events in the world alongside the Prudential RideLondon, the Gran Fondo Campagnolo, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour New York, and the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa, which remains the world’s largest timed cycle event.

What WACE event will you be participating in in 2020? Drop us a line and let us know!

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Morten On Tour: Cycle Across America Part IIII

Since we last caught-up with Morten, he’s cycled through Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and the State of New York, and he’s fast approaching the end of his Fast Ride America adventure. But he’s not quite there yet!

cycling holidays bicycle beyond

During the past 9 days, he’s experienced changeable weather conditions, blustery headwinds, and more than a few over-friendly dogs, but he and his team mates remain in good spirits as they continue making their way east to their final destination Massachusetts.

Yesterday, Morten and a fellow rider decided to add another 65km to their journey with a detour to Canada to see Niagara Falls, where he managed to take the magnificent photos below. Here’s his Strava stats since we last caught up:

Day 20: Quincy IL – Springfield IL

Distance: 170.65km

Elevation: 794m

Moving Time: 5:36:50

Day 21: Springfield IL – Rest Day

Distance: 34.20km

Elevation: 160m

Moving Time: 1:34:02

Day 22: Springfield IL – Tuscola IL

Distance: 125.69km

Elevation: 387m

Moving Time: 3:48:20

Day 23: Tuscola IL – Lebanon IN

Distance: 192.56km

Elevation: 659m

Moving Time: 6:25:56

Day 24: Lebanon IN – Richmond IN

Distance: 179.18km

Elevation: 720m

Moving Time: 7:44:55

Day 25: Richmond IN – Marysville OH

Distance: 168.52km

Elevation: 781m

Moving Time: 5:49:18

Day 26: Marysville OH – Wooster OH

Distance: 165.63km

Elevation: 1,519m

Moving Time: 5:32:35

Day 27: Wooster OH – Warren OH

Distance: 153.70km

Elevation: 1,096m

Moving Time: 5:56:19

Day 28: Warren OH – Dunkirk NY – 3 State Day with Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York!

Distance: 222.75km

Elevation: 942m

Moving Time: 7:14:04

Day 29: Dunkirk NY – Batavia NY – Via Niagara Falls

Distance: 197.42km

Elevation: 804m

Moving Time: 7:27:01

Day 30: Batavia NY – Liverpool NY

Distance: 199.06km

Elevation: 1,466m

Moving Time: 7:00:18

Here are a few words from the man himself:

26th May 2019: Day 28 done now. Did 222km today, left Ohio in the morning, had lunch in Pennsylvania, and finished the day in the state of New York. Last 3-days have been great. Ohio is great for biking and weather has been nice with 20 – 25 degrees and less wind. Only 5 days to go now. Tomorrow I will take a detour, adding 65km to the route to visit Canada and Niagara Falls. It’s so close, I cannot miss this opportunity!

cycling holidays bicycle beyond

With just three days to go, we cannot wait to see Morten cross the finish line after what we’re sure has been a cycling holiday of a lifetime! Check back soon to find out how the last 3-days went!  Good luck Morten and cycle safe!

 

Morten on Tour: Cycle Across America Part III

They do say that time flies when you are having fun, but we can hardly believe it’s 10-days since we last caught up with Morten who is, as we type, cycling his way from California to Massachusetts on the Fast Ride America.

cycling across america

Since we last blogged, he has cycled through Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, and passed the official half-way mark, but despite already cycling 2,000 miles (3,218km), he still has a long way to go!

The past 10-days have been pretty full-on with no rest days. The weather has been ‘interesting’ to say the least, with 5 degree temperatures, scattered showers, and strong headwinds, but fortunately, the group managed to stay behind the tornado that threatened their two-wheeled journey.

