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Downhill on a road bike

Exploring Austria

Bikepacking in Denmark

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by E-mountain bike

— Passionate about cycling —

Helium Helium SLX SLX Lightweight Lightweight Power Power Tube Tube Shape Shape Read more Readonline! more online!

What What if you if you can discover can discover the world the world without without losing losing comfort? comfort? We know We know

This This is is more more than than aa lightweight lightweight bike bike JustJust askask Tiesj Tiesj

Tiesj Benoot Tiesj Benoot Lotto Soudal LottoPro Soudal Cycling Pro Team Cycling Team Strade Bianche, Strade Bianche, March 3,March 2018 3, 2018 Š Kramon Š Kramon


Mag 02

Dalsland Runt

20 The Secrets of Success

34 Calpe Siempre


54 E-venture


72 The Art of Descent

Summer Smiles


84 The One Page Book


Places of Interest


Brighten Up


Sun Is Up!


Off the Bike


The Engine Room

Welcome to gripster MAG “I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.�

Words by Martin Paldan

- Rainer Maria Rilke


We believe in ink on paper. We believe that printed stories still have a position in the modern world, as ink can’t be turned off, be disrupted by a pop-up, a notification, an error message or a dead battery. It’s solid, physical and real – just like you and me. Gripster Mag believes in mapping down stories from all aspects of cycling – stories that share a common theme: The passion for cycling – And our mission is to pass these stories on to our readers, with the ambition to inspire and encourage movement. As cyclists ourselves we believe in movement. Both as in going places, but also as a metaphor for the changes and reactions that occur throughout one’s life. We join a club, make new cycling friends, discover a new approach to something we took for granted, improve our techniques or decide to go public with a big dream of riding a sportive, a race or across a nation. Each of us define our identity as a cyclist and define why, how and where we cycle. Both the pro rider, the dedicated amateur and the weekend warrior all have beating hearts, and we all deal with life´s peculiarities and find a space in cycling that we use as our being in the now. It can easily get philosophical, and occasionally we should allow ourselves to go down that road, to connect and think for a moment why we love cycling. It might help get us back on track, if needed. In Issue #02 of Gripster Mag we introduce you to a man that made a life changing decision, who is now riding trails and producing mountainbike maps for a living. Meet Farid Tabaian in the One Page Book portrait. In another part of the world, we joined WaowDeals Pro cycling team during a workshop with a focus on improving descending technique. Get in on the tips and advice on how to perfect your descent in the Art of Descent feature. I could mention all the other stories we present, but I will leave the discoveries to you. If cycling is your passion, this is your magazine. Welcome to Gripster Mag issue #02.

GRIPSTER — Welcome to Gripster

Words by Martin Paldan, Editor in Chief

CYCLING PASSION IN PRINT Get your hands on the exclusive printed version of Gripster Mag Go to


PUBLISHED BY GripGrab ApS Literbuen 11, 2740 Skovlunde Denmark




Martin Paldan

Eleanor Harper Keep It Moving Printall



Alice Fitzsimons-Quail



Peter Ebro Paul Foulonneau Jesper Halvorsen Elisa Haumesser Elisabeth Kellerer Michele Mondini Carlos Paldan Martin Paldan Pierre Stjernman Singletrack Maps

The next issue of Gripster Mag is out in September.

IDEAS If you have a great idea for future issues of Gripster Mag, write to us at

Hannah Attenburrow Peter Ebro Peter Lindsey Thomas Jean Nielsen Martin Paldan Pierre Stjernman Sophia Wehning

COVER PHOTO Anouska Koster, Monique van de Ree and Marianne Vos from WaowDeals Pro Cycling, Bernissa, Spain. Photo by Martin Paldan


11 GRIPSTER — Contributors

Con ALICE FITZSIMONS-QUAIL Alice is a Masters student living in Copenhagen and GripGrab’s Editorial Assistant. She loves to explore the world on two wheels and travelled from her hometown of Brighton to Accra, Ghana by bike. Right now, she’s focusing on her studies in international migration, and in her spare time she enjoys (shorter!) bike rides, playing music and making creative vegan dishes!



GripGrab’s Online Marketing Manager, Peter has a background in running, and a passion for cycling that began with MTB and grew to also include road and gravel. He’s very keen on the gravel ride and both organised and documented the Dalsland Runt feature for this issue.



GripGrab’s big-hearted video guy going gravel, Thomas is about to get stuck in to the cycling life. In charge of our ‘Off the Bike’ regular feature, Thomas also makes sure you have all the great back-up gear for your adventures!


prelude to a ride Marianne Vos from WaowDeals Pro Cycling getting ready for the day´s training ride. Location: Calpe, Spain

Photo by Martin Paldan

RIDER’S PORTRAIT Tim Rieckmann, Germany, Cyclocross rider. Photo by Martin Paldan


We enjoy sharing your moments and stories. Tag your photos with #gripstermag to present us and everyone else with your cycling passion. We feature nine selected posts in each issue.

@evasynnestvedt — I’m riding in Sweden tomorrow

@peterebro — Dreaming about summer adventures on the bike

@tvebak1970 — The fridge is a good drying rack

@eurocyclingxp — MECC Maastricht

@yellowhatphoto — Making new friends on my rides

@canoekayakcycleclimb — #urbancyclist

@elodiekuijper — First mountainbike race

@lizkefotografie — … But I got to say, this lady also loves to climb

@velorina_cycling — Stay focused and true to yourself to achieve your goals with a smile!

GRIPSTER — #gripstermag




GRIPSTER — Places of Interest

COLUMBUS FERRY, SAILING BETWEEN KULHUSE HAVN AND SØLAGER, DENMARK Brought from Copenhagen in 1962, this tiny steel-fashioned ferry powered only by twin diesel engines takes passengers between the harbor at Kulhuse and the docking station at Sølager, Denmark. As experienced by Carlos and Martin in our ‘Summer Smiles’ feature, the picturesque crossing takes only 8 minutes and M/F Columbus can carry only 8 cars and 70 passengers at a time. The crossing is very popular with Danes and tourists alike embarking on their summer adventures. The service runs 1st April – 30th September and sails back and forth according to demand!

17 GRIPSTER — Places of Interest

HOTEL DIE BERGE, SÖLDEN, AUSTRIA Born of a love of mountains, outdoor sports and nature, Die Berge provides accommodation specially designed for the mountain climbers, hikers, bikers and skiers that flock to this small Austrian town in all seasons, just like our riders in the E-Venture feature. With their open, light spaces they aim to create a meeting place for those heading into the mountains, a place to exchange tips and stories, and expert staff to point you in the right direction. The hotel also welcomes tired and aching folks back from the peaks with a range of saunas, steam baths and a Sky Pool with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.


