Galicia is a Cyclist´s Paradise

When you are planning anything on a bike now, be it a Sunday run, a full blown holiday, or it seems a grand Tour, climbing seems to be an integral part. Cyclists have always wanted to go uphill since bikes were invented. However, this now seems to be an obsession, with riders and organisers alike. The recent Vuelta de España was packed with different types of climbs. Even the “hilly” stage in Galicia had 3300m of vertical gain. So, for those who like challenging terrain, this region is perfect for riders of every ability. It can truly be said that Galicia is a cyclist’s paradise.

The Modern Day Problems of the Famous Climbs

The historic climbs, particularly those featured in the Tour and the Giro, have always been part of cycling folklore. The Stelvio and Alpe D´Huez are the two most famous from those great races. Most cyclists have those two on their bucket list of things to do before they die. Tourists flock to these monuments, and and just bike tourists. The Alps in particular have become a haven for motorcyclists too, who much prefer descending to ascending. This has added to the danger of visiting these climbs. Tourism in general has not helped either. Cycling has made these places very familiar, and in the summer now, these mountains can be very busy with tourist traffic. Nothing quite like rounding the hairpins of Alpe D´Huez in a caravan of motor homes and exhaust fumes. Similarly heading down a busy dual carriageway ahead of the Tourmalet is not ideal preparation.

Galicia is a Cyclist’s Paradise

So, if you want to enjoy climbing on a bike, what ingredients do we need. Well, first a decent supply of mountains and hills is fundamental. Secondly, as climbing implies going uphill, sometimes to altitudes well above 500m, some good weather too. Thirdly, roads that are relatively traffic free, as all climbs have to be descended too, and safety is an issue. And lastly, a good combination of climb length and severity. Thus, those who love to climb should try a bike trip to Spain, as the country offers this in abundance. And in particular, the cycling in Galicia is tailor made for those who love climbing.

Galicia’s Famous Climbs

On our page, we have listed the Galician climbs. These are those found just in the south western part of the region, and the Portuguese border. Galicia offers some of the best cycling terrain on the continent, and undiscovered gem. And for those who love climbing, it offers long 30km efforts such as Cabeza de Manzaneda. Also, short , violently steep efforts such as Monte Aloia and Arga de Cima.  Each of these climbs present a different challenge, and that is what makes Galicia so unique. Many of these climbs can be tackled traffic free, in fact there are more animals than cars. Descents can be enjoyed without dodging motor homes or motorbikes. Nature in it’s rawest from can be observed. And you are never far from the sea, to enjoy some flat after all the effort.

Here in the region of Galicia, cyclists have everything they could want on a bike holiday. Climbs, safe roads, little traffic, ocean side rides, and after a day in the saddle , great food too. All these ingredients add up to make Galicia the ideal place for cycling holiday. Galicia is a cyclist’s paradise. Come and see it for yourself.

Transporting a Bike. What are the Options?

There are many ingredients to make the perfect cycling holiday. However, like any recipe, if you get one wrong you can end up with a disaster. So, what are the most important issues when you are organising transporting a bike on a cycling holiday? As all of us know, travelling nowadays can be hard work. The heavy reliance on budget airways has changed the way that we all plan for out travel. Cyclists have had to re-think their strategy on bike transport. Long gone are the days when a cycling holiday meant taking your bike on a plane, free of charge. So, from the very beginning of your planning, bike transport is very important. So, let´s examine the options, and try to come up with an answer.

Renting a Bike at The Destination

Many nowadays like to rent a bike when they arrive at their destination. At least this means that worrying about transporting a bike is taken out of the equation. Whilst removing the experience of packing, transporting and unpacking, it adds other problems to your holiday. A different bike is never the same as your own. Immediately settling on to another bike is hard. The geometry is never the same, and it can take time to adjust to the way it rides.  Also, the cost can be high. Almost always higher than transporting your own, sometimes considerably higher. We at CyclingGalicia  believe that this is only the best option for those who fall into two categories. Firstly, if you have a connecting flight and must use budget airlines for at least one. And, for those who are not “married” to their own bike and are happy to switch.

Transporting a Bike on an Aeroplane

So, what other options are there? Before you book a flight, check with the airline directly for their policy of transporting a bike. The rules for each airline can vary enormously, so do your homework. The cost of travel is not just the headline price, it is the final price after luggage . Check how heavy your bike bag can be. Many can weigh up to 23kg. If you have a light bike, and bike bag, this can be a money saver. You can easily pack clothing and much more inside the bike bag, thus leaving you with just hand luggage on the plane. Also, packing clothing etc, in plastic bags around your bike, can make it more secure. The less movement inside the bag, the less chance of frame damage. There is nothing worse than opening your bag at destination, and the drop out has snapped, or worse.

Sending a Bike Ahead of Travelling

There is a third option, however very few cycling holiday companies offer at. At CyclingGalicia , we not only offer it, we encourage this mode of transporting a bike. The facility to send your bike ahead of your trip, and sent back afterwards. This service allows you to travel light. If you pack well and sensibly, you could find yourself with just hand luggage on your journey. You can use our partner service SENDBIKE for this. They are a specialised bike courier that uses DHL for all their deliveries. You simply get your bike plus anything else you want to send packed up. Then use our promo code at SENDBIKE. They pick it up and deliver it to our shop in Galicia. There your bike will be assembled, and ready for your arrival. And after the trip, your bike will be packed away and sent back to your door.

