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!

 

 

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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…!

 

 

Welcome to the Bicycle Beyond Blog!

If you love to travel, love to cycle, and love nothing more than combining the two, this is the blog for you!

 

Bicycle Beyond is a travel company 100% committed to cycling. We’ll be using this platform to tell you all about our upcoming road cycling and MTB holidays in some of the worlds most beautiful cycling destinations.

Italy, Gran Canaria, Morocco, Chile (Patagonia), Lesotho and South Africa are just a few of the destinations we have lined up for the coming months, and as our sole aim is to find the very best cycling routes in the world, you can expect to see many more exciting destinations added to that list before spring 2019.

As keen road cyclists ourselves, we are passionate about sharing our stories and learning from others who love to explore on 2 wheels, so if cycling has become your way of life, please follow us on this journey as we Bicycle Beyond…