Cycling in Indonesia: Volcanoes for breakfast, noodles for lunch.

Posted on May 09, 2019 by Vincent Van Parys | 0 comments

Indonesia probably isn’t the place you would imagine for your next bikepacking trip. Neither was mine, but since we were going there anyway, I thought it would be a nice addition to the list of countries I’ve cycled in.

 

If you love climbing, don’t mind the scorching heat and humidity, and are fond banana pancakes for breakfast, this might be your next destination for a cycling holiday. But be aware, the climbing isn’t something like you’ve seen in the French Alps or the Dolomites; it’s different. Some climbs take you gradually up a volcano for almost 40km, others are “just” 8km short but with average gradients of 12% and parts between 22% and 24% they will make you want to quit. Especially the sun and the heat can add an extra dimension to it, so I tried leaving very early in the morning (like 6am) when the heat is still bearable, and traffic is calmer. Bali, the go-to destination for most of those Instagram photos of a swinging-chair picture on a beach – can be extremely busy even during off-season.

 

The south of the island is definitely crowded, even in off-season, but when you venture further to the North of the Island (Lovina, Permuteran, …) things get more quiet. After a short 4-day bikepacking trip on the island, I was even struggling with a sore throat from the exhausts of the motorcycles in the highly-populated South, so the North-coast and East-coast is where you want to be on a bike. On the long stretch of road between Lovina and Amed, you won’t find many tourists and you’ll have most of the road to yourself. The coastline from Amed to Candidasa is even less crowded since the road is winding up and down like a roller-coaster for a few hours on the bike until you reach Padangbai, the harbor to go to the Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan used to be a hidden gem in Indonesia but from what we’ve heard, it unfortunately became like Disneyland for the Instagram generation.

 

From Padangbai to Sidemen, you can follow the normal road via Gianjar which winds up gradually to the village between the rice fields, or you can adventure on the back road. The back road starts half-way between Padangbai and Candidasa and is probably one of the steepest climbs I’ve discovered so far. The temperature of 32° celcius, the sun, and the avocado milkshake I had in Padangbai didn’t help either. Imagine a badly-paved road of 3m wide going up from sea level to 1000m in an 8km stretch. I had to remind myself: “you like climbing, right?” the whole length up the climb. When reaching the top, I was exhausted, and began a 20km descent to a hotel in Sideman.

 

Other parts of Bali can also be nice for cycling, for example around Sanur or the Ubud-region, but again, try to avoid traffic by riding early in the morning. You won’t see many locals riding their roadbikes on the island, but if you spot them early in the morning, they can help you out with hidden roads and nice views to discover.

Bagus Bali

- Vince - 

 

Peloton de Paris-Roubaix Recon Ride

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Joe Sullivan | 0 comments

With our event, Peloton de Paris Roubaix, only a month away, Vince and I went out to recon some of the highlights to the event. He calls them the "hidden gems": climbs (some cobbled) and pieces of road that the big famous races never use, probably because they aren't technically in Flanders. 


Passing through Ronse is the sign of crossing the border between Flemish speaking Belgium and venturing into French-speaking Walloon region. As usual, the further South we would go, the more rolling the terrain; both with false-flat sections that suck the speed out of your legs and rolling hills where Vince would subtly show dominance going up, and I'd make sure we had speed going down. 

One of these hidden gems is Mont Saint Laurent. We turned right onto the start of the climb and Vince said "take it easy, this one is longer than you think." As we begin the first curve in the road to the left, the grade increases and the trees reveal a monster; a steep, wide cobbled climb. 

The top begins to curve back right, and I had mistaken it for the top. Coming around the trees reveals MORE cobbles and more climbing. The cobbles end, and the road switches back to concrete slabs as the climb begins to level off and drop into a descent.

Overall, 1100m in length, 7% grade... I'm shocked as to why races neglect to come here. It felt like Oude Kwaremont, only harder. The cobbles are in pretty poor shape in some spots, the climb drags on forever.

We continued our ride, and began to head West toward the famous cobbles of Roubaix. Although our day was foggy and gray, the roads were quiet, pretty well-paved, and some of the scenery that was still visible was breathtaking. 

After a stop in Tournai for lunch, I began to giggle with excitement as Vince grumbled about how he "doesn't like cobbles." We were going to tackle my favorite road in the entire world: Carrefour de l'Arbre. 

Growing up in the US, we would only get a few races a year on television, usually including Tour of California, Le Tour de France, and Paris-Roubaix. For quite a few years I'd wake up early in the morning to catch the most important 100km, always aiming to wake up before the race reached the Trouée d'Arenberg (my second favorite road ever). Each year I'd watch heroes make bold attacks on every sector, but this sector in particular created a launchpad for some of the greatest attacks, with 2100 grueling meters, curves in the road, and the famous corner toward the end that gives me goosebumps every time I ride it. 

