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Foix cycling

We cycled 150kms over from Luchon to Vernajoul (in Foix) for a 2nd chapter of cycling in the Pyrenees. The ride over took in 2 challenging cols, and 2 easier ones. There were plenty of other minor climbs too, so still plenty of challenge.

The first climb was the Col de Ares, a beautiful col which gains height with not much effort as it’s always under 5%. The road the follows Le Ger river valley on quite a drag to the foot of the very challenging Portet de Aspet climb. The climb is about 7% average with steeper sections at about 10.5% over about 4 or so miles. It’s worth stopping near the bottom of the climb to see the fabulous memorial to Fabio Casertalli who crashed and died in the 1995 TdF whilst descending at high speed.

The route descends all the way to St Girons, exhilarating descending around 30kms non stop! The route then follows the steep sided, and slightly chilly gorge of the Arac river all the way to Massat. This is an alternative town situated right in the middle of a multitude of mountain passes. A peaceful rural vibe.

From here our route took us around halfway up the Col de Port, a moderate 7% climb that is on a lovely smooth road. We then headed up the dreaded Mur ‘wall’ de Peguere, which is very steep over the first km and a half at around 18% and then levels(!) to around 10% or so, still extremely tough. The whole climb is around 4.5kms. What is nice though is the reward of descending all the way to our destination, about 20kms, downhill at a good speed!

The final destination was cyclepyrenees.com where the hospitality is second to none. (I’m afraid they’re fully booked for 2020)

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Portillon and other cols

The weather looked fine so climbing out of France and into Spain seemed like an ok plan. It was also a Sunday, so apparently there would be no lorries using the mountain pass, the Col Portillon. Even better as it must be terrifying to be passed by slow moving juggernauts on narrow mountain roads.

View to France Col Portillon

This col is hemmed in by high valleys either side, and to me, it made it feel as you were never gaining height, with no appreciable views of upward progress, unlike the Col De Peyresourde which we climbed earlier in the week. It was a bit demoralising, the gradient was also tough at times, the steepest part being at nearly 14%, but mostly hovering around 8%. At least it was fairly shaded from the sun so you never got fully roasted. There’s no 360 degree spectacular view at the top, just a view of a short distance back down the valley.

The descent is a great reward though for making the effort to get there, some good switchbacks on a wide road, with huge pine trees making the scenery feel somewhat prehistoric. There are also really spectacular views down the Val D’Arran if you stop halfway down.

Val D’Arran Spain

The descent finishes at the valley floor in Spain at a small village called Bossost. It’s quite attractive with a tree lined avenue and a big river running alongside the main strip. It’s very touristy, lots of restaurants and bars. We were passed by a big peloton and their leader shouted ‘vamonos’ to us, a friendly bunch!

Bossost Spain

We took the road down the valley, skirting alongside the big river with its spring melt strewn boulder bed exposed as it was the end of summer. A good fast descent of around 20kms to Saint Beat, and then the last major col to climb the Col de Mente. The climb was very tough as it was very exposed to the sun, my computer read 29.9 degrees! The average gradient is just a shade over 9% and there are quite a few pitches which are steeper. So not easy. We were glad of the fantastic fountain at the top. The restaurant was packed, but our legs would not have taken kindly to a long stop.

Col de Mente fountain

The ride from this point was largely downwards, with the minor col de Ares to tackle. It’s a gentle climb of 5%-6% so never too tough, nice and shady too after a long hot slog up the Col de Mente. The last challenge was 20kms mostly alongside the main valley road back to Luchon. It wasn’t unpleasant, not too much traffic, just into a headwind which on a big main road always seems to amplify the difficulty level! Overall a great ride, but tough.

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Climbing Peyresoude

The Peyresoude is a tough climb over the col from the attractive town of Bagneres de Luchon for about 15kms, it’s about 7% average gradient, but most of it is more like 8% -9%, which is what my Garmin computer displayed as I climbed. You gain about 950m in altitude and the views are spectacular.

With about 300m of climbing still to come a set of 4 or 5 switchbacks come into view. They look really steep and quite off putting because of this! But when you actually climb them, they’re not that bad. It’s probably because the switchbacks are ‘squeezed’ into a small portion of the mountain pass at its steepest part , and this makes it look all the more dramatic.

View from Col De Azet

Our ride then descended down The Peyresoude to Genos a lovely little village next to a blue green lake, to the start of our next climb up the Col De Azet. As can be seen in the picture above the views of the mountains 360 degrees were spectacular, the fine weather helped.