Since arriving in Kansas, our very own Wizard of Oz (or should that be Norge!) has been blessed with blue skies and 25 degrees, so here’s hoping the good weather will last.  Here’s Morten Strava Stats from Day 10:

Day 10: Las Vegas NM – Tucumari NM

Distance: 176.24m

Elevation: 1160m

Moving Time: 6:55:34

 

Day 11: Tucumari NM – Dalhart TX

Distance: 155.10km

Elevation: 678m

Moving Time: 6:14:01

 

Day 12: Dalhart TX – Liberal KS (3 State Day)

Distance: 180.28km

Elevation: 368m

Moving Time: 8:07:00

 

Day 13: Liberal KS – Dodge City KS

Distance: 133.56km

Elevation: 338m

Moving Time: 4:43:00

 

Day 14: Dodge City KS – Great Bend KS

Distance: 147.75km

Elevation: 119m

Moving Time: 4:51:40

 

Day 15: Great Bend KS – Abilene KS

Distance: 204.84km

Elevation: 389m

Moving Time: 7:14:54

 

Day 16: Abilene KS – Topeka KS

Distance: 172.87km

Elevation: 1,419m

Moving Time: 6:35:18

 

Day 17: Topeka KS – Cameron MO

Distance: 188.97km

Elevation: 1,884m

Moving Time: 6:47:25

 

Day 18: Cameron MO – Kirksville MO

Distance: 191.90km

Elevation: 2,186m

Moving Time: 7:30:42

 

Day 19: Kirksville MO – Quincy IL

Distance: 145.49km

Elevation: 1,615m

Moving Time: 5:11:31

 

Here’s a few lines from the man himself:

 

8th May: We arrived in Tucumari close to the Texas border after a relatively easy 177km ride with headwinds all the way. Tornados are forecast for the coming days, although it looks as though we’ll be just behind them. We will see tomorrow!

 

9th May: We arrived in Texas today. Another day with strong headwinds, and colder than previous days. Tomorrow will be much the same, but I’m glad we missed the weather on the picture below!

cycling across america

 

11th May: We left Dodge City this morning, an old cowboy town famous for its cattle farms. We passed Kinsley in Kansas, which is midway USA, and enjoyed warmer temperatures with little wind. Kansas is flat – we climbed just 119m over 148km – you won’t find that in Norway!

 

15th May: After leaving Topeka at 7am this morning, we reached the Fast America half-way point. First half done!

 

17th May: After a few very warm days in Missouri, we crossed the Mississippi River to Quincy Illinois. Lots of rolling hills in Missouri, so challenging but very pretty.

 

Today, Morten is cycling from Quincy to Springfield in Illinois, where he will enjoy a well-deserved rest today tomorrow! We’ll catch up again soon, but in the meantime, here’s some pics:

cycling across america

Morten on Tour: Cycle Across America Part II

Well, he’s been on the road for 10-days now as he cycles across America, and Morten shows no signs of slowing down. He’s travelled through California, Arizona, and New Mexico, and he’s making his way towards Texas, but our Norwegian cycling buddy has a long way to go until he reaches Massachusetts, 4,200km to go to be precise, and we cannot wait to see what happens next!

Cycling Holidays Bicycle Beyond

We last caught up with Morten in Cottonwood, Arizona, when he was 4 days into is mammoth cycling trip across the US. From there, he headed into the Wild West of New Mexico, where he has visited Gallup, Albuquerque, and Las Vegas (not to be confused with the Las Vegas in Nevada!).

The day starts early when you have to cycle some 200km, and with breakfast at 05h30 and departure at 06h30, there’s not much time for a lie in in the mornings! Since reaching New Mexico, Morten has experienced a few chilly starts with temperatures barely reaching 1°C, but by mid-morning, the sun is shining, the temperatures rise to 27°C, and there’s not a cloud in the sky – so perfect for a day in the saddle!

