Taiwan KOM Cycle Challenge 2019: There’s Still Time to Enter!

Listed as one of the World’s Top 10 Hardest Road Cycling Races, the Taiwan KOM Challenge is a one-day, 105km cycling event that will take you to the Taroko National Park on the east coast of Taiwan. Organised by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and the Taiwan Cycling Federation, this spectacular sportive starts at sea level and winds its way through the Taroko Gorge to Taiwan’s highest passable mountain road – the Wuling Pass, and on to the summit at 3,275 metres above sea level.

Cycling Federation Taiwan

Image rights: Taiwan Cycling Federation

The Taiwan KOM Challenge has an average gradient of 7%, which over 105km doesn’t sound too bad… Until you read that the average gradient on the last 8km is 17% to 27%! It goes up, and up, and then up again, and so it’s certainly not for the fainthearted, but if you are looking for an end-of-season cycling challenge, this could be the tour for you!

The Taiwan KOM Challenge 2019 is due to take place on Friday, 25th October, and so there is still plenty of time to organise your trip to Taiwan for the event. Flights are very reasonable from the UK and mainland Europe, with return tickets from London to Taipei costing as little as £365 per person, and from Frankfurt to Taipei for just £390 roundtrip.

Packages for the Taiwan KOM Cycling Challenge, including 7 night’s accommodation with half-board, all transfers, a sightseeing tour of Taipei, two pre-race training rides, an optional post-race ride, and guaranteed entry into the Taiwan KOM Challenge with welcome party, lunch, souvenir t-shirt, backpack, water bottle, farewell dinner, and much more, costs just £1250.00, and so it really is a bargain trip for anyone who wants to go cycling in Asia.

If you love the idea of participating in the Taiwan KOM Cycle Challenge, but your travel partner is not so keen, they can take advantage of the KOM Spectator Tour Package. On race day, they will be transported to the top of the pass, where they will be able to watch the entire race, and to make them feel part of the gang, they will also get a KOM Shirt, a Race Handbook, Lunch, and access to the Farewell Dinner.

This really is one of the toughest sportives in the world, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s some quotes from previous participants:

“The Taiwan KOM Challenge is one of the most unforgiving and brutal hill climb events in the world, situated in the most impossibly beautiful and stunning picture-postcard location imaginable. Sharpen up those hill climbing legs — this needs to be on your bucket list.” – Andy Van Bergen, Cycling Tips

“The Taiwan KOM is a bucket-list item. It was for me, now checked off, and it should be for you. A riding trip here is more rewarding than an outing to Alpe d’Huez, and certainly more difficult. It’s more adventurous than anything in the Dolomites, more rugged than the Pyrenees. I implore you: Make a week of it.” Caley Fretz, VeloNews

2016 Winner Emma Pooley described the Taiwan KOM Challenge as, “ the hardest day she has ever had on a bicycle”.

If that doesn’t want to make you do it in October 2019, we don’t know what will!

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Cycling Garden Route South Africa: Strava Stats

If you love the idea of Cycling the Garden Route in South Africa but are worried about the distance, the terrain, and the speed you’ll be expected to ride, then keep reading…! Here you’ll find original STRAVA STATS from a ‘real’ garden route cycling holiday that took place earlier this year in the run-up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Cycling South Africa’s Garden Route is a lifelong dream for many international cyclists, and rightly so. It is a spectacular 750km stretch from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, and it highlights some of the most beautiful areas of the Western Cape – which are often overlooked by travellers driving the garden route or taking a small group escorted tour.

While the full Garden Route Cycling Tour is a demanding trip, it is suitable for all ages, and with the average age group for this South African Cycling Holiday being 40 – 70 years old, there are no limits. If you feel comfortable cycling on open roads and covering around 100km per day in the saddle, you will easily manage the trip, and there’s always a support vehicle behind for you to jump on if you need a rest.

The support vehicle stays with the group the whole time, so you can take a break if you are feeling too hot or too tired and re-join the group whenever you feel ready. It’s not a stressful tour – so don’t let the distance put you off!

Here’s what you can expect during your Garden Route Cycling Holiday. Please note these are guide stats, and so they are slightly faster than the group average:

Day 1: Port Elizabeth to Jeffrey’s Bay

Distance: 111.47km

Moving Time: 4:51:48

Elevation: 1,260m

Average Speed: 22.9km/h

 

Day 2: Jeffrey’s Bay to Nature’s Valley

Distance: 113.56km

Moving Time: 4:31:46

Elevation: 1,204m

Average Speed: 25.1km/h

 

Day 3: Nature’s Valley to Brenton-on-Sea

Distance: 77.99km

Moving Time: 3:20:28

Elevation: 973m

Average Speed: 23.3km/h

 

Day 4: Brenton-on-Sea to Oudtshoorn (1-hour bus transfer)

Distance: 82.63km

Moving Time: 3:24:46

Elevation: 1,613m

Average Speed: 24.2km/h

 

Day 5: Oudtshoorn to Swellendam

Distance: 124.90km

Moving Time: 4:51:46

Elevation: 1,722m

Average Speed: 25.7km/h

 

Day 6: Swellendam to Hermanus (1-hour bus transfer)

Distance: 98.25km

Moving Time: 4:20:15

Elevation: 1,393m

Average Speed: 22.7km/h

 

Day 7: Hermanus – Gordons Bay (transfer to Cape Town)

Distance: 83.36km

Moving Time: 3:07:03

Elevation: 752m

Average Speed: 24.1km/h

 

Some bus transfers are included to avoid narrow roads and roadworks, and to limit the number of kilometres travelled each day, but apart from that, it will just be you, two wheels, beautiful scenery, and a bunch of likeminded individuals. Cycling the Garden Route is every bit as spectacular as you imagine it to be – so why not head on down to South Africa this winter and find out what all the fuss is about!

Cycle the Garden Route December 2019 – Fixed Departure

Garden Route Training Camp February 2020 – Including Guaranteed Entry Cape Town Cycle Tour 2020

Morten On Tour: Cycle Across America Part V

Well, he did it! Morten finally completed the Fast America Ride on 30th May 2019, which saw him cycle some 5,554km from California to Massachusetts in just 33 days (30 days riding).

Here’s his Strava Stats since we last caught up:

Day 31: Cycling Liverpool NY – Amsterdam NY

Distance: 191.50km

Elevation: 1,093m

Moving Time: 8:26:47

Day 32: Cycling Amsterdam NY – Keene NH – 3 State Day

Distance: 202.91km

Elevation: 2,507m

Moving Time: 8:24:51

Day 33: Cycling Keene NH – Salisbury Beach Massachusetts – Mission Completed!

Distance: 173.58km

Elevation: 1,753m

Moving Time: 7:00:00

Here’s a few words from the man himself:

29th May 2019: Yesterday was really a tough day, it was cold and raining cats and dogs all day and the headwind was brutal. I did not think it was possible to get so wet. Today coming into Keene, New Hampshire better, it was cloudy with less wind even though distance was quite long (202km). Tomorrow is the last day – my legs will be grateful for that 🙂

30th May 2019: Yep. Did it!!

Everyone at Bicycle Beyond would like to congratulate Morten on his amazing accomplishment, and we look forward to hearing all about it next time we meet up!

cycling holidays america

What’s next for us? We’ll, we’re Cycling Pico de Veleta in Granada, Spain at the end of July, the Ötztal Radmarathon in Austria in September, and Cycling the Garden Route in South Africa in December. Next year, we’ve got the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour 2020 and a brand-new cycling holiday in Patagonia – so why not join us!

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!

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.