18 GRIPSTER — Places of Interest

Upperud 9:9, Åsensbruk, Sweden UPPERUD 9:9, ÅSENSBRUK, SWEDEN A hotel, café and conference center nestled next to the water in an old industrial building, Upperud 9:9 provided us with a very welcome break during our Dalsland Runt ride. The café serves wonderful lunches during the summer months, with a focus on locally sourced produce from the farmers, fishers, smokers and growers in Dalsland. Here you can refuel and, if you can snag a seat on the terrace, enjoy stunning views out over the water.

19 GRIPSTER — Places of Interest


THE COFFEE BOX, CALPE, SPAIN Near to the beach and a stone’s throw away from Calpe’s old town, the Coffee Box is the perfect location to start your day before embarking on a mountain adventure by road or gravel. We became quite the regular customers during our Calpe Siempre visit! Cozy, family run and with top quality coffee, waffles, tea and an array of exciting cakes and pastries, it’s the ideal place to fuel up for the day ahead. Especially exciting is the array of flavoured coffees, with everything from the expected (almond, hazelnut, vanilla) to the unorthodox (mint, berries, banana). Seasonal fruit smoothies are also available during the summer months!

20 GRIPSTER — The Secrets of Success

The secrets of success

Photography by Michele Mondini, Lisa Haumesser, Elisabeth Kellerer, Paul Foulonneau

Text by Peter Lindsey and Alice Fitzsimons-Quail

21 GRIPSTER — The Secrets of Success

Having the drive to always perform at your highest level unites all athletes, but what are the inspirations, pitfalls, and experiences that motivate them? We asked four talented and dedicated riders to let us in on their lives, both on and off the saddle.

22 WHAT IS IT ABOUT WHEELS? Elisabeth Kellerer, a lover of mountains and all the

Elisabeth Kellerer

sports inspired by her native landscape in the German Alps, shares passions for running, outdoor swimming and snow sports. However, she admits it was cycling that turned her from someone who would only venture out on ‘super sunny’ days to someone who enjoys riding in all weathers the mountains have to offer. Fatima Berton also describes the lure of cycling, though for her this was a return after a serious crash and three years spent away from the sport focusing on a career in the police force. A competitive cyclist from Belgium, Fatima describes her return as destiny: ‘you know its not simply over – its in your veins.’ A similar enticement awaited US-born Elle Anderson upon her first ever cyclocross race in Europe. A junior ski racer who retired due to injuries, Elle says cyclocross filled the ‘empty hole’ left by her passion for skiing, and after her first European race she could never go back – geographically (Anderson is now


based in Belgium) and from her new sport. Cyclocross is also the passion of Milan-based mountain biker Rebecca Gariboldi, but for her it has always been about the competitive edge. She lives for the race, and though she knows training is key, if she could race every day, she’d prefer it.

SNAPSHOTS OF A LIFE ON TWO WHEELS Key to keeping a burning passion for your sport alive is reliving those highlights, so we wanted to know which summits and finish lines do it for our four riders. Fatima remembers finishing the pro peloton after her comeback from a three-year break. In the moment she suddenly knew she could do it: ‘I could be more than just a bunchfiller’ For Elisabeth, it’s the small moments: ‘when I’m on my favourite road in the autumn sun and the leaves dance on the asphalt… feeling at home and excited, like, hell yes! I’m alive!’ It’s about being inspired by the landscape, getting into the zone, and feeling the freedom.



her MTB allows her to do this despite living in the city. However, her signature moment was racing the MTB

Two wheels are an addiction for all of our athletes,

World Cup in Nove Mesto (‘BEST. TRACK. EVER.’)

however there comes a time every year they we must take a break from the road and the trail. You might

Elle gets more philosophical. For her, it’s about being

assume they’d be catching up on sleep, but no! Rebec-

in the moment, ‘right after I crush a hard training

ca’s rest season revolves around her other pursuit:

ride, overcome a fear of a jump or drop on the bike.

studying Marketing and Communications at univer-

The feeling is so sweet.’

sity. Fatima however is more about taking a break: ‘Me and my partner catch a plane as far away from


Belgium as possible and enjoy some good weather,

Being an athlete in 2018 inevitably requires keeping

works a full-time day job during the active season,

up an online presence to showcase your achieve-

we can very much understand. Elle likes to fill her off

ments and inspire others, whether that involves a

season time with other hobbies that get pushed to the

high traffic Instagram or something more niche and

side – ‘it means time for rock climbing, hiking, yoga,


and maybe an art project’.

Elisabeth is a storyteller (@lizkefotografie), want-


cocktails, nature and good food!’ However, as she

ing above all to share her passion for her sport and lifestyle. Her Instagram shows she isn’t afraid of extremes and is filled with icy morning runs and plunges into misted mountain lakes. While in recovery from an injury she also documented her healing process online, finding motivation for herself and others struggling with injuries.

We’ve all got our fair share of stories from the road, so we asked our riders to share some of theirs. Fatima laughs wryly as she decsribes her first solo trip: ‘I didn’t know how to click in or out of the pedals and fell flat on my face in front of a school bus’ - not embarrassing at all! Elisabeth’s is a little different and perhaps more remarkable; ‘I’ve been riding bikes for

Fatima also records her passion for cycling on Insta-

almost four years and I’ve never had a flat tire!’ (un-

gram (@bertoniiii), though she emphasizes: ‘it’s not

fortunately, this article seems to have jinxed it – since

always rainbows and sunshine’ and tries to give her

then Elisabeth had three flat tires in one week – see

followers a glimpse of the highs and the lows of her

her Instagram for evidence!)



Elle charts her workouts through the more specialist app Strava, were fans can follow her training and interact with her. She enjoys ‘telling the stories from behind the scenes’, such as her struggles during a race, and posting pictures and reports to inspire other athletes. Rebecca



prefers Instagram, keeping her posts simple and down-toearth, aiming just to ‘show who I am without any filters’, whether it’s her kit all muddy after a big race, or just cute snaps of her dog.


GRIPSTER — The Secrets of Success

Rebecca also loves the moments alone in nature, and

24 GRIPSTER — The Secrets of Success

5 words that describe your passion for cycling REBECCA freedom, happiness, grit, power, determination

ELISABETH #outsideisfree #werideinallweather #latetobedearlytoshred #ridelikeagirl #allthegearbutnoidea

ELLE pushing beyond my maximum limits

FATIMA tough, accomplishment, meditation, perseverance, inspiring


earning far more for the same place and stage is saddening. She also cites it as a reason for her time

Just like the everyday, life in the fast lane is not with-

away from the sport – the lack of money around in

out its pitfalls and frustrations. We wondered what

women’s cycling, combined with a big crash, made

our riders considered their biggest challenges to

her feel she wasn’t good enough.

date. Elle speaks of the pressure she feels, often from her


own expectations: ‘I am my own worst critic’, coming from a family that spent much of their time devoted

So, what do our hyper ambitious athletes have

to sports, she learned a lot about discipline and deter-

planned for their 2018 seasons? For Rebecca, this

mination, but also that the most important factor is

is her last year in the U23 category, and she has her

always that this is what she loves, so ultimately, ‘its

hopes set on securing herself a spot among the top 5

not about the rankings , the results, or the money.’

women at the Italian Championship.

