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

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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!

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.

Packing Your Bike for Travel: Airline Bike Policies

Packing your bike for an overseas sportive may seem like a bit of a hassle, but it will make all the difference on race day, and providing you have a good bike box or bag, and the knowledge to rebuild your bike when you arrive at your final destination, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take your bike with you on every cycling holiday.

Rental bikes are not all bad, in fact, some of them are very good indeed, but if you are heading to a huge event such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa,  where demand (and prices) are high, you could end up paying a huge sum of money for a sub-standard rental bike, more than you would pay to transport your own.

All airlines allow you to transport your bike, either as part of your checked luggage allowance or for a special premium, so there’s really no need to leave it behind. If you don’t want to splash out on a Scicon bike bag or hardcase bike box, you can get a cardboard one free of charge from almost any bike shop, and providing you use plenty of bubble wrap, your bike should arrive in the exact same condition in which you packed it.

While all airlines have different policies when it comes to transporting your bike, here is an overview of the most popular international airlines:

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • With British Airways, your bike can travel as your checked baggage allowance.
  • The standard baggage allowance in Economy is 23kg, but not all BA tickets include baggage, so you should check this when booking your flight.
  • You can only check-in one piece of baggage. So even if your bike box weighs less than 23kg, you CANNOT check in another bag to make up the difference, unless you pay for it.
  • If you want to check in both a bike box and a suitcase, you need to purchase an extra piece of checked baggage, which currently costs £60 per bag per way – so £120 roundtrip for your bike.
  • Providing your bike box does not exceed the maximum dimensions listed on the BA website, you do not need to advise the airline that you are transporting a bike prior to travel. You can simply turn up at the airport and check-in as normal.

EMIRATES

  • Emirates also allow you to transport your bike as part of your checked baggage allowance.
  • This airline uses both weight concept and piece concept baggage regulations, and so you really need to find out what your allowance is before booking your flight ticket.
  • If it is on weight concept, you will most likely have a checked baggage allowance of 30kg. In this instance, you can check in both a bike box and a suitcase providing they do not weigh more than 30kg combined, or exceed the maximum dimensions listed in the Emirates website.
  • If you flight ticket includes piece concept baggage regulations, then you can only check in the number of bags indicated. So, if your ticket includes 1 piece, you can only check in a bike box OR a suitcase.
  • You need to contact Emirates at least 24-hours prior to your flight if you intend to transport your bike as checked baggage. We recommend doing it the moment you book your flight.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, have excess baggage with Emirates. They charge $160 USD for just 5 kilos extra, and upwards of $250 USD to check in an extra bag.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC

  • Until recently, Virgin Atlantic allowed you to transport your bike free of charge, but this is no longer the case. You can now transport it as part of your checked baggage allowance, which is 23kg in Economy.
  • You can only check-in one piece of baggage and cannot pool the weight across your bike bag and suitcase.
  • If you want to check in both your bike box and a suitcase, you’ll need to purchase an extra piece of checked baggage at £65 per piece per way, so £130 roundtrip for your bike.
  • Providing your bike meets Virgin Atlantic’s size and weight guidelines, you do not need to inform the airline that you are transporting a bike prior to travel. Simply proceed to the airport and check in as normal.

KLM / AIR FRANCE

  • KLM and Air France do not allow you to transport your bike as part of any baggage allowance, you must always pay a fee for the privilege.
  • Their current long-haul rate is 100 Euros per bike per way, so 200 Euros roundtrip for your bike.
  • You have to let them know when booking your flight ticket that you want to transport your bike. If you book your flight ticket directly on their website, you should be able to do this during the booking process. If you are booking through a travel agent, let them know that you intend to take your bike with you so that they can add it to your booking.

TURKISH AIRLINES

  • Turkish Airlines allow you to transport your bicycle as your checked baggage allowance, which is generally 23kg in Economy.
  • You can only check-in one piece of luggage and cannot share the weight across your bike box and suitcase.
  • If you want to take a bike box and a suitcase, you will need to pay extra for your bike.
  • Turkish Airlines charge a per sector fee, rather than a per way fee for bikes. Therefore, if you are travelling from London to Cape Town via Istanbul, you will pay €30 per sector from London to Istanbul, and €60 per sector from Istanbul to Cape Town, totalling €90 per way, and €180 roundtrip. Complex? Yes!
  • You must advise Turkish Airlines prior to departure if you intend to transport your bike.

Please note, the above is just for reference and can change at any time. Please contact the airline for up-to-date rules and pricing.

 

 

 

 

Road Cycling Holidays Patagonia: Off the Beaten Track and into Nature

Patagonia remains a Bucket List destination for many, and rightly so. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and while most cycling activities have been strictly limited to off road Mountain Bike Trails in the past, the road networks in Chile are improving by the day, so much so, that Road Cycling Holidays in Patagonia are now possible.

Shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the perfect place for a multi-destination holiday, but due to the sheer size of it, and the logistics involved in combining the two, most organised cycling tours stick to one country or the other. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. After cycling to your heart’s content, you can extend your stay with a trip to Ushuaia, the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier, or even go hiking in Torres del Paine National Park.

Flying between Argentina and Chile is very easy and providing you don’t have to ship your bike between destinations, it’s very affordable too. Most recommended cycling companies in Patagonia will give you the option to rent a good quality road bike for the duration of your cycling holiday, which definitely makes travelling easier if you plan to move around.

Budget wise, Chile is the most economical option for a cycling holiday at the moment, and with endless National Parks, rainforests, fjords, and snow-capped mountains to keep you entertained, there really is something for everyone. Cycling around Chile’s Lake District remains a popular choice, as does cycling the Carretera Austral, and there are more than a few knee-trembling volcanoes and mountain passes to climb – perfect for those who are looking for a challenge!

Available from October to March each year, Patagonia Cycling Holidays are perfect for those who are looking to combine great cycling with stunning landscapes, great food, and exceptional Chilean wines. It really is a destination quiet unlike any other, and one of just a few places in the world where you can really bicycle beyond…