Here are Morten’s Strava Stats from Day 5:

Day 5: Cottonwood AZ – Winslow AZ

  • Distance: 174.83km
  • Elevation: 1,669m
  • Moving Time: 6:45:11

Day 6: Winslow AZ – Gallup NM

  • Distance: 209.60km
  • Elevation: 990m
  • Moving Time: 7:42:50

Day 7: Gallup NM – Albuquerque NM

  • Distance: 204.97km
  • Elevation: 754m
  • Moving Time: 7:17:11

Day 8: Rest Day in Albuquerque NM (But couldn’t resist a little leg loosener!)

  • Distance: 16.91km
  • Elevation: 104m
  • Moving Time: 51:28

Day 9: Albuquerque NM – Las Vegas NM

  • Distance: 219.82km
  • Elevation: 2572m
  • Moving Time: 8:47:38

cycling holidays bicycle beyond

Here’s a brief update from the man himself:

Day 7: So, we arrived in Albuquerque. It was 1°C and fresh when we started, but we had sunny blue skies all the way and the temperatures soon reached 26°C. Tomorrow is a rest day, so I’m going to have a lazy Sunday morning breakfast and enjoy the rest of the day.

Day 9: We left Albuquerque early this morning and cycled 220km with approximately 2500m climbing. We arrived in Las Vegas (New Mexico, not Nevada) to a sunny and warm 28°C and great weather.

As we speak, Morten is cycling from Las Vegas to Tucumcari (both New Mexico), which will see him cover some 177km and 1,024m elevation. After today, he has another 10 full days in the saddle before he gets his second rest day, although, with his trusty new wheels, we don’t see that being a problem!

You see, when Morten arrived in California, he found that his beloved BMC bike hadn’t travelled quite as well as he did. During transit from Norway, his frame suffered severe damage, and so he needed to get new wheels – and quick!

cycling holidays

With more than 5,400km riding ahead of him, he needed a comfortable bike and decided on the rather splendid specimen above. A TREK Domane with 32mm tyres and disc brakes – no less!  Well, a good bike certainly helps, but it is ultimately the man sitting on it that has to make the wheels go around, and so Morten, pedal strong, stay safe and keep us posted!

Cycling Morocco: Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean

With France, Italy, and Spain ticked off your Bucket List, you might be looking for a new destination for your next overseas cycling break, and if you like the idea of travelling between now and next March, Morocco could be the number #1 choice for your winter cycling holiday.

Exotic, affordable, and easily accessible from most European hubs, Morocco is a fabulous cycling destination for those who are looking for a truly authentic African experience, without the long-haul flight to South Africa, Namibia, or Tanzania. In fact, a flight from London to Marrakesh takes just 3 hours and 40 minutes, less than it would take you to get to the Canaries, and so it’s a great choice for a weeklong break.

Road Cycling Holiday Morocco

While you may not think of Morocco as a road cycling destination, the roads are surprisingly good in this part of the world, particularly in the Atlas Mountains where you will find more than a few challenging climbs to test your legs and keep you in peak condition until spring. The scenery is simply breathtaking here with deep valleys, snow-capped mountains, and flowing rivers that provide the perfect backdrop for your cycling tour.

There’s very little traffic here, and as accommodations are limited, you will have the opportunity to stay in authentic gites and locally owned guest houses, where you will experience authentic Moroccan cuisine and learn about local cultures and traditions. Cyclists are very welcome in the Atlas Mountains, and there are more than enough demanding ascents to keep hardcore road bikers entertained.

After completing your mountain stage, you can continue your Moroccan cycling holiday to Agadir on the Atlantic coastline where you will enjoy uninterrupted views of the ocean, wide crescent beaches, and a bustling seaside promenade with colourful restaurants and bars. From here, you can head back inland to Imouzzer, cycling the magnificent Paradise Valley along the way, before heading to the formal imperial city of Marrakesh for some well-deserved shopping and sightseeing as you submerge yourself in Morocco’s vibrant metropolis.

Morocco offers unforgettable cycling experiences, so why not bicycle beyond with an Atlas to Atlantic Road Cycling Tour!

