Saturday, May 23, 2015

Girona Temps de Flors 2015

Girona opened up its doors for the 60th edition of El Temps de Flors, or flower festival, this past week.

For one special week in May, there are displays all over town designed by groups of volunteers, different and imaginative each year.

La Torre Gironella usually has some of the most surprising exhibits

In the Jewish Quarter, or El Call, you can even go in a few patios of private homes

So nice to see so many people out enjoying our beautiful city!

Monday, April 06, 2015

New CANYON Bikes for 2015

Bikecat - Cycling Tours. New Canyon rental bikes in Girona from Bikecat on Vimeo.

The new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX bikes are here at the Bikecat shop!
They are ready to be rented when you come on a guided ride or one of our tours. Come and try the bikes that the pros use on the Movistar and Katusha teams.

The Ultimate CF SLX is one of the finest carbon road frames in the world. Tipping the scales at just 790 g, this frame is the lightest Canyon has ever produced and the bike is 6,45 kilograms all together. They didn’t just focus on cutting back on weight, the Ultimate CF SLX sets new standards with combining the best stiffness, supple comfort as well as a progressive and modern design.

Bike Specifications

  • Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0
  • Shimano Dura-Ace 11s complete group set.
  • Chainset 52/36 and 11-28 cassette.
  • Mavic Ksyrium SLR WTS Exalith 2
  • mavic Yksion Pro Tires
  • Fi’zi:k seat
  • All bikes come with spare tubes, levers, CO2 cartriges, Allen keys. 2 Water bottles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Michelin Stars Tour of Girona

This tour was short and very sweet. The original plan was for a week-long tour, sampling the michelin star restaurants on offer in the area. Though other obligations shortened the trip to three riding days, we tried to make them as spectacular as possible and at night, a different michelin star restaurant.

The first stage was to the peaceful Santa Pellaia or ¨Hincapie Climb¨. George Hincapie really liked this climb during his time in Girona. You can still see his name written on the road as you go up. At night, the delicious La Massana restaurant (1 Michelin *) was just a short walk away.

Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona

The second day, we went down to the village of Tossa and up the ¨roller coaster¨ along the coast - Costa Brava.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona 

To end this perfect day, Bo.TiC Restaurant came to us (1 Michelin *) and prepared an absolutely amazing dinner at the house.

Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona, The Michelin Stars Cycling Tour

Our last riding day had to involve a little bit of suffering, but in a good way, and up Mare de Deu del Mont they went. This has to be the hardest climb relatively close to Girona and at the top, a possibly moonlike landscape greets you with 360 degree views of the area way down below.
How else could we end the tour but with an evening at El Celler de Can Roca (3 Michelin *) currently the number 2 ranked restaurant in the world.

Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona
We hope the group can come back soon and experience all we had planned, but we really had a fabulous time with them! Moltes Gracies!
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Girona Cycling Tour

Spring has gone by so fast. We have been having a great year so far meeting new friends and sharing the rides we like best.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Riding with Christian Meier
This month we got to host a group from Toronto with four couples. They decided to make two groups for everyone to have the vacation they were looking for. The men, riding and getting to meet some pros that live here in Girona. It was a special treat to be able to ride with Christian Meier and Ryder Hesjedal a couple days, thank you so much for your time!

Bikecat Cycling Tours, Riding with Ryder Hesjedal

The ladies got to do a variety of riding, culture and wandering. Getting to know Catalonia.

Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona

They had a special visit at the Salvador Dalí museum and his house in Port Lligat, rode through little medieval villages and lingered over lunches.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona, Nonrider tours in Catalonia

We all met at the end of the day to enjoy good food and company.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cap de Creus

Just before everyone is off for Easter break, we got a chance to do the route to Cadaques and Cap de Creus we have planned for the Breakaway group. It was a beautiful almost summerlike day and there was none of the famous tramuntana wind.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona
The white-washed village of Cadaques is one of the most beautiful on the Costa Brava and holds a special place in the heart of all who visit. Walking in the little streets up to the church, tucking in little shops and seeing all of the local cats is a wonderful respite from the sun and tourists along the waterfront.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona, Cycling in Catalonia
Now, just a little more on the bike and we come to the tip of Cap de Creus, the easternmost point on the Iberian Peninsula. Here, where the Pyrenees meet the sea is a rugged, worn land with the contrasting deep blue of the sea. The perfect place to stop and contemplate this raw beauty before returning to Girona.
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona, Costa Brava, Catalonia
Bikecat Cycling Tours, Cycling in Girona, Cycling in Spain, Costa Brava, Catalonia
Made it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Casa Masó de Girona

Casa Masó - the white house on the Onyar River
Thanks to the Ajuntament de Girona, local tour companies got a chance to visit the Casa Masó. The house where Rafael Masó (1880-1935) was born on the Onyar river which he renovated in Noucentista style. He was from a prominent family and is probably the most important architect from Girona. His family founded the local newspaper, ¨El Diari de Girona¨, and Rafael´s works can be seen around the city and neighboring towns.
Rafael designed the furniture for his older brother´s office
The house has been preserved with original Noucentista tile floors, furnishings, lamps, stained glass and decorations, many designed by Rafael and his peers. While he studied in Barcelona as a young man he admired the works of Antoni Gaudi and was part of a group of artisits and writers who created an alternative to Modernism, Noucentisme (the high period for this movement was 1914-1923).

