Whether or not you’re searching for miles of pavement, gravel, or singletrack, this European vacation spot has quietly grow to be a hotbed for critical biking tradition. Welcome to Girona, Spain!
Ask a professional bike owner the place they’ll practice and dwell within the offseason, and likelihood is you’ll hear “Girona, Spain,” a fair proportion.
The town, about 90 minutes from Barcelona, isn’t simply identified for its wonderful historic buildings and tourist-friendly ambiance. It has among the greatest bike owner facilities and excellent roads and trails for each driving fashion. Better of all, you received’t really feel such as you’re in a corny coaching camp setting.
In the event you’re searching for a spot the place wine is $1.50 per glass and cafe stops are a assured a part of any journey, goal for Girona. You received’t be disillusioned.
Girona, Spain: Biking Heaven
Planning Your Journey
Plan your journey for the offseason. Reserving in late fall can internet you round-trip tickets for beneath $300 for a February coaching camp. Skip resorts and search for Airbnbs, close to or in Outdated City should you can. By March, vacationers start to infiltrate town, and roads grow to be extra crowded as costs skyrocket. Skip it fully in the summertime should you don’t like crowded areas or sizzling days, however the offseason (round October by mid-March) is peak biking time.
Methods to get there: There’s an airport in Girona, however flying into Barcelona and taking a bus is sort of simple. Parking within the metropolis isn’t nice, so attempt to go sans automotive if attainable. The bus line doesn’t present up on Google Maps, so that you’ll should dig a bit to guide your ticket. However Sagales has a Barcelona Airport-Girona bus that’s really inexpensive and simple.
What to pack: Climate in Girona is usually delicate — count on temps across the 60s Fahrenheit in February — however can fluctuate. A current journey in February noticed temps swing from 35 to 85 levels F, so convey short-sleeve jerseys, jackets, and leg heaters. Go for a burlier tire should you’re bringing a street bike so you possibly can reap the benefits of gravel when it comes up.
BYOB(ike)? In the event you don’t thoughts flying with a motorbike, be at liberty to convey yours. However bike leases of all sorts abound within the metropolis at cheap costs. Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre is likely one of the best spots to attain a midprice rental, and the standard of service is stable.
The place to Journey Bike in Girona, Spain
For roadies: Climbs listed below are very almost limitless and accommodate an array of struggling. Simply outdoors of city, you’ll discover steep ascents like Rocacorba and sluggish, gradual climbs like Sant Hilari Sacalm. Getting out of Girona takes a couple of minutes, however when you do, the roads are good for pedaling and site visitors is usually respectful of bikes.
I rode for two weeks with a 15-person peloton, and just one driver honked their horn at us aggressively. And numerous others “Allez”-ed us up climbs. Els Angels, the basic climb simply outdoors of town, is a should. However you possibly can’t beat heading out to the coast to journey on the coastal “freeway” alongside the Mediterranean Sea. Benefit from the unbelievable climbs, descents, and views, however remember that the roads are sometimes very slick. Train warning on quick descents.
For MTBers: Head to Banyoles, just some miles from Girona. Miles and miles of path methods wind by the nation, some heading proper up (and down!) Rocacorba. In February, one of many first UCI races of the season takes place downtown and heads into the path community there. In order you roll round, don’t be shocked should you spot Anton Cooper session-ing a technical part.
The paths instantly outdoors of city, simply previous the cathedral, are stable singletrack regardless of being a literal stone’s throw from the Outdated City part of Girona and the college. You may stick with comparatively flat sections, however you’ll nonetheless climb a bit. Or you possibly can goal for trails that may convey you to the highest of Els Angels with out ever hitting the pavement. It’s good should you’re driving with roadies preferring to take the street up!
Professional tip: Anticipate a whole lot of loam — even path operating netted a shoe filled with dust.
For gravel grinders: Renting gravel-friendly bikes has by no means been simpler. Actually, the default rental at Bike Breaks Girona is now a disc-brake 28c-tire Cannondale that may rip up and down steep gravel at 50 psi. And there are a whole bunch of miles of stable gravel roads to discover minutes from city, plus tons of motorbike path in and across the metropolis.
Really, the bottom of Els Angels offers a must-ride for gravel seekers. And the gravel roads up are lovely! Rocacorba additionally has gravel alternate routes, although they’re admittedly a bit extra singletrack-style. Keep in mind to search for nice gravel loops on Strava — as a result of gravel grinding nonetheless isn’t as developed in Europe as it’s within the U.S.
For triathletes: Banyoles can be a hotbed for triathlete tradition because of an enormous lake that’s best for open-water swimming. Due to its proximity to Banyoles and nice swimming, Girona has grow to be well-liked with the swim-bike-run crowd as properly. And triathletes can usually be discovered hopping into group rides or leaping into the handfuls of operating races which can be run on the town year-round.
Coaching for a tri? Convey a motorbike that’s good for climbing, not simply TT-ing. You’ll thank your self later; there are comparatively few flat rides accessible within the space. Hit Banyoles Lake for a swim, then do a journey up the mountain and into Olot for lunch. It’s a whole lot of climbing — however properly price it.
Girona, Spain: What to Do Out of the Saddle
Play “spot the professionals”! Throughout a 2-week keep, you might run into Marianne Vos, Olympic gold medalist and 12-time world champion, crushing hill repeats on Rocacorba. Otherwise you would possibly see three-time world champion Wout Van Aert prepping for Classics season. Oh, and also you may need Trek-Segafredo’s Tayler Wiles blow previous you on a restoration journey, or spot Sam Gazes casually bunnyhopping curbs prepping for the primary mountain bike race of the season. To not name-drop or something.
Benefit from the biking neighborhood. La Fabrica, Espresso Mafia, Espresso + Greens, and Federal are all hotspot coffeeshops for cyclists. And all 4 sit proper within the coronary heart of Outdated City, nestled into bizarre little corners of cobblestones. Take my phrase for it: You may need to do a little bit of wandering round to stumble upon Federal or La Fabrica specifically!
Former World Tour racer Christian Myer and his spouse, Amber, personal Espresso Mafia and La Fabrica, the place Myer’s biking historical past is showcased on the partitions. Espresso + Greens is the most recent of the bunch and has grow to be a favourite spot for riders.
Don’t overlook the booze! Let’s be sincere, most of you studying this are additionally questioning the place the wine and beer record is. The excellent news is that whereas Girona is a vacationer mecca, it’s really fairly darn inexpensive. Most locations have home wines for beneath $1.50 per glass, or beers for beneath $three. And the meals is comparatively cheap, too. Plus, the extra miles you pedal, the cheaper the pastries get. And since bakeries pop up on each road, there’s much more motivation to maintain driving!