Day 8: Forni di Sopra to Kotschach Mauthen

, August 5, 2011

On May the 21st I watched my cycling heroes on Eurosport as they tackled the Monte Zoncolan in the Giro d’Italia. The road looked unbearably steep, and even the for the finest cyclists in the world, the challenge of getting up the mountain was immense. I knew I had to experience it and when planning the route for this tour, the opportunity presented itself. I would start the Alps with l’Alp d’Huez and finish the Dolomites with Zoncolan.

Day 7: Pozza di Fassa to Forni di Sopra

, August 4, 2011

Unfortunately the decent was short lived, dropping 800m in just a handful of kilometres. Then the road traversed the mountain and headed up again into the trees. Another hard pass, Passo di Falzarego, forced me to stop for lunch after just a few kilometres as I felt my blood sugar levels dipping. I felt poor on this climb but eventually found a rhythm tapping my thumbs on the handlebars and trying not to think about it too much.

Day 6: Garda to Pozza di Fassa

, August 3, 2011

I set off from the glitz and glamour of Garda and having ridden 35 km to the lakes northern tip (Riva del Garda), I began climbing. The first pass of the day taking me over to Roverto was not too painful but served to warn me of what the Dolomites has to offer. I then had an awesome decent hitting a max speed of 76 kmph and in doing so lost the altitude i had gained. The route, interspersed with long dark tunnels, spat me out at Trento.

Day 5: Cremona to Maderno, Lake Garda

, August 2, 2011

The lake started looking very appealing as the temperature crept up. A quick check of the map, another 20 km up the lake, and I decided I could call it a day. Giving myself a rest afternoon seemed like real luxury, I still covered 119km through Cremona, Asolo, Desenzano and Maderno so I can rest easy.

Day 4: Alessandria to Cremona

, August 1, 2011

My route today took me from last night’s camp 7km north of Alessandria along the SS10 to Piacenza and on to Cremona. I sit now at camp on the banks of the Po.

Day 2: La Grave to Pinerolo, Italy

, July 30, 2011

From camp at 1400m I began the day climbing, working hard over numerous switchbacks that elevated me to 2058m and the summit of the Col du Lautaret with the infamous Col du Galibier looming ahead. The Galibier is for another trip so today I instead pointed the bike downhill and pushed for Briancon down a long, swooping decent which needed little braking – finally I seemed to be making good progress after a slow start.

Day 1: Grenoble to La Grave, France

, July 29, 2011

Hello, and welcome to my European cycle touring adventure blog. Over the next 3 weeks I aim to ride from Grenoble, France to Podgorica,Montenegro. I am taking in a few famous routes on my way including l’Alp d’Huez in the French Alps, Monte Zoncalon in the Italian Dolomites and the Vrsic Pass in Slovenia before cruising down the Croatian coast, cutting inland to Sarajevo and finishing up with a ride through the Montenegrin mountains. My aim was to create an interesting route, and to take in several countries with varying cultures along the way.

Cycle Touring Part 1 – Route Planning

, July 4, 2011

There isn’t much fun in zipping along a fast smooth A-road if it means battling a constant stream of large lorries buzzing past. I opted, as far as possible, to stay on back roads and cycle paths. Although not the most direct option, back roads offer safer riding and you the best viewpoints to digest the local countryside. An added benefit is that quieter roads allow for a safe meander when you’re tired and need to recover without the risk of a car clipping your panniers as it overtakes at 80mph.

Gore Bike Wear Cross Glove

, March 5, 2011

After a wet and cold winter season over 2009/2010, I decided to go big for this winter. I’ve been riding the Cross Glove from Gore Bike Wear. These gloves are Gore’s most substantial offering and are packed with features; A fully waterproof GORE-TEX® lining, adjustable elasticated cuffs and a soft thumb, ideal for winter snot-mopping. They are much bulkier that the Endura glove with a noticeable reduction in control over the bike, making them unsuitable for mountain bike duty. On a recent 5-hour training ride in the Scottish highlands these gloves coped with wind, snow and rain. My fingers remained tepid during the long decent from the Cairngorm ski centre, with past experience telling me my hands should be freezing. From now on these gloves will be my first choice for cold, wet days. However if I think I can get away with a lighter weight glove then I will switch out for the Endura Strike.

Endura Road Overshoe

, February 20, 2011

I have tried a few different pairs of overshoes but since getting my first pair of Endura Road Overshoes, I wouldn’t hesitate replacing them with a new pair when they are worn out. Now on my third pair of Endura Road Overshoes, I swear by them as one of my most trustworthy pieces of gear.

Gore Bike Wear Oxygen II

, January 12, 2011

Jack Richards review the Gore Oxygen II Jacket, suggesting that the Gore Oxygen IV might be the only way to improve this great piece of cycling gear.