We descended three quarters of the way down the Azet, stopping to fill up on water at a very picturesque water trough which a local sheepdog decided to take a bath in! From there we picked up a small level ‘route forestier’ through 3 tiny villages. The road was lined with mature natural and planted forests, with the odd sheep farm or three. This road descended to the main valley road back to start, our last ascent up the Col de Peyresourde.

Valley stop before final climb

The final climb of the Peyresourde was fairly painful, about 8%-9% with a flat section quarter of the way up! The relief at getting to the top was great, as by that point I’d certainly had enough of climbing by then. Getting out of the saddle more and more on the last climb was a sign my knees were asking for a bit of respite.

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Get ‘Swytchin’

Convert your own beloved bike with a new ‘Swytch’ conversion kit.  Swytch have designed this from scratch and have miniaturized the front hub motor – its about half the size and weight of a regular electric motor hub.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when you remove the battery pack from the handlebars,your bike is ‘Swytched’ back to riding and feeling like your regular bike!

The kit includes a front wheel and handlebar battery pack with the controls in. It even has a light! This normally costs £550, but I can match the pre-order price Swytch has them for which is £350, and best of all I have them in stock! (You have to wait a number of weeks if you order from Swytch)

3 Swytch bikes to test ride of hire for the day

Easy to remove battery and control pack with light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ex display Elite Turbo Trainers

I have 3 Ex-display Elite turbo tainers for sale in the shop.  They have been assembled and used in the shop very infrequently for people to try out, so they are essentially as new apart from light scuffs on their supporting legs. Pictures of the trainers below

Elite Direto –  Smart trainer – Now 550:00

Elite Qubo digital Smart B+ – Now 250:00

Elite Volano Smart B+ – Now 285:00

 

Elite Direto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elite Qubo (cente) and Elite Volano (foreground)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ex-hire Ebikes

There are 2 superb ex-hire Ebikes for sale, their main plus points are excellent motors and they fit a wide range of heights.

The first bike, pictured below, is a Bristol Bikes S’Park, in a medium large size. Its Unisex so suits both men and women. With disc brakes it stops quickly, and the brake pads last an age compared to rim brakes, plus your not going to wear your wheel rims out braking – really important on a heavy Ebike!

Its on sale for 1150:00. Its been used for 6 weeks and has less than 100 miles on the clock.

The S’Park got an amazing review from Ebiketips – read it here

The second bike, pictured below, is an Adventure road sport ladies Ebike. Its a really lovely bike in an eye catching blue colour. Its biggest plus point is it has a Shimano Steps Ebike motor system, one of the 2 market leading systems (the other is Bosch).  Its range is also a big plus, 60 miles on one charge (hills, wind and weight dependent of course!)

Its on sale for 1550, the RRP is 2250 so its a bargain, and its done less than 250 miles.  Its a medium but again like the first bike fits a wide range of riders, from short to tall.

Here is a link to the Adventure website with a bit more information about the bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ex hire bike sale

Its the time of year again as the summer is not far off ending that our ex hire hybrids are for sale.  They are 2018 Ridgeback Speed bikes, fully serviced and ready to go to new homes.

Please call by to try there are a range of sizes.

They are 399.99 new and they are on sale for 299.99, NOW REDUCED TO 250:00 AS AUTUMN APPROACHES with a free 6 week service and a 1 month guarantee against any part failure, with free labour to repair should a part break.

Check the detailed specification of the bike HERE

 

 

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Continental tyre / tube offer

A crazy August offer,  great quality Continental tyres fitted for free, with a free new inner tube installed at the same time!  The tyres are superb quality the top of the range Contact Plus @34.95 for hybrids / touring bikes / cyclocross commuters, or the Grand Prix GT folding tyre @34.95  for ultimate bombproof riding with grippy Black Chilli  rubber in a light and fast tyre.

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Fundraising for SIDS

I have never done a charity bike ride! So I thought why not give a bit back and do something for a couple who have used the bike shop over the last 7 years, and been directly affected by SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

The charity is the Lullaby Trust, and from what I have heard from my friends they have provided excellent bereavement support and they have also taken part in research the charity directly funds.

Apparently 4 infants a week in the UK die from this condition, which (and correct me if I am wrong) the causes of it are rather hard to pin down precisely.

So I am sorry to say, if you bring your bike in for a service, I will get out a rather ominous looking black folder thing and ask if you could sponsor me to do a 100 mile bike ride on the 28th July at the Ride London event.  I will match out of the bike service you pay for whatever you decide to put in  (obvs within my means!!)

You can sponsor me here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomas-jenkins