For me, it was a nice chance to see something new in town and can imagine bringing clients here for an important piece of Gironine history - especially for their Summer evening visits when they include locally brewed beer.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back to Priorat

2014! Bikecat has now been in business for nine years! With our business theories intact, incredible rides with local guides, good food and fun times. We are really enjoying every moment and looking forward to 2014 which looks like a great year! We can´t wait to welcome back old friends and meet new ones, discover new rides and share our love of riding with all of you.

Bikecat Cycling tours, Bikecat wine tour
This weekend, we were happy to be back in Priorat preparing the tour for the A2 Roadies in April. The contrast from Priorat to Sitges we hope will amaze them from the little tiny villages of Priorat with impossibly steep vineyards to the vast vineyards of the Penedes to the fiesta feeling on the coast.

We will go through four Denominacions d´Origin of wine, visit medieval monasteries of the Cisternian Order and even pass through Montblanc on St. Jordi day - the little city where the legend of St. Jordi (Saint George) says is where the knight killed the dragon in order to save the princess. 
Bikecat wine tour, Bikecat cycling tours
We reconnected with our friends and aquaintances in the area and we both found a feeling of coming back home to Priorat since we have been there so many times and love it so much! Checked out some tricky areas that we knew were under construction from the last time we were in the area and had to know if our routes will be influenced. Or the bakery in a tiny village which had changed locations but are still the same people making these amazingly yummy huge chocolate croissants - very important things to know before we bring cyclists!
Bikecat wine tour, Bikecat cycling tours

We look forward to sharing this tour with more of you and lead you to discover the fantastic riding, wines, olive oils, cuisine and culture in these very different areas of Catalonia.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Transpirinaica 2013

In September, we brought a wonderful group from Calgary on a journey across northern Spain, along the Pyrenees through Aragon, Navarra and ending in Basque Country in San Sebastian. We took our time staying two or three nights in each place and getting a feel for the local cuisine, culture and sights.

We passed through amazing scenery, came upon village festivals, weaved around sheep and cows, and felt the wonder of the high mountain passes on a queen stage making a loop through France.

At our first hotel in Boltaña, we were lucky enough to coincide with three pro teams staying there for La Vuelta Espana. At dinner that night we anxiously awaited the Astana, Saxo Bank and Sky teams and got to see how high the riders pile their plates with food!
The next day, we saw a stage of la Vuelta finish in Formigal after hopping on the ski lifts up to the top of the mountain.
 Bikecat Cycling Tours

I believe the heart of our visit came at our three night stay in the beautiful rural hotel, El Caserio de Fatas, near Jaca with our hosts Raul and Ruth. They made us feel at home, let us do our laundry, and provided us with quiet respite after some tough days on the bike. They even had a masseuse come to quell some pains at the end of the day. Raul accompanied us on a few stages here as it is his home and he knows it best, he also led the group out for a night of tapas in Jaca. Thank you so much Raul and Ruth!

Bikecat Cycling Tours

We then had a night in misty Roncesvalles, the popular starting village for the Camino de Santiago in Spain. We dined on a simple Pilgrims menu, and it was just the right thing before a good night´s sleep.

Now worn and weathered cyclists gathered for our last hotel change of 133km from the region of Navarra to the Basque Country and the fabulous coastal city of San Sebastian. Time for some celebration!

 Bikecat Cycling Tours
After the trip, during our drive back to Girona, I thought about how vast an area we covered and how it would be so nice to just keep on going...that maybe this could be life...well, it was nice to think about for a while. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Saveurs de France

Bikecat cycling tours, cycling in Girona, Transpyrenees cycling tour

Getting away for a couple days just over an hour away in France, hearing a different language and feeling the culture of the little towns near the Pyrenees is the perfect escape. Céret is a beautiful village famous for cherries and they are good! The French do such a wonderful job preserving the antique and keeping everything so picturesque.

We also researched a new cycling loop that goes over the border from Spain that feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. Roads that were built over mountain paths that brought safety to those fleeing the Civil War in Spain and helped fill the pockets of smugglers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting Ready for the new Bikecat Trans-Pyrenees tour

Last year, we organized the Spanish Trans-Pyrenees trip for a group from the US going from the Eastern Pyrenees all the way to the Atlantic in the Basque Country. As we were preparing the trip, we discovered so many nice roads and beautiful villages along the way that we started to imagine a similar trip, but with time in each place to get to know it a little better. The new tour will cover part of the Pyrenees region but with more nights in each place, no need to pack every night, leaving us more time to enjoy and relax. Here are some pictures from our trip last week to finish the preparation for this year´s Trans-Pyrenees tour with Rob's group from Calgary.

Here is Jaume getting ready for work in the morning:
Bikecat cycling tours

Looking for lunch stops that offer more than a ham and cheese sandwich
Spanish Cuisine, Pyrenees Cycling Tours
That was one mighty piece of bacon in my salad Jaume happily ate.

Finding that perfect balance between challenging and fun!
Trans-Pyrenees Cycling tour, Bikecat cycling tours
Have to be in good enough shape to keep up with everyone:)

Bikecat cycling tours

And most importantly, finding those little roads that keep you coming back for more!
Bikecat Cycling tours, Trans-Pyrenees cycling tour

We hope we can continue offering Bikecat cycling tours for many years to come!

Oops! Depending on who you meet on the road, sometimes it is more challenging than others...i can´t help it.