Elisabeth recounts a past ride in Tenerife, cycling

Fatima has a broader focus for her success, saying

up the Teide volcano. After climbing for around 30k,

suggestively ‘don’t we all want to throw our hands in

she suddenly started shaking and couldn’t contin-

the air as we cross the finish line first? At least I do.’.

ue, breaking down to her friend ‘I HATE CYCLING. WHY CAN’T WE JUST LIE ON THE BEACH ALL DAY LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE?’ She grumpily ate an energy bar and the veil lifted. She carried on. Now she always carries an extra energy bar. The challenge of making a living from a sport you love is always present, and even more so in women’s cycling. Fatima finds the ongoing issue of equal pay particularly frustrating. Even though ‘we don’t go cycling for the money’, seeing male competitors

Elle is also focusing on building her strength and performance, looking to climb higher in the world rankings, outstripping this season’s improvements. Elisabeth is focusing on her post-injury ‘comeback’, jumping back into racing and planning her first middle distance triathlon, alongside a long-distance trip in southern Germany and Italy, or the Nordic countries.

GripGrab AERO TT

PRODUCTINACTION FEATURES: Super aerodynamic fit Aerobar-adapted padding

The Aero TT is the ultimate aerodynamic glove for time trials and high speed races. A super slim fit thanks to the close fitting wrist cuff and fingers, make for a maximum aerodynamic advantage. The padding is optimized for gripping the aerobars and provides excellent comfort without reducing handlebar feel. The Aero TT provides the highest feeling of control and speed.

Rider: Rikke Lønne, Team RYTGER powered by cykeltø Location: Campione Crono Cup, Søsum, Denmark. Photo by Jesper Halvorsen, Action Photo Crew

OPTIMIZING AERODYNAMICS ”In the eternal process with optimizing arodynamics, I have chosen to ride with GripGrab Aero TT gloves. Besides their obvious and superb aerodynamic properties, they have such a perfect fit on my hands, that I don´t notice them at all. They do their job by providing me with an excellent grip on both the extensions and the brake levers – even in rainy conditions. On top of that, the design is really cool! “ - Rikke Lønne

26 GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt

INTRO Story by Peter Ebro

Photos by Peter Ebro and Pierre Stjernman

27 GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt

DALSLAND RUNT Hitting the gravel hard for a three day ride through the vast, desolate and beautiful Dalsland area of Sweden

28 GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt


Does Fucking Åmål ring a bell? The Lukas Moodysson film about two teenagers in love? Maybe not, but it´s not far from Åmål, Sweden that our love story begins.


n the vast and desolated area known as Dalsland, we are getting ready for the Dalsland Runt gravel ride. A three-day ride accumulating around 44 Swedish miles. Put a zero on

that number and you get the number in kilometers. The Swedes have a thing with ‘less is more’. Take this ride for example. We are 75 riders at the start line, except there is no start line! No beach flags and banners either. Not even an announcer. In true Swedish lowkey style, we simply begin the event when one rider has had enough of the small talk and takes off. Im already in love with this country.

Dalsland perfectly represents the classic Swedish nature as we expect it to be: Desolate, rough and insanely beautiful! Organizer Johan Björklund initiated the Dalsland Runt as a simple ride for his friends in 2011. Since then he has slowly opened the doors for a limited number of strangers – keeping in mind that a stranger is a friend you just haven´t met yet. We carry a good speed as we head north between granite bedrock and deep forests with enchanted lakes. Our group of GripGrab riders mixed with individual riders from Sweden and a few other countries chat and check out each other’s gravel bikes. Today is the ‘easy’ warm-up. We are hungry for gravel, and time flies as we push on. After a great introduc-

tion to the Swedish backroads, we reach the campsite of Salmon Lake. Like a bunch of kids on summer camp, we get installed in small cabins and are told that the pasta party will take place in the dining hall of the main building at 19.00. Swedish efficiency. We are clearly in the country of Volvo and IKEA. More to love.


29 GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt


GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt

our pessimism. It’s nine o’clock and we are about to embark on the long-haul stage of no

less than 218 gravel K’s! This will not be an easy-spin in the woods! With promises of 2800 height meters, we are pretty ‘excited’ and figure it must be a mistake. No way that Sweden can present three times the height of Alpe d’Huez? Yes way, we would soon find out. If it´s

not going up, it´s going down. Before reaching kilometer one, we encountered the first hill. Pretty steep going up, and rather aggressive going down. Repeat this profile a hundred

times, and you have a clear graphic of the ride of day two. And we’re enjoying every bit of it! 16% ascents, speedy cruising on sportsgrus (as the Swedes call their good dirt roads), tough sections of jävla grus as we Danes call the bad Swedish dirt roads, and then add coffee

stops with Swedish cheese sandwiches and later even a pizza stop. We no longer feel like

strangers in this ride. We have been welcomed into the depth of Dalsland and have no idea where we are.

Being a social ride, there is plenty of time to enjoy the adventure and the stunning scenery along the route that we simply follow by GPS. We feel the distance in our legs, and our

souls are saturated with a full day’s impressions as we hit the campsite. Ten hours in the saddle is a good workout and the need for a beer is urgent. Luckily the sun has emerged

and after a mighty fine meal of wiener schnitzel and French fries, we tell our war stories and sit proud and heroic – with sore legs.


GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt

DAY TWO Together we stand under the shelter, out of the rain and compete in being the best to hide


DAY THREE 32 GRIPSTER — Dalsland Runt

The Dalsland Runt is a GPS ride with a limited

Horizontal is a comfortable position when your legs are sore

number of participants.

from riding. No one is eager to get out of bed the next morn-

This article is based on the 2017 edition, and Peter Ebro was riding together with his colleagues from

ing. Contemplating the historic Falu red color that is still seen on most wooden houses in Dalsland, we secretly wish for

GripGrab: Martin Krøyer, Kristian Krøyer, Pierre

somebody to lock us up inside one of them. But there is riding

Stjernman, Sebastian Högdahl and Michel Boot.

to be done. And more rain to come. We decide to do the short

121 km stage instead of the longer 175 km as we otherwise risk up ending up in a severe cloudburst. Once again, we find our-

selves grinding our way up and down dirt roads, passing lakes and enjoying the feeling of being deep in Dalsland.