At full gas, the cobbles hurt. As you slow down, they hurt more. My 30mm tire can fit in the gaps between these old cobbles, and so as you slow down you tend to fall into these holes rather than bounce off the top of each individual stone. Watching the race on Sunday, I heard the commentator joke that this road's construction was "stones dropped from 200m in the air." The cobbles feel so randomly placed, he might be right.

We continued to follow the route into Roubaix, and finished our day at the famous velodrome. Again a place where I get goosebumps, we take the right hand turn onto the track that I've watched legends begin to celebrate as the bell rings for a final victory lap, or prepare to sprint past their opponents in the closing meters. Vince and I couldn't help but recreate some of those scenes as riders go from high on the velodrome banking to dropping into a sprint for the win. We ended up sprinting at each other quite a few times before calling it a day. 

We had a great adventure to places I've never even knew existed. On the way home that night I was already picturing going back to Mont Saint Laurent and giving it a shot at full throttle, now knowing the trickery that hidden length can play. You, too, can discover these "hidden gems" for yourself at our Peloton de Paris Roubaix bike packing event this year, May 18th and 19th. I can tell you, you will NOT want to miss this. For more info and registration, click here!

De Ronde Aftermath

Posted on April 09, 2019 by Joe Sullivan | 1 comment

In the weeks leading up to De Ronde van Vlaanderen, there is all sorts of hype on every channel. Cycling news pages are covering every spring race in Belgium, trying to separate the favorites from the rest of the peloton. Brands are watching closely as their teams establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with come that magical Sunday. Riders are in a whirlwind of races, sometimes multiple times per week, from the end of February to mid-April.

But what happens after De Ronde? Within 24 hours of the winner crossing the finish in Oudenaarde, those who lost are asked about their "excuse," everyone watches the highlights, there's a quick talk about what could have been, and then the focus quickly shifts to Paris-Roubaix that will come just 7 days later. We wondered what happened while all the attention was drawn away, so we took a ride Monday morning to find out what happens when the eyes aren't looking. 

Vince took me to his home in East Flanders to watch the race, and the next morning at 9am we were suited and booted to go discover what happens after De Ronde. 

First stop: Oudenaarde. Through the foggy, chilly morning, we rode 20km to Oudenaarde, and the road became familiar.

Vince looked over and said "welcome to the finish of De Ronde." We got closer to see the VIP viewing building, the finish stage, and countless trucks to collect the parts as the big temporary structures get disassembled until next year. 

It seemed empty. All the signage along the barriers was gone, the big finish banner disappeared, and even the finish line was already painted over black for traffic to resume. 

In the square of Oudenaarde, the only sign of a bike race having passed through was the lingering smell of beer from the party the day before; all of the garbage had been cleaned up and life seemed to be back to normal. I was stunned: my town of Leuven looks worse at 9:30 after an average weeknight of student parties. 

Next stop: Koppenberg. One of the most evil, leg-breaking climbs of the race, the Koppenberg loomed behind the fog; a beastly-large shadow that we knew we'd have to climb shortly. The Koppenberg is STEEP and from the bottom you can't see the top through the trees. I've watched many pros have to walk up after being caught behind a crash or a slow-moving rider.

We stopped at the base to collect ourselves, and then we were off for some hurt. I took the start way too hard, and by the top I was struggling to keep the pedals moving and the bike rolling forward. 

Again, for having a race here the day before, the only remaining signs of anything special here the day before were the metal fences along the route, and a few neatly-tied black bags of trash that had been cleaned up and was now waiting on the side of the road for the collection crew. 

 

Third stop: Paterberg. Another climb known famously for making and breaking some of the world's best cyclists, the Paterberg makes up in steepness what it lacks in length. The Paterberg is a short climb and relatively new in the 100+ year history of De Ronde. In 1984, a farmer, jealous of his friend who lived on the Koppenberg, paved one of his farm roads with cobbles just so the race would come by the house. It is now one of the critical climbs of the race, where a lone leader maintaining his gap over the top usually means victory as he descends into Oudenaarde. Again at the top I took a look around. Had it not been for a few more fences and a metal tower for the TV camera, it would seem like any other Monday. 

 

Final stop: Oude Kwaremont. As we approach it, I can see the big white tents of the VIP viewing areas. The inverse of the Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont is less steep, but long. The grade starts on a paved road, evolves into a steeper cobbled climb, then by the top becomes "false-flat" gradient while still dealing with the rattle of Flemish cobbles. Despite it's name, it is actually a climb only used from 1974 onward, after the parallel climb, known as Kwaremont, was paved over for regular road traffic. It is easily one of my favorite climbs of De Ronde; where the gradient is long, but rhythmic. The fanfare is just amazing as the riders will pass the climb multiple times throughout the race, and the length usually helps create the selection, with its length creating massive gaps between groups of riders over the top.