 

 

Bormio 3 Mountain Pass Cycle Challenge: Gavia, Stelvio & Mortirolo

There are some mountain passes in the world that every cyclist dreams about conquering, and in the picturesque alpine town of Bormio, you will find three of them, all lined up and ready to welcome you with open arms! The mighty Gavia Pass, the Stelvio Pass and the Mortirolo Pass are all right here in the Lombardy region of Italy, and if you are looking for a short and sporty cycling break in one of the most beautiful areas in Europe, Bormio could be the perfect destination for your next cycling trip.

While predominantly a ski resort, Bormio attracts thousands of international cyclists each year who come here to follow in the footsteps (or should that be cycle tracks) of their Giro D’Italia heroes. The mountain passes in this part of the world are known to make the strongest professional climbers weak at the knees… quite literally, and so they are more than a challenge for us mere mortals, but with determination, training, and a will to succeed, any keen cyclist can reach the top, as we found out last week…

Cycling the Gavia Pass from Bormio

The Passo di Gavia is a beautiful ride and a great warm up for the more demanding passes ahead. Starting right in the heart of Bormio, it’s impossible to miss, and with an average gradient of just 5.5%, it is one of just a few alpine passes that even newbie climbers can attempt. While figures vary ever-so-slightly depending on the device you use, the statistics for the Gavia Pass are as follows:

  • Length of climb: 25.6km
  • Average gradient: 5.5%
  • Maximum gradient: 11% (which starts at 21km)
  • Elevation gain: 1404m

It starts with a gentle ride along the river before ramping up slightly to Santa Catarina. There are a few cobbled sections along the way, just enough to get you out of your comfort zone, but in general, the going is good, and the gradients are doable.  There are a few switchbacks to keep you on your toes, but once you have scaled those, the Gavia pass winds its way slowly but surely upwards towards a spectacular glacier. At km 21, things go pear-shaped. The road ramps up to 11% without warning and stays that way for a good couple of kilometres. However, once you’ve done that, you are home and dry. The final stretch along the banks of the beautiful lake is as flat as an Italian pancake – and the café at the top is the cherry on the cake!

Cycling the Stelvio Pass from Bormio

As one of the most iconic climbs in Italia, cycling the Passo di Stelvio is a bucket list dream for many. Both sides of the pass are open to cyclists, and the both offer different challenges, but the road from Bormio is much less crowded, and so it is a great choice for cyclists who are looking for a more peaceful ascent. During the summer months when temperatures are high, it’s a good idea to get cracking early, leaving Bormio no later than 07:30am. Here’s the stats:

  • Length of climb: 21.5km
  • Average gradient: 7.1%
  • Maximum gradient: 14% (at 10.5km)
  • Elevation gain: 1533m

As with Gavia, the Stelvio Pass starts directly in Bormio, and so there’s little opportunity to warm up, so you may want to go for a short spin before you start. The road is well maintained here (unusual for Italy), and there’s hardly any traffic if you leave early. The gradient is a steady 7 percent with a few jumps here and there to remind you that you are climbing one of the toughest passes in the Alps, but it’s only really the 14% ramp that comes just after the 10km mark that really tests the legs.  After completing the switchbacks, you come to a relatively flat section, but don’t let that draw you into a false sense of security! The last 3 kilometres are the toughest part of the entire climb, with 10% – 15% average. However, glory is waiting for you in the form of an ice-cold shandy and a sausage sandwich!