Halfway through this last stage, we almost miss a coffee stop. Eager to charge on, it is only when a fellow Swedish rider

convinces us to stop that we discover that Upperud 9:9 is a

café with good knowledge of what hard working gravel grinders are in need for: a simple but delicious buffet of sandwich-

es, cake and coffee! Throw in a perfect view on the terrace to a little lake, and you have the perfect reason for staying forever. We charge on. Onto the asphalt. Back to civilization and the

parking lot where it all began two days ago. The finish is just as low key as the start. Sore, happy and smiling we pack the bikes in the van and take off. Next year we will be back. We’re no longer strangers to Johan and his beloved Dalsland.


SpORTSGRUS “We no longer feel like strangers in this ride. We have been welcomed into the depth of Dalsland and have no idea where we are.�


GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

35 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

CALPE SIEMPRE Words and photos by Martin Paldan

36 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre


he winter training camp is a phenomenon consisting of days of riding and riding and then putting riding supportive elements in between. It´s being here and not there. It’s a concept that every road cyclist sooner or later gets introduced to. The combination of sun, comfortable temperatures, perfect climbs, bike friendly accomodation and the simple fact that everybody else is going, makes the winter training camp a mandatory migration from north to south each pre-Spring season.

37 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

Hiding in a tranquil and exclusive villa

snap a photo for Instagram or talk to the

up in the mountains outside Calpe, the

mechanic about their bike setup. The

riders from the Dutch WaowDeals Pro

atmosphere is relaxed but concentrat-

Cycling team get their gear ready for

ed and everyone knows what to do. It’s

riding out. It´s all about movement.

not the first time for the team to stay in

Mostly on bikes, but the team riders and

Calpe for the winter training camp.

staff have travelled from their home turf to a location that offers better conditions for training. They move in order to move with quality. The sun is generously pouring warm rays of light down on the giant terrace with breathtaking views of Calpe, as the riders pack their energy,

On the agenda for today is a 20-minute FTP test, that the riders will conduct on the south climb towards the village of Tárbena. Before reaching the starting point for the test, the riders ease their way out of Calpe on the busy N-332. >

38 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre







WaowDeals riders pass a lonely rider. He´s from Denmark and is enjoying the sun and the climbs like everybody else. With a more relaxed attitude towards training, his ambition is to do a selection of the climbs, and get a decent mileage done during the week. “My motivation comes from the joy of cycling. I used to race at elite level, but that´s in my past now. Both the racing and the culture around the elite life is gone now. It took a while to get used to, and I had to work with developing a different mindset. But I still love cycling and cherish the moments when I jump on the bike and go wherever I want. It´s very liberating and almost like therapy. No rules, no plan, if I feel like a coffee I choose a sunny café and sit for as long as I feel like. Maybe this is a spot I will only sit in once. “ It’s obvious that Casper Saltoft from the proud cycling nation of Denmark has been in the elite game in his past. His muscles are still toned and strong, his riding is efficient and effortless, and his style is elegant and perfect. >



GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

“With our Pioneer cyclo computer, we can view our power during training. In addition, we can measure the power and upload the training on a pc at home. It helps us with analysing efforts and with developing training plans. The test consisted of 20 minutes riding uphill as hard as possible, not necessarily sprinting as one needs to maintain this for 20 minutes. This is all done individually and not in a group. After completion, we rode for another hour, giving us an opportunity to ride out and finalising a nice endurance ride. We then discussed the training with our team coach Trudy van den Boom. This FTP-value is convenient in order to make progress with our trainings. Moreover, it helps us to get ready for the races. We have certainly already benefited from it.” Monique van de Ree, WaowDeals Pro Cycling

FTP TEST The riders from WaowDeals Pro Cycling don´t have the privilege of stopping for coffee when they feel like. They´re at work and have begun their FTP test. Three-time world champ and Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit Dani Rowe is racing up the switchbacks with music in her ears. The air is warm and along the road the almond trees are in full blossom. They stand on rocky terrain and their stunning rich pink flowers are in strong contrast to the otherwise dry landscape. It’s Spain at its best. No wonder many cyclists frequent Calpe as their favorite winter training destination. With more than 320 sunny days a year, Calpe is a heaven for sun-longing northern cyclists. The practicalities are easily sorted. There are plenty of hotels and apartments, and with the right planning and timing, flights to nearby Alicante are cheap. And then there are the mountains. With a wide selection of roads going into the interior, it´s easy to plan a variety of rides that will each accommodate for different riding styles. The more popular routes include going

de Castells and do a longer ride. Regardless of road

to Parcent via Alcalalí, either via the Sierra

choice the surroundings are stunning and heaven-

Bernia climb with nice views of the ocean or

like for cyclists. Small villages are followed by long

through the Xalo valley. From Parcent the ob-

stretches of pine forest, and it´s difficult not to feel a

vious choice is to do the well-known Coll de

sense of bliss when a climb is followed by a long, flow-

Rates climb with the chance of meeting pros,

ing descent. The asphalt is very good at all places, with

and descend back towards Calpe via Tárbena.

only the Sierra Bernia being a little rough at times, but

Another option is to turn right towards Castell

that´s part of the charm of this road.



GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

41 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

A SECRET CLIMB Extending from the top of Coll de Rates behind the restaurant, a steep, narrow switchback leads to the top. The gradient reaches a challenging 20% at times, making this a treat for every grimpeur. Photo by Martin Paldan

42 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

WHERE TO FLY Catch a flight to nearby Alicante Airport, pickup a rental car and head north for Calpe. The 76 km drive along the coast can be spent discussing which climb to do first.

WHERE TO STAY Hotel Diamante is a favourite amongst cyclists, but there a numerous apartments with stunnning views up for rent. As winter is not the regular tourist season, the prices are very fair.

WHAT TO DO Cycling in the mountains in the morning and coffee in the afternoon. On a rest day you can climb the rock for stunning views of Calpe, or stay at sea level and stroll along the beach. When you get hungry, you´ll find plenty of options for classic Spanish seafood.

43 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

COFFEE STOP Casper from Denmark has reached Xalo

work, or you´re here with the purpose

and stops at the little main square by the

of having a blast on the bike. I´m here

beautiful church for a cup of coffee. It´s

for the latter reason. That doesn´t mean

February, but the sun is summer warm.

