Having spent a bit of time on this website it was perfect timing that a quick weekend break over in Lucca with the good lady coincided with completing it’s launch. It also just so happened to be the same weekend as one of the nicest cycle races on the calendar – the very young Strade Bianche, down the road in Siena. In only in it’s 10th edition, it has already staked a claim to be a genuine classic. Perhaps a future Monument…? It’s certainly one that the big classics riders want to win. Perhaps, none more so than two time winner (at the start) Fabian Cancellara in his last year on the bike as a Pro.

Lucca itself was beautiful and is one of the places we’ve got custom trips being planned for this year. For good reason, it’s a bit like our home trip of Girona. Green, quiet peaceful roads, always undulating and testing. Stunning scenery. The cuisine variety, I reckon, is greater in Girona, but who am I to judge… The good lady was sold straight away and is hankering to live there. Girona, Lucca, tough choices.
For Siena, we took a lazy 90 minute Chianti drive – coffee interrupted in a beautiful village recommended by a friend of a friend who had worked there years ago; well worth it. Even in the grey drizzle and wind (unlike our sunny home!) the drive was beautiful. Off the beaten track, only Italian words in the air, we had escaped completely. Inside Siena’s impressive walls this stunning, incredible city the ambiance was perfect. Just out of tourist season, a little quieter than normal, but with the simmering excitement of the race. Another coffee, focaccia then some massively chocolate laden desert and there was plenty of time (and sugar) to wander over to check out the finish half kilometre. That famous wall of a climb into the city’s even more famous Piazza del Campo.

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It isn’t a circus like, say, the Tour de France. The small paved streets were still open to wander on the race route itself so we could meander down the hill then crawl back up it at will for a while. The trick, to a degree, is knowing where and how to to get to the city in the first place. After the hill crawling, we picked a spot on said hill, 100 metres or so from the final turn and then waited and soaked up the building crowd and hubbub.
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If I am not riding my bike, I quite like chasing some races, or popping along the route or to the finish, but it’s so much better if I can immerse myself a little in the place. Chatting with the locals next to you, finding out what is going on in the race coming, slightly confused if you don’t have the lingo perfectly tuned in. Taking photos for people, waving to folk watching from their apartment windows and generally having a good old time. We spotted the Grubers and had a quiet word with them before they got into race-photography mode for the finish. It’s like a quiet street party or reunion which happens to have a bike race.
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Then it arrived. Etixx and Brambilla leading the way. A big Swiss Trek chasing down. Etixx and Štybar on his wheel. I hoped Brambilla would hold on – we weren’t aware of all the efforts he had put in. The ignorance was bliss. Would Fabs have a fairy tale last Strade Bianche and make it 3 titles. Or would Stybie retain the crown.
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No idea at the time. You rarely do know on the street. After about a third of the peloton had fought up the wall our new Italian mates alongside us got news of the result. Chapeau Spartacus. A sign for the rest of the Classics season. Look out everyone else, the kid plans on going out in style. And if there was a place to make that statement it is in Italy. They do style quite well.
(And chocolate fancies and often, but don’t be fooled, not always, coffee!).
Words & images by our Ian (themusette.cc)

If proof was needed that we support and are supported by the areas where we take our journeys then this is a good start. We are proud to announce that at the start of this year La Fabrica Coffee Works launched their very own cycle race team. La Fabrica Race Team.

La Fabrica is part of our Girona trip as it will fuel us with caffeine and goodies each day. It is run by Christian Meier, of Orica Greenedge, and his wife Amber and I have been drinking coffee their since the very first day having been their photographer from the start. That relationship has developed and I now call Christian and Amber friends and I have been invited to extend the photographic connection to be the photographer for the Race Team and we have been able to become co-sponsors of the team – along with some very prestigious local and international brands.

Not only is it pretty cool to see our name alongside other fancy names and not only is it great to be helping out a local bunch of really talented young riders, but we hope it will garner some interesting trip options. We have our standard Girona trips – which are far from standard, they are special in their own right. But then we are hoping to add in some Girona options to ride with the guys on the team on a couple of days of a long weekend Escape. These guys are good riders, I mean, really quite strong riders. So this would be a trip to push yourselves hard. And it will prove that Girona has more than enough hurt potential in her locker for anyone out there who thinks they need massive mountain ranges for epic challenges. Anyway, one for the back burner, let us know if you fancy some hurt though.

That said, these guys – along with Christian – are super nice kids. They just love riding bikes. So while they might be able to hurt us mere mortals, they get the ethos of riding with mates. It’s high time I got back an hour up the Autopista and rode with them and took a few shots for them and to share here. Always a pleasure.

Stay tuned for regular updates of the Team and also for opportunities for those extras on a Girona trip in 2016.

We have made it. We have made it to the WWW. The start of a new year and the start of a new adventure for us and here is our window to the world

We are Sommet Cycling and we have been planning this for some time. The concept is simple really; we want to give you the best cycling experiences possible by taken you riding in amazing places that we really know. And we mean riding in places not just through and past them. Fully supported where you only have to turn up and ride and enjoy, or a cycling concierge or consultancy service to leave you more independent, you choose. We are at your service!

We started putting the pieces together for Sommet some time ago and towards the end of last year we got ourselves out into that world of social media (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook). All the while we have be tweaking our trips, adding new knowledge (it’s hell having to ride new fantastic routes with mates in fabulous places) testing coffees and cakes along the way.

But finally, once we put the cakes and the coffee down, we got around to building our fabulous website. We reckon it will get some dreams simmering and hopefully inspire some of you to come for a ride with us somewhere in the world.

We have built some off the peg trips in four key cycling heartlands. Girona, the Alps, Pyrenees and Provence. One of us lives in Catalonia so Girona is our local spot, splitting home time between there and Barcelona. Both of us feel like we have lived in the other three spots over the last few years having spent vast amounts of time there.

And then we have our Custom Cycling Trips where you choose everything; from where and when to the level of support.

We are itching to get on the road with some of you in these places and also in many other places as you can let your imagination go wild and pick a place and we will build a trip. We just want to ride with you. We’ve already put a Piemonte trip together and have a couple of other special handmade customs on the canvas.

And what would riding be without kit and goodies? Along with creating those journeys, we have designed a fantastic kit, for if we know one thing it’s not how fast you go but how good you look in a café. And our kit and accessories will look mighty fine as quite a few can already attest to as we have had to re-order it sold out so quickly! (It will make you look faster too. #fact*)

So, please go and have a roam around Sommet.cc We’re excited to finally be out there in the WWW for you to check us out. Drop us a line about anything and hopefully we will see some of you in the real world on a journey one day soon.


*this may or may not be exactly accurate.   (doff of the cap to Rocket Espresso – makers of the best coffee machines going – as I tweaked their tag line here!)