So, there are a few options for transporting a bike on your next cycling holiday. You have to decide which one suits you best. Here at CyclingGalicia we endeavour to give you as many options as possible. If you arrive stress free, and leave stress free, then our job is done.

Campaign for Spanish Road Safety Laws

All of us who love this sport of cycling must contend daily with the dangers that lie therein. All modes of cycling present their own form of risk. That risk draws people to the sport in the disciplines of downhill, and mountain biking. Those who choose the road as their main method of cycling are in a constant battle with vehicles. Perhaps battle is not the correct word, but sometimes it does feel like that. Whilst the region of Galicia is not perceived to be as dangerous as London for example, risks remain apparent. And the world of cycling in Spain is doing something about it. The campaign for Spanish road safety is now flying.

La Vuelta Highlights Campaign for Spanish Road Safety

The three weeks of the Vuelta de España focus the country in the minds of the cycling world. Also, reporting of it in the main Spanish newspapers draws other sports fans to cycling. Thus, the organisers of the Vuelta have taken advantage of this to push through the national campaign for Spanish road safety laws. Called ” #PorUnaLeyJusta“, translated meaning “for a fair law”, this campaign started in 2016. Our club, Club Ciclista de la Fuente were heavily involved at its inception, after an accident that affected our team in March 2016. Carlos Moure, the “godfather” of Galician cycling has been active on social media promoting it. Because of this there has been a lot of success. The 1.5m law has been enshrined by many autonomous regions. This makes it a legal requirement to give a cyclist 1.5m of space when passing in a vehicle.

Contador and Friere Join the Fight

Two days after the start of the Vuelta, the Spanish cycling legend Alberto Contador met with the Justice minister Dolores Delgado. This meeting was very high profile, and a lot of media attended. Clearly the new law cannot be approved in just one day. However, Delgado listened intently to Contador, and gave assurances that the law would be fast-tracked. In addition, the second rest day of the Vuelta was in Torrelavega in Cantabria in northern Spain. This is the home town of Oscar Friere, the three-time world road race champion. In conjunction with ASO the organisers, Friere headed up a presentation to promote the new law. Alongside other legends of Spanish cycling, such as Pedro Delgado and Oscar Pereiro, Friere gave a passionate speech about protecting cyclists. He really helped to push the campaign for Spanish road safety on to the front page.

New Law Improved Safety

With the full backing of these revered cyclists, all of them legends in Spain, the law has a great chance of passing. There will always be dissenters, and cyclists too have responsibility to ride sensibly. However, with the threat of greater punishments for drivers who flout the law, we can only hope that it reduces accidents. Spain is at the forefront of safer cycling, and Galicia is heavily promoting the cause. We all love cycling, and we all want to enjoy it knowing that we are protected. Europe could do worse than follow the example of Spanish road safety.

The Vuelta de España 2018 Arrives in Galicia

After ten stages through the south and south-central part of Spain, the Vuelta de España finally arrived in Galicia. And what a difference it made. Viewers of the race on Eurosport must have been a bit weary of endless days watching cyclists travel through barren landscapes. Because of the climate, much of the southern part of Spain is arid. All the commentators mentioned the extreme heat of 40+ centigrade every day. The cyclists themselves in social media spoke of little else, just the need to constantly hydrate.

So cycling in Galicia came as a welcome change to everybody. Temperatures were constant around 25 Celsius, and the day had every type of weather possible. This included a lovely short sharp shower just 5km from the finish. The day was listed as medium mountains, but included 3200m of vertical gain in 207km, with just 11km of flat road. The first 73km taking the cyclists form Mombuey on the Castilla y Leon border to A Gudiña was on one road the N-525. 73km of rolling terrain with hardly any flat at all. The peloton covered it in just 90 minutes, an astonishing 48.3 km/h average, with no crashes and no punctures.

Vuelta de España – Cabeza de Manzaneda

As the raced turned inland, it skirted around the Cabeza de Manzeneda Galicia´s highest summit climb. The route included the first 5km of the climb, and just this section was given a second degree category. At the finish line yesterday, the talk from the organisation was that Galicia could host up to five stage in next year´s Vuelta de España. And that one could finish at the Cabeza summit , last conquered by David Moncutié in 2011. The route then passed by the spectacular Cañones of the River Sil, possibly the most beautiful river valley in Spain. The helicopter shots were incredible. The finish in Luintra, a small town of just 1250 inhabitants, and  estimates yesterday were of 10000 spectators at the finish. Oscar Pereiro, Galicia´s most famous cyclist oversees podium presentations at the Vuelta de España. It felt like the whole of Galicia had turned out at the finish to welcome him home.

Stage 12 Estaca de Bares

Today´s stage is in the extreme north Galicia. The finish at the Estaca de Bares lighthouse is Spain´s most northerly point. The forecast is for a 30km/h wind from the coast, and some light rain. With 2300m of climbing too, it could prove to be a tough stage for the riders. So, Galicia hosts two days of the race, and hopefully in next year´s Vuelta de España more than double that amount. The pros love the terrain, comparing it to the Ardennes classics such as Liege Bastogne Liege. That is a good comparison. So, come and see for yourselves. Try a cycling holiday in Galica and see what the pros are all raving about.