I don´t have ambitions. I think we are all

There´s a siesta like atmosphere on the

driven by the competition and compari-

plaza, it’s a pocket in time. It´s hard to

son to some extent. Nobody wants to be

believe that snow is covering the Scan-

the last rider up the climb. It´s deeply

dinavian roads right now. “There´s

rooted in us as riders. The competitive

only two reasons for going on a train-

aspect never really leaves you.”

ing camp: Either you are here with a pro team and it´s hard but rewarding


44 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

CALPE Framed by the iconic Peñón de Ifach, and with peaceful, white sand beaches spreading out to either side, Calpe is often the picture-perfect symbol of the Costa Blanca region. With easy access to cycling routes in the surrounding mountains, and often refreshingly tranquil outside the busy summer season, Calpe is an ideal base to explore. Imposing and vertical as it looks, El Peñón or ‘The Rock’ is scalable, and affords stunning views across the town, up and down the coastline, and to the mountains behind. A well-trodden trail leads from the center of town, near the port, winds up a gentle slope past the visitors center and begins the climb. You’d be forgiven for wincing a little at the sheer drop that awaits you at the start of the real ascent, but the hordes of Spanish abuelas making their regular trek will reassure you. Take a picnic to eat at the summit but be ready to share it with a gang of pushy seagulls and large population of domestic cats that will come, mewing, out of the bushes as soon as you unwrap a sandwich. While the north beach is your top haunt for slick, noisy cocktail bars with cubic white furniture, the south beach has a more chilled, local feel. Wander along the promenade in the late evening and have a casual beer with native Calpers, pass the intriguing Roman ruins as you approach the port. These are, for history buffs, also well worth a daytime visit – a series of rockpools known as the ‘Queen’s Baths’ are actually a fish trapping and farming system controlled by sluice gates. Onwards to the port and you come to prime seafood restaurant territory. Fishing is one of Calpe’s main industries (alongside tourism), and the port is lined with outdoor restaurants serving up the best of the day’s catch, often in the form of giant paella dishes. Delicious seafood, rice and vegetables in very large amounts?! Perfect for a hungry cyclist returning from the hills. Away from the hustle and bustle of the high-rise world at the beach lies a sleepy, picturesque old town. Tranquil plazas and are linked by winding alleys, and cheap cafes and bars spill their signature red plastic chairs onto the paving stones. There is even a signposted tourist walking route to follow, with such highlights as the Torreó de la Peça and Museo del Coleccionismo, along brightly painted, flower-festooned streets. Return in the evening for a low-key community vibe with tapas bars and restaurants aplenty. >


Rotem Gafinovitz Yara Kastelijn Jeanne Korevaar Anouska Koster Riejanne Markus Pauliena Rooijakkers Danielle Rowe Sabrina Stultiens Monique van de Ree Inge van der Heijden Marianne Vos

GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre



GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre


The WaowDeals riders return to their Spanish mansion up in the hills. The sun is low and lazy and as it slowly drops down behind the mountains, the riders prepare their recovery drinks, and dissapear into their private quarters. Soon they will leave the Spanish coast, and open the season with the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, followed by Omloop van het Hageland the day after. “This season, we want to perform strongly as a team and we do not have a fixed head rider. Riders who sacrifice themselves in one race deserve to get support in another race” says DS Jeroen Blijlevens. Down on the harbour the fishermen return from the sea. Here there’s no shaved legs or aerodynamic consciousness. Their tan-lines are different from the rider´s lines, but they have all been under the same sun all day. They offload their catch, bring it to the auction hall, and the fish, crabs and shrimp are sold. It´s a different life, but they share the routines - the steps that define a work day – whether at sea or on the road.

GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre


48 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

3 selected climbs around calpe COLL DE RATES Length: 6 km One of the most popular climbs in the area. Its popularity might be due to easy access and history, and the climb itself is great, but not amazing. If you´re looking for spotting pro riders, this might be a good climb to visit. Excellent gateway to further riding towards Castell de Castells.

Start from Parcent

2.5% 2.5 %

Lenght: 6 km.

6.0% 6.0 %

8.0% 8.0 %

5.0% 5.0 %

49 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

SIERRA BERNIA Length: 15 km A charming climb, with almost a secret feel to it. Amazing views of the sea and Rock d’Ifach along the first part of the climb. The asphalt can be a bit worn out on some parts, but nothing to worry about. Once on top, you descend into Xalo with plenty of options for continuing your ride.

Start from Pínos

2.5% 2.5 %

1.0% 1.0 %

6.0% 6.0 %


9.0% 9.0 %

1.8 %

11.0% 11.0 %

Lenght: 15 km.

VALL D’EBO Length: 8 km With some imagination this could almost feel a bit like Sa Calobra. Great views and sweet climb. Spend a moment in Vall d’Ebo – it has a true pueblo feel. Continue along CV-712 or climb the short, insanely steep entrance to Carrer Tita Albir for an adventure on the plateau and later valley leading to the cave paintings at Pla de Petracos . Warning: This route has parts of pretty rough asphalt.

Start from Pego

5.0 % 5.0%

7.0 % 5.0%

Length: 8 km.

7.7 % 7.7%

5.0 % 7.5 % 5.0% 7.5%

7.4 % 7.4%

1.8 % 1.8%

6.0 % 6.0%

4.2 % 4.2%

6.0 % 5.8 % 6.0% 5.8%

7.0 7.0%


50 GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

WHAT TO PACK FO R CA LP E, SPAI N GripGrab Lightweight SL socks Flashing socks under the sun Enter the sock game and pick your favorite color amongst eight varieties. The Lightweight SL sock is light, classy and comes in the perfect length. Open mesh zones and soft Coolmax yarn makes this cycling sock the perfect choice for summer cycling under the sun.

GripGrab Roadster short finger gloves Light as a feather and breathable 2 mm Doctor Gel padding ensures your comfort on the long rides, and the breathability will be appreciated, when the temperature rises. The Roadster is a simple, yet highly functional ultra-lightweight short finger glove.

Lizard Skin DSP 2.5 mm bartape - dual color Premium comfort without losing your grip High quality, soft on the palms, and available in a wide selection of zany colours, what’s not to like! A good balance of lightweight - at only 56g including end plugs - yet pleasantly cushioning, DSP (dura soft polymer) also means no animal products are used (especially no lizards). The texture of the tape lends excellent grip even over long periods and left our hands in good shape even after riding off road.


Protection made breezy Protect your head on those speedy mountain descents (no one is ever totally safe from falling after all!) with the outstanding coverage of the POC Octal AVIP MIPS. The helmet uses MIPS technology specially designed to add extra protection in the case of crash impacts. And, perfect for the southern European climate, it has 21 air vents allowing unimpeded air flow to keep you nice and cool.

Hide my bell - mount for GPS unit Combining bell and bike computer for a clean, ergonomic setup Ever wanted the functionality of a bike bell but without having it clutter up your bars? The answer is finally here. Hide My Bell have integrated their bike bell into an out-front handlebar mount for a bike computer. With special models available for many different bike computers, and the possibility to adjust the distance between computer and stem, you can fully rearrange your setup to suit you. And you can still make yourself known if you need to clear the way while on a tapas dash!

