Read our interview with Swami’s Guru, Lorraine Daly (aka “LoLo”) to learn more about this upcoming trip of a lifetime!
Swami’s: Hi Lorraine, you’re travelling to Spain this fall with Andiamo Adventours, the same company you traveled with to France last year. What can you tell us about the trip?
LoLo: Last year, we conquered some of the iconic climbs of the Tour de France, and this year we are heading to Girona and Mallorca, two of the most popular training destinations for pros and amateurs alike. Unlike last year and other tours I’ve done, we will not be transferring hotels every other day, and therefore, will have lots of opportunity to see the local sights. In Girona, our hotel is near the city center, allowing us to walk everywhere after we return from the day’s ride. In Mallorca, we will stay in a seaside resort in Alcudia, on the northern coast.
Swami’s: When is the trip and what does it entail?
LoLo: The tour is from Sep 23 through Oct 6, 2018. It is a great time to visit Spain since it is well past the normal tourist season. The tour guide Andiamo will meet us Saturday morning at the Barcelona airport and will transfer us to our hotel in Girona. Over the next 6 days, tackle some truly impressive terrain. We base out of Girona for the first part of the trip, and will ride many of the famous and wonderful roads in the Girona area. There will be the Rocacorba, site of David Millar and Michael Barry’s Velo Club Rocacorba, the summit of Sant Hilari, the descent from the mountaintop village of Sant Grau to the waters of the Mediterranean, and the king of the mountains of Catalonia, the Turó de l’Home.
We then transfer to Barcelona and have the option to see either the city sights or ride up to the ancient monastery on Montserrat.
After Girona we will ride on the island of Mallorca. The riding onthe island is spectacular. We will climb the Coll de sa Batalla, topped by a 13th century sanctuary, and the Category 1 Sa Calobra, the most spectacular road on the island. We’ll also tour the Tramuntana mountains, taking in the beautiful woodlands towering above the sea. Our last night will feature a spectacular dinner.
Swami’s: How do I get more information?
LoLo: The tour is 14 days/13 nights – up to 13 days to ride. 900 available miles with 75,000 feet elevation gain, with options to modify along the way. 4-star accommodations, all breakfasts, 8 dinners, 10 on-ride picnic lunches, 2 fully stocked sag vans, 3 multilingual guides (at least 1 ride guide at all times), route slips, and airport transfers.
Because this is a private, custom tour, anyone wishing to go should contact me directly. They can PM me on Facebook, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swami’s: Do you have any final tips or words of advice to share with first timers who have never done a trip like this before?
LoLo: If you love to ride your bike, you definitely want to do a trip like this! In Europe, cycling is much more respected than in the U.S. Riders will find drivers accommodating and aware, and the roads are magnificent! The mileage and climbing for this trip are challenging, but with all day to complete a route, most high intermediate to advanced riders will do fine. Absolutely, you must train, but for those days when a shorter route is desired, there is plenty of van support.
If you choose to do a cycling tour, absolutely, positively purchase travel insurance. I’m not worried about my tour operator going out of business. I’m worried about getting injured. If injured before the trip, you can get your costs reimbursed. If you’re injured while on tour, you want a policy that will pay for medical evacuation and transport home, as well as any medical expenses incurred while abroad.
Swami’s: Should you bring your own bike?
LoLo: Travelling with a bike has gotten more expensive and with TSA checks, it is not hassle free. If you choose to fly with your bike (recommended), make sure you have a sturdy case and take extra precautions when packing it, like adding pipe insulation around the tubes and extra bubble wrap on your derailleur. The cost for checking a bike as luggage varies widely from one airline to the next. To complicate matters, most airlines offer different baggage allowances with each fare class. Last year, I opted for Economy Plus on Air Canada for an additional $175. In addition to the extra legroom and snacks, the upgrade gave me one extra checked bag ($100 savings). This made my bike fee only $50 instead of $150, so always check the fine print.
Swami’s: What about shipping your bike?
LoLo: Generally, I don’t recommend shipping. First, where would you ship it? Second, if you have only one bike, what do you ride until your trip departure? And third, what if your bike doesn’t arrive or arrives damaged? Granted, it could get damaged in baggage, but this is much less likely. In the 8 times I’ve flown with my bike as baggage, it has never been damaged. All that said, most tour companies will now arrange for rental of a high-end road bike. You bring your saddle and pedals. If you are fairly easy to fit, this is an excellent solution to eliminate the airport, packing, and unpacking hassles.
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