I love stuff. Cool stuff, functional stuff, shiny stuff and nerdy left field stuff but mainly bike related stuff.
While I love stuff, every bit of it is carefully considered. I don’t want the same stuff that everyone else has, I don’t want to fit in. Every purchase or partnership is painstakingly researched using all available channels, the web, reviews and social media. What I desire and what I find cool the next person may not, but I’m happy knowing that I didn’t follow the herd and I did my homework.
Desire and lust plays a massive part in my purchases, but function is, I hate to say it, more important. [joke] Often I’ll point out I get paid to ride my bike, that makes me a professional cyclists doesn’t it? [/joke] 20 to 30 hours a week makes you a pretty good guinea pig and will soon show and faults or flaws in a product. The way my kit fits, it’s durability and ability to keep me comfortable in sometimes extreme conditions is critical. GPS units that actually work and don’t die mid ride, easy to use as I’m a simple man and scared of tech; a technotard apparently. Shoes that fit, whether I’m in a UK winter or 40 degree Catalan heat and the same goes for helmets, glasses and so on. Groupsets and wheels that I can get spares for and easily repair all over Europe.
My bikes, this is where the lust takes over from the function…ish. Custom, hand made but subtle. Those that know, really know. Tailored for me and my needs, my riding style and weight. My riding is varied, a crit bike’s no good for days on end in the mountains but sometimes I want to go out and tear it up with mates. I feel with Independent Fabrications attention to detail and frame building skills we achieved the right balance and the paint team nailed the finish.
I know the names of the people who built my bike, the man who makes my kit, Luigi at Q36.5, the team behind my GPS at Wahoo Fitness, Steve and Marc from Veloforte and now Johannes the owner of Evers Cycling Shoes have all been added to my list of suppliers, supporters and most importantly, friends. I bought into these brands because of the people behind them and the quality of what they produce. Tried, tested and built on experience, passion and attention to detail. They bought into us at Sommet because we share those same values and I hope our guests, clients and friends feel the same about Sommet and what we do for them.
I am an unashamed magpie and I do love shiny stuff, but there is way more to it than that.
Images courtesy of Ian Walton, Bobby Whitaker and me
The big move Girona.
The draw was too strong. After three years of being a visitor and creating trips for guests and friends here in Girona I decided the time was right to make Girona home.
Co- Founder, Sommetier, friend and chief snapper Ian Walton along with Amber and Christian Meier have been an incredible help and motivation in me making the leap.
I have always felt like Girona is a very special place, not just the cycling and all the cliché culture, food etc but more importantly the atmosphere and friendships I’ve made here, it feels like I have roots already.
There is the group of locals, like Ramon, Jordi, Miqui and Nancy and Anna from The Service Course. Luke, Federico, Sara from Espresso Mafia. Levi, Patty, Jordi, Lisa and Nicky from La Fabrica. All have been a part in helping make the move, so easy, even though they probably aren’t aware. And of course Mike, Michelle and Francis at La Bruguera who’ve hosted me as I have packed my life into a car and driven to my new home.
Then there’s the group of friends who I can always rely on for coffee and rides, Tristan and Peter for when I need a good kicking and many more.
Thank you all.
Obviously the cycling is special. Every day I’m out looking for and exploring new roads, new experiences and journeys. Back in the UK I found it hard to work and ride for a decent amount time on the bike. Here I’ve found myself out riding at 19:00 onwards and putting in 70 to 100 km’s, going from struggling to fit in 10 hours to consistently riding 20 – 30 a week. My love of cycling, my fitness are at what feels like an all time high.
Now I’m guiding most days in this paradise. It appears that I’ve made the right move. Join me on the road as your local Girona cycling guide to find out why we love this place I now call home.
Our Sommet Cycling 2017 kit is now available to pre-order.
We took the plunge on Nick’s design for the 2017 kit recently. We popped aside the numbers needed for the trips and then went about shooting a few to try and flog some to the eager punters out there…yourselves (email Nick to get on the pre-order for the next lot…).
Best laid plans, the kit just about sold out before we even shot the damn stuff. Word of mouth got it flying out but we still got out and shot some stuff, although it was more an abridged shoot before a ride or hijacking a ride.
We had dreamy Ramon fondling Christian’s Speedvagen (while he awaits his own hand built, but titanium, dream bike to arrive – this month!!) and playing air wheel on his very own Enve’s for said build. And we had the Swedish masseuse, Therese, riding up and down Rocacorba in preparation for some daft Everesting challenge. I was happy to be in the car shooting on that one, and hanging off the gliding platform and giving the ‘models’ heart attacks. All part of the job.
Chapeau is a UK clothing brand with centred around quality and inclusivity. Where better to show it off then our favourite town Girona.
So we gave them all they needed…locations, models, bikes, accommodation, friendships and lashings of what makes Girona great. Happy to share our Catalan home and knowledge. They brought their kit, themselves and photographer, Jon Baines (IG:@designdefined).
Here are a few shots from the weekend with Conductor and Chapeau in Girona. Have a look at their sites to see more from the shoot. And to see more of Girona, we are back with tours in May and beyond. Drop us a line for more information.
Foot note about Chapeau, from Chapeau.
“Chapeau’s core values are simple.
‘Chapeau’ translates as ‘hat’ but it means far more. Used to indicate respect for a fellow cyclist’s efforts, achievement or endeavour Chapeau! is a spoken doffing of the cap.
Respect and encouragement are qualities we admire in cyclists. We believe in always greeting a fellow cyclist, whether with a nod, a wave or a cheery hello. The spirit of inclusivity and fellowship makes cycling an individual sport that we’re proud to be involved in.
To all fellow cyclists who obsess over their gear, who cajole themselves to head out early, who drink cappuccino after 12, who covet other bikes but remain staunchly protective of their own — Chapeau!
We aim to create cycling apparel with modernity, detail and personality. Made well, fit for purpose and great looking.
We want every cyclist to enjoy every ride. We want to inspire the belief that everyone can have a great time on a bike.
We have a point of view but we’re not judgemental. There’s no codswallop, you’ll never have to decipher the meaning in what we say.”
All image rights Conductor / Jon Baines except where stated.