Spanish Wine: A Pocket Guide by Brian Murdock Become a connoisseur in your breaks from the saddle It’s always nice to have something to delve into while you enjoy a break from the road, and why not pick up a bit of local knowledge on the way? This handy guide slips easily into your saddlebag and provides a fun, easy way into the world of Spanish wine, including introductions to types of wine and the different growing regions, ratings of vintages and winery listings. There’s also an exploration of regional gastronomy and plenty of local knowledge and anecdotes to keep you amused while you sip your caña!

Oakley Jawbreaker TM Sunglasses Everything becomes clear Get ready to see things super clearly whilst protecting your eyes from the Spanish sun with Oakley’s outstanding PrizmTM lens optics technology. With a history of being worn by cycling legends such as Lance Armstrong, Oakley have a strong reputation for being the best. The JawbreakerTM is notoriously durable and includes SwitchlockTM technology for automatic adaptation of the lenses to changing light levels. PrizmTM has a color enhancing, image sharpening effect, allowing for heightened safety and performance, and is of course all the better for enjoying those countryside vistas!

GRIPSTER — Calpe Siempre

POC Octal AVIP MIPS helmet

52 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

Words by Hannah Attenburrow

Photography by Martin Paldan

An e-venture Combining the joys of natural trails with the leisurely pace of an e-bike: Hannah and Dave test out the Singletrack trails in undiscovered Sölden before dipping into the Sky pool for the ultimate in après ride relaxation —


54 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

Surrounded by 3000m snow-capped peaks, wheels slowly crunching, laboured breathing and the sweet smell of Alpine air. It can only mean one thing: a mountain bike ride in Austria! On this adventure things are a little different. Arriving at our lunch spot, the mountain hut Kleble Alm, I don’t feel as exhausted as usual – my legs feel worked and my lungs full of fresh air, but I am ready to go. The reason: Dave and I climbed with a little horse power - not lassoed farming donkeys - but in the form of an e-bike.

“This new way of travelling made the climb more enjoyable and I was starting to see the benefits and accessibility of an e-bike.” The e-bike made effortless work of the Alpine climbs. Using the standard and eco settings and rolling up the gravel forest route at an easy 16 kmph, the climb to the top took no time at all. While pedaling Dave and I enjoyed the views of the valley below, the lush green canopy and delicate mountain flowers. Usually it would be head down and pedal hard, waiting to enjoy the view at the top. This new way of travelling made the climb more enjoyable and I was starting to see the benefits and accessibility of an e-bike.

55 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

REACHING NEW PLACEs On an E-MTB you can go further and longer, and discover new places up in the mountains with local dishes on the menu


56 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

Sipping on schnapps and eating Goulash soup we were soon refueled and ready for the next part of our journey. We headed towards a natural trail called Jägers Notweg Trail, a black run that our guide, Alex from Bike School Ride On, explained would test not only our e-bike handling but also the core techniques learnt at the pump track earlier that morning. Arriving at the trail head, the first and most important job was to stamp our trail passports. Bike Republic Sölden is its own community with its own dialect used to name the trails. Mountain bikers get their passport when they hire a bike and stamp off each trail as they ride it. On completion you get biking goodies. What more incentive do you need to ride all day! Jägers Notweg Trail – the start of this black trail lulls you into a false sense of security as you traverse a very pleasant path with trees on both sides. The trail soon turns into a testing singletrack with hairpin turns, jagged rocks waiting to pinch either you or your tire, and roots at the most unhelpful of angles - in other words, a great black run! It had rained in recent days which turned both rocks and roots into a special kind of slippery challenge, where the payment for any misjudgment on this tiny trail was not worth thinking about.

“Arriving at the trail head the first and most important job was to stamp our trail passports.”

57 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

Trail grades BLUE TRAILS – EASY: Most suitable for families and novice cyclists with any off-road bike with brakes and gears. These trails have a gentle grade (ranging from 0 to 5 percent) and are relatively obstacle free. Blue trails carry a very low risk. Any unavoidable hazards are identified through notices and signs.

RED TRAILS MORE DIFFICULT: Requires good bike handling skills and an understanding of core mountain bike techniques. Undulating, varied and rolling terrain with grades ranging from 5 to 12 percent. Characterized by frequent short climbs and descents.

BLACK TRAILS MOST DIFFICULT: Advanced mountain bike handling skills, like wheel lifts may be required. Suitable for experienced mountain bikers. A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature where avoidable and unavoidable obstacles may be present.


58 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

So on occasiont we negotiated odd sections of the trail on foot. This is where e-bikes have a disadvantage - as I weigh in at around 58kg, my bike at 25kg was nearly half my weight and keeping myself and it upright was a workout in itself. Just as you think this little singletrack has thrown all it can at you, you reach a bridge and then a 10-minute climb to the double track path. Delighted to reach the top, Dave and I chilled and chatted about our attempt at the most technical trail in the whole of Bike Republic Sölden. Happy to have that stamped in our passports we headed onwards and upwards again. I was happy to have some assistance from the e-bike which plodded along nicely in eco mode, my feet turning the pedals around 80rpm. Sometimes I forgot I was being assisted at all, until I stopped pedaling and the bike coasted along like a normal bike. We were soon at our next trailhead, well signposted with grade color, direction arrow, trail name and instructions and rules.

“I kept in mind what Alex had said at the pump track about keeping my weight centered over my bike with my collar bone in line with my headset.“ Dancing our way down the Kleble Alm trail we encountered flowing sections where the bike gripped the ground and spun you around the corner, the silence on the mountain dented by whoops of joy as we descended further into sections which traversed the fire road climb. These were more technical and needed a slower speed and concentration to guide our bikes over rocks and roots. Moving at a slower pace, I kept in mind what Alex had said at the pump track about keeping my weight centered over my bike with my collar bone in line with my headset. I felt like I was gliding down the mountain. All too quickly it was over as the trail spat us out onto the road.


59 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture



GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

61 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

“The battery will give you 88 kilometers of pedal assistance, meaning long days in the saddle are achievable for any fitness level.”

E-BIKES Our Haibikes e-bikes came with four settings; Eco and Eco + for low powered assistance and Standard and High for more assistance on the climbs. E-bikes

The Haibike e-bike is built from a solid alloy frame

are not about sitting back, you must pedal to get assistance from the motor. So why get a lift to the top when you can pedal, enjoying the knowledge that you have improved your health and fitness and earnt that beer or glass of wine at the top! The Haibike e-bike is built from a solid alloy frame 27.5 wheel to improve its turning capabilities

with 27.5 wheel to improve its turning capabilities. The 150mm full suspension bike allows you to negotiate challenging terrain in comfort. The battery will give you 55 miles of pedal assistance meaning

The 150mm full suspension

long days in the saddle are achievable for any fitness level. E-bikes open up the world of cycling to all fitness levels and mean friends and family of different abilities can ride at the same pace. In Sölden there are plenty of hire places, and we hired from Intersport on the main road. Their helpful and friendly team set up our bikes, including suspension, and gave us a good demo of how to use the motor.