Cycling the Mortirolo Pass from Bormio – via Mazzo

They say all roads lead to Rome, and it seems like many lead to the top of Mortirolo with 5 different routes to keep you entertained, but if you want to do it like the Giro D’Italia professionals, there is only one way to climb Mortirolo, and that is via Mazzo.  To say this is a tough climb is an understatement. In fact, I’ll share the stats with you before saying any more…

  • Length of climb: 12.8km
  • Average gradient: 11.8%
  • Maximum gradient: 20%
  • Elevation gain: 1315m

From Bormio, you have to cycle +/- 28km to Mazzo di Valtellina where your climb will begin. It’s all downhill on the way out, which may sound great, but that mean’s it’s all up hill on the way back, so bear that in mind when planning your journey. From Mazzo, Mortirolo Pass jumps from 4 percent to 9 percent in the blink of any eye and stays that way for the first 4km until you reach San Matteo Church, where things really start to get exciting (or should that be painful!). From here, the gradient soars to almost 14 percent and stays that way until you reach the Marco Pantani Monument at the 9km mark. You’re cycling through a forest tunnel at this stage, so you are fortunately sheltered from the sun, but its hot, its tough, and you may ask yourself why you even cycle… this pass has grown men in tears.  Your last 4kms average at around 9 percent, and so there’s really no respite until you reach the top. Unfortunately, there is no bar at the top of Mortirolo, so take a photo at the sign to prove you really did it before making your way back down to curve number 4 for a much-needed cold drink.  You’ve done it – you are a superstar!

Sound like your perfect cycling holiday? Book your Bormio 3 Mountain Pass Challenge!

 

Cycle from Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu: Peru MTB Adventure

Cycling Holidays are one of this year’s biggest travel trends, and with exciting new routes popping up all over the world, there are some fabulous adventures to be had on two wheels.

No longer reserved for the super fit, the super-rich, and the super talented amongst us, the cycling holidays of today are designed to suit all budgets and all abilities, and whether you are looking for a short and sporty break in Europe, or a two-week cycling holiday somewhere warm and exotic, it’s easy to find the perfect trip… you just need to know where to look!

One of the most exciting tours to come out of South America is the magnificent Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu Cycling Tour in Peru. On off-road Mountain Bike Adventure covering some 587km across the altiplano, it highlights some of the most beautiful scenery in all Peru. Cycling quiet urban roads and remote mountain passes, you’ll have the unique opportunity to visit those places that the everyday tourist never gets to see, and as the tour ends at the Empire of the Incas – Machu Picchu, it really is a cycling holiday of a lifetime.

Cycling from Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu takes 12 days including a night in Puno at the beginning of your trip, a night in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) and a final night in Cusco. You will stay in a variety of accommodations ranging from traditional homestays to camping and hotels, and you can expect to cycle anything between 45km and 115km per day.  That may not sound like a lot, when you consider the altitude in which you will be riding at, every kilometre counts!

Despite the remoteness of this Peru Cycling Holiday, a support vehicle is never far behind, and so you only have to carry the absolute essentials with you and can jump on the bus if you feel you need a break.

Here’s a brief overview of what the Biking Titicaca to Machu Picchu Tour looks like:

  • Day 1: Arrive Juliaca, transfer to hotel in Puno for overnight.
  • Day 2: Take a boat tour to the Uros Islands. Set up the bikes. Overnight with local people at a homestay.
  • Day 3: Ride from Lake Titicaca to Lampa – 65km
  • Day 4: Ride from Lampa to Trapiche de Palca – 55km
  • Day 5: Ride from Trapiche de Palca to Cañon de Tinajani over 4,500m Pass – 45km
  • Day 6: Ride from Cañon de Tinajani to Pacomarca – 65km
  • Day 7: Ride from Pacomarca to Lake Langui – 85km
  • Day 8: Ride from Lake Langui to Cusipata – 115km
  • Day 9: Ride from Cusipata to Pisac – 85km
  • Day 10: Ride from Pisac to Ollantaytambo – 75km – Transfer to Machu Picchu Pueblo
  • Day 11: Guided Tour of Machu Picchu – Vistadome Train to Ollantaytambo – Transfer to Cusco
  • Day 12: Departure

Available from end of April to early November, this really is the South American Cycling Holiday that dreams are made of…!