Here we began to see some sign of a party. The sides of the road were covered in litter from beer cups to little Flemish flags. The local scouts group of kids were out with bags and sticks, cleaning up litter from the side of the road, and the area around.

Each VIP booth (of which there are multiple on Kwaremont) was deserted, but still had yet to be taken down. Most of the climb still had the metal fencing along the sides, and in the little village halfway up, a whole fleet of trucks and vans was at the ready to begin disassembly. 

After our morning in Flanders, it became obvious as to why the focus shifts away so quickly. We saw a few riders doing the course the day after, and the cleanup crews were busy, but nothing special was left. Life would return to normal the rest of the year... But as Vince said that day: "Only 364 days left till De Ronde!"

Peloton de Paris turns 5!

Posted on April 09, 2019 by Wendy Janssens | 0 comments

5 years ago, we opened the doors of Peloton de Paris with the goal of bringing together cyclists and creating the hangout spot for cyclists in Belgium. Back then; we were the first cycling café in Belgium, combining both bike repairs and coffee.

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Bikepacking essentials: The Basics

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Vincent Van Parys | 0 comments

We won the award for 'Best Concept Store'!

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Wendy Janssens | 0 comments

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MEN

MEN SHORT SLEEVE JERSEY - MEN SHORT SLEEVE / LONG SLEEVE STORM JERSEY - MEN ALL WEATHER JACKET - MEN LONG SLEEVE BASE LAYER - RAIN JACKET

Measure the widest part of your chest
Measure the widest part of your hips
If your hips are wider than your chest, please follow the measurements of your hips
Always keep the measuring tape horizontal

  1 - XS 2 - S  3 - M 4 - L  5 - XL  6-XXL
CHEST (cm) 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106 106-112 112-119
WAIST (cm) 72-78 78-84 78-84 84-90 90-96 102-109
HIP (cm) 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106 106-112 112-119
 

BIB SHORTS MEN

  1 - XS 2 - S  3 - M  4 - L 5 - XL 6-XXL
HIP WIDTH MEASURED ON THE HIP BONE (LOCATION WHERE YOU PUT A BELT -cm) 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106 106-112 112-119
 

GILET MEN

Measure the widest part of your chest
Measure the widest part of your hips
If your hips are wider than your chest, please follow the measurements of your hips
Always keep the measuring tape horizontal

  1 - XS 2 - S 3 - M 4 - L 5 - XL
CHEST (cm) 76-82 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106
WAIST (cm) 69-75 75-81 81-87 87-93 93-98
HIP (cm) 76-82 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106
 

ARM WARMERS MEN

Be sure to measure at your biceps with your arms in cycling position

  S M L XL
BICEPS (in cm) 28-30 30-32 32-34 34-36

 

LEG WARMERS MEN

Be sure to measure 10 cm above your knee

  S M L XL
THIGH (in cm) 40-43 43-46 46-49 49-52

 

T-SHIRTS MEN

 

Size Chart Shirts Peloton de Paris

SWEATER MEN

WOMEN

WOMEN SHORT SLEEVE JERSEY - WOMEN SHORT SLEEVE / LONG SLEEVE STORM JERSEY - WOMEN ALL WEATHER JACKET - WOMEN LONG SLEEVE BASE LAYER

Measure the widest part of your chest
Measure the widest part of your hips
If your hips are wider than your chest, please follow the measurements of your hips
Always keep the measuring tape horizontal

  1 - XS 2 - S  3 - M 4 - L  5 - XL 
CHEST (cm) 73-79 79-85 85-91 91-97 97-103
WAIST (cm) 63-69 69-75 75-79 80-84 85-91
HIP (cm) 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106 106-112
 

BIB SHORTS WOMEN

  1 - XS 2 - S  3 - M  4 - L 5 - XL
HIP WIDTH MEASURED ON THE HIP BONE (LOCATION WHERE YOU PUT A BELT - cm) 76-82 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106
 

GILET WOMEN

Measure the widest part of your chest
Measure the widest part of your hips
If your hips are wider than your chest, please follow the measurements of your hips
Always keep the measuring tape horizontal

  1 - XS 2 - S 3 - M 4 - L 5 - XL
CHEST (cm) 76-82 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106
WAIST (cm) 69-75 75-81 81-87 87-93 93-98
HIP (cm) 76-82 82-88 88-94 94-100 100-106
 

ARM WARMERS WOMEN

Be sure to measure at your biceps with your arms in cycling position

  S M L XL
BICEPS (in cm) 28-30 30-32 32-34 34-36

 

LEG WARMERS WOMEN

Be sure to measure 10 cm above your knee

  S M L XL
THIGH (in cm) 40-43 43-46 46-49 49-52 

 

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SHORT SLEEVE SWEATER WOMEN

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