Surround by 3,000m snow-capped peaks, wheels

I used the standard and eco settings, rolling up the

slowly crunching, laboured breathing and the sweet

gravel forest route at an easy 16km the climb to the

smell of Alpine air. It can only mean one thing: a

top took no time at all. While pedaling Dave and

mountain bike ride in Austria! On this adventure

I enjoyed the views of the valley below, the lush

things are a little different. Arriving at our lunch

green canopy and delicate mountain flowers. Usu-

spot, the mountain hut Kleble Alm, I don’t feel as ex-

ally it would be head down and pedal hard to enjoy

hausted as usual, my legs feel worked and my lungs

the view at the top. This new way of travelling made

full of fresh air, but I am ready to go. The reason:

the climbing more enjoyable and I was starting t o

Dave and I climbed with a little horse power - not

see the benefits and accessibility of an e-bike.

lassoed farming donkeys - but an e-bike. The e-bike made effortless work of the Alpine climbs,

highway downhill Sรถlden is a paradise of opportunities for all riders, with an abundance of both natural trails and extremely well designed flow trails.


64 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

BIKE FRIENDLY HOTELS Sölden is well set up for bikers. Our hotel the Die Berge had bike washing and drying rooms and storage facilities, as well as a much needed 24-hour clothes washing service which we had to use! It served nutritious and balanced foods for breakfast to keep hungry bikers going all day long. The rooms were comfy and well equipped for families and groups of friends. Bike rentals are plenty, and everything is within walking or cycling distance. The benefits of e-bikes have been evident today. They allowed us to climb more easily and enjoy the fresh air and the views from the climb and exhilarating technical downs. We had more energy to enjoy the downhill and technical trails, making us potentially safer and more able to negotiate difficult obstacles. Sipping hot tea in the Sky pool was the ultimate end to an adventure packed day in Sölden. I look forward to returning and ticking off some of the other great trails.

65 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

66 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture


POC Trail Shorts Comfort, durability and style Durable, comfortable and high performing – all disguised as comfortable surfer style shorts. Made from a two-way stretch nylon fabric but with soft, snag-free lining and far greater flexibility. The material is also water resistant and fast drying – soggy shorts are no fun after all!

Five Ten Freerider Contact Womens Maximum comfort and pedal contact The Freerider Contact is paving the way with its treadless Contact OutsoleTM under the ball of the foot. This allows for quick adjustments on the move without any interference with riding. The shoe also features the supremely soft rubber compound Stealth® Mi6TM rubber. Weighing in at just 318g (11.2oz), and with added toe protection, this shoe combines high performance with a lowprofile fit. The Stealth® Mi6TM also allows superior pin penetration to maximize pedal contact.

67 GRIPSTER — An E-Venture

GripGrab SuperGel XC gloves Ultimate comfort and control Thanks to the 4 mm gel padding, the GripGrab SuperGel XC gloves have the most shock absorbing technology throughout the GripGrab range of full finger gloves. They are designed to maintain and deliver maximum comfort for long distance rides. Mesh material on the back of the glove keeps hands cool and ventilated on hot days while ergonomic palm design, strategically placed padding, and sticky fingertips make these the perfect gloves to enhance both comfort and control.

GripGrab Arm Warmers Comfort & warmth in all conditions The GripGrab Classic Arm Warmers are made from a breathable brushed fleece fabric, providing the ideal amount of insulation when reaching higher altitudes or encountering changing weather conditions. The anatomical fit and silicon elastic grip ensures the sleeve remains in place regardless of weather conditions to provide maximum comfort while riding but can easily be removed and stored in a jersey pocket or backpack while on the go.

Backpack Deuter Attack 20 Keep everything you need close and dry

RAWBITE Stay naturally energized RAWBITE is an organic fruit and nut bar that comes in 8 different flavors ranging from cashew to coconut and cacao to spicy lime. All bars are gluten and dairy free and vegan. The bars only contain natural sugar from fruits and have no artificial additives or flavorings. This makes them the perfect snack for athletes to supply energy immediately without slowing you down.

The Deuter Attack 20 is a tight-fitting backpack designed for mountainbike riding. Even when it gets rough and tough, the backpack stays tight to your back. The backpack also has plenty of room for supplies and an extra layer of clothing. There’s even an integrated raincover for wet days on the trail!

68 GRIPSTER — Brighten Up!


Whether you prefer neutral shades or bold colors, the

new range of GripGrab cycling socks has something for every ride and every rider.

69 GRIPSTER — Brighten Up!

70 GRIPSTER — Brighten Up!

Text by Alice Fitzsimons-Quail

It was a long winter for the development team at GripGrab HQ in Denmark, with plenty of snow and plenty of reasons to keep going back to their cold weather kit long after they wished they could’ve abandoned it. However, there’s always a part of them that can’t wait to get back into their spring and summer wardrobe, and what better way to see out the last of the winter than with their new summer sock collection in a range of cheery bright colors! Once upon a time, white socks were the only permissible option for cyclists, and many still favor this classic look. The World Tour peloton in particular always stipulated white socks, and big names such as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil stuck firmly with their pearly whites. The Victorian Amateur Cyclists’ Union handbook of rules (operating from 1971) even states that ‘white socks must be worn and riding shorts must be of a black or navy blue textured material.’ And shiny white is great… until it rains, unless you’re lucky enough to have a never-ending supply. Nowadays bright colors, patterns and longer lengths to emphasize them have become not just accepted, but even hip in the cycling world. However, rather than go all out on fluorescent geometric prints, the GripGrab team stuck to block brights for a classy take on the jazzy sock trend. The Lightweight SL and the Racing Stripes socks use a high wicking and soft Coolmax® yarn ideal for cycling in hot and humid conditions. It’s also designed with open mesh zones to secure high breathability and features a seamless toe closure for ultimate comfort. The simple-yet-classic design lets the jazzy colours do their work, and there’s a shade to match your kit, style and mood on that day. Hi-Vis for those seeking visibility on the road, a warm array of reds, oranges and pinks for those sunny summer rides, or a deep navy, as it suits. There are of course a range of factors to consider when choosing the perfect cycling sock. Height is an issue for many, and often a very personal choice. While some wish to avoid the inevitable stripy legs syndrome when the sun comes out, others prefer them long and cozy. And you’ve got to consider the rest of your kit - are you the kind of cyclist that likes everything to match perfectly? Or does dropping a daring red sock into a monochrome kit make you a trailblazer? Whichever, it’s also always good to know they’ll be easier to spot in your clean laundry. The employees of GripGrab will be riding with their socks proudly on show this Summer, whatever the color, as they believe in the freedom to choose and to define their own style as cyclists!

