So you may know that the weekend past was de Ronde. This cycling period of Flanders then Roubaix for me surpasses anything Christmas or birthdays can throw at me.

I am not a racer, but some bike races are special and it’s a way to generate an idea and a route for some cycling exploration; an experience, a day out on the bike.

So I decided to let the Flanders fever help me create a new exploration from my door here in Barcelona. I put together a route with de Ronde in mind which allowed for a route I would likely never have ridden in it’s entirety. And I discovered a couple of new sections by virtue of needing to link up bits I knew I wanted in there.

The idea was basically to seek out as many short, sharp, brutally steep climbs as possible from home. Double figures, obligatory, bad surface preferred, sketchy descents a bonus. Find as many narrow, twisty, laneways as I could; ones that encourage you to ride far too fast for the distance the ride ahead holds. A few industrial link ups to make it feel right and to highlight the beauty of the genuinely pretty bits, of which there were many. Those industrial bits on there own have a certain allure on a Sunday morning dawn start; a desolate peacefulness… Chuck in some cobbles, a bit of dirt (due to only 4 or 5 stretches of cobbles it seemed ok to add some technical difficulty of dirt to compensate. And add to the fun).

5 hours of riding fun – plus half an hour or so of cafe pit stop – exhausted and back home, lunch had to be frites. A couple of fried eggs perhaps not very Flemish, but it’s all about taking the bits I love – the passion and culture of Flanders – and making it work in the best way to suit my needs; a great route with two lovers of Flanders – one being a real Flandrien – and some frites with the missus after.

That’s our idea here at Sommet too. Our trips – off the peg ones or the custom fully supported and the custom Sommet Independent trips . We are driven by cycling, riding and the culture that yields. For me, riding Flanders would be almost as intriguing in June as now. The race , de Ronde, is epic and I love it, but also it’s such a heartland it makes cycling there a real calling. In a similar way that pure environmental beauty draws us cyclists to other areas. To take people to wherever there callings are, or to build a trip for you and let you explore yourself from our guidance, is what we built Sommet for. For you, but for us to make your dreams and aspirations a reality.

On the weekend, I took one of my dreams and let it guide me to create a special route from my doorstep. Whatever your dreams on a bike, let us build it for you.


Thanks to Sommet Explorer, Sommetier and fellow pseudo Flandrien Fred and real Flandrien, Steven, for joining me on this local Sommet Explore. A great day as always.