72 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

The descent is one of the most exciting and challenging arts of cycling, both for road and mountain bikers. Mastering that art and helping others maximize their technique is the preserve of Oscar Saiz, downhill MTB racer turned specialist coach who travels the globe running camps, clinics and workshops for the world’s top athletes and teams.

Words by Alice Fitzsimons-Quail

Photos by Martin Paldan

73 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

74 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent


aiz hails from the small Catalonian town of Matadepera. He began his career as a trainer after he quit pro downhill mountain biking and was recruited by the

Spanish Cycling Federation. A year later he transferred to the Giant Factory Off-Road Racing Team as a specialist in gravity-oriented disciplines (including downhill and enduro). From there his career as an expert in the field took off, and before long he was training world class XC athletes, pro tour road teams and triathlon athletes. Why the specific interest in downhill? He remembers his time as a pro racer; ‘We did not have technical coaches in my time, progressing and improving meant trying and failing, continually searching for new ways to raise the bar.’ Combine the technical expertise he developed, with, in his own words, ‘a rather stubborn and perfectionist personality’ and you begin to see how he got to where he is now. That ‘stubborn perfectionist’ attitude has its roots in a life spent pursuing his dreams. Oscar first rode a bike aged 3, and it has been his passion ever since. He remembers his father taking him to trials-bike competitions and was already into racing at age 5. He then combined trials and BMX until the early ’90s when he first tried mountain biking. ‘It was a childhood dream come true’ he admits, and it wasn’t long before he went pro; ‘I was able to race internationally at the highest level of the sport for 16 consecutive years. It has been the experience of a lifetime.’

75 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

Oscar Saiz’s basic tips for the perfect descent: Keep breathing - always - descending can be fun and an ideal time to recover!

Look far ahead, keep your head up and try to anticipate and read the next corner.

Let hips move freely as you decide to incline from one corner to another, your inside leg should be relaxed and neutral.

Inside arm/elbow should tend to be a little straighter than the outside arm. At higher speeds you should aim to slightly counter steer (your inside arm will push a little to make that happen)

Keep upper body and arms relaxed, not tight and cramped or holding the bars too tight

Keep at least one fingertip ready on the brake lever just in case.

Apply pressure on the outside pedal, avoid dropping the heel down as pressure should be transmitted from the ball of the foot.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL So where does he start with a new athlete or group? He begins by scanning the athlete, ‘starting from a very basic level to see where we are in terms of bike handling and technique on one side, and mental approach and perception on the other.’ There are of course specific things he looks for; ‘technique can always be improved, especially in disciplines where fitness and physiology play a significant role. The current level can tell us many things, but it’s important to see the potential, establish targets and timelines, and work accordingly to set goals.’

76 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

Oscar Saiz’s top 5 tips for downhill road cyclists to improve their technique:



3 5


descending technique requires patience, and plenty of energy both mentally and physically. My suggestion is to plan short and regular sessions to avoid fatigue, setting goals and stepping up your game progressively.

‘READ’ THE ROAD riding on a well-known road maximizes your ability to choose the best lines, timing and speed. Try different options and experiment.

EMBRACE IT! technique can be challenging some-times, but it sure is fun! Embrace the situation and practice the drills and skills given by an instructor.


ON ANY RIDE every time you ride, technique is present. Shifting, pedaling correctly, braking, cornering, choosing your lines. Practice these every time you ride.

SAFETY Practice on safe roads, control your speed and do not exceed your limits. Injuries can be severe and will set you back in terms of confidence.


1 2 3

GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

Oscar Saiz’ s most commonLY seen mistakes: BODY POSITION ‘this will be a very common one, and its usually a tough one. I usually like to bring riders to experiment in the dirt whether it is a MTB or CX bike, to show them how important and crucial our position becomes at low speeds and on slippery surfaces.’

CONSISTENCY ‘regular practice can take you very far, but with today’s technologies and social media, everything seems to need to be immediate. Technical skills are not an exception, however learning something is far from mastering it.’

USING BOTH BRAKES ‘riders tend to use rear brakes way more than front brakes when trying to reduce speed, when it should be the other way around.’

Working with new and different athletes all the time makes the breadth of styles and aptitudes very obvious to a trainer, but Saiz can also pick out a number of common mistakes.


SYMMETRY ‘unbalanced execution of left and right corners; there is usually a preference and differences between one side and the other. Our target should be the balancing of both sides.’

“...learning something is far from mastering it”

And then there’s another key question: where is the best place to put all this advice into practice?


DEFAULT MODE ‘in road cycling, technical training is not yet “enforced”. We will finish a clinic, and unless the coaches schedule sessions for technical reminders, the information and knowledge will fade over time.’

‘Winding roads, wherever they are. I have been riding pretty much all over the world and it makes it hard to decide. The area where I live (Catalonia) is good for downhill. So are the Pyrenees and the Alps, Tuscany, Mallorca, and some parts of California’. Plenty of places to discover on two wheels!

78 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

READ THE ROAD Monique van de Ree going for a smooth combination of speed and control. The WaowDeals Pro Cycling team enjoyed a two-day seminar during their training camp in Spain with Oscar Saiz..

79 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent


GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent


Working in this field means Oscar is highly in demand throughout the global pro cycling community. He’s faced many challenges and worked with many people throughout his career so far. ‘If I have to choose, the Giant Factory Off Road Team is a hell of a project. I also have very good memories from the first time I was requested for a skills camp with the Rabobank Pro Cycling Team. However, I like all disciplines, and despite working mainly with professionals I try to interact with amateur and hobby riders when time allows.’ Saiz clearly has the passion and drive that only really comes from being able to fill your life with the things you love. His favorite aspects of what he does are of course ‘to improve riders’ abilities, and cross over between different disciplines. I will keep on doing this as long as I’m having fun and have something to transmit – I love riding bikes and everything that surrounds that. I feel blessed doing what I do.’ And what does he feel there is still left to do? ‘I’d like to take a tour roadie that struggles with descending and bring them up as a top-level rider. On the MTB side the bar is set high; we have had success in the past and I want to see my riders achieve excellence.’ But are there downsides to this kind of international lifestyle? This can present problems for many competing and training at such a high level. ‘The long flights, time spent in airports, traveler food, plenty of waiting… and not being able to ride my bikes as much as I want to.’ IS THERE EVER ANY ‘DOWN’ TIME? All pros have their secrets about what they do when training is done. When asked about his time out of the saddle, he coyly responds ‘I ride my BMX and trials bike… which don’t require a saddle!’ No rest for the wicked, then. He also enjoys skiing, moto trials, and spending time with his wife and kids, especially getting them involved in the sports he loves. However, with 41 years of cycling experience under his belt, we wouldn’t expect anything less! As a child, Oscar wanted to become a dentist. Quite a contrast to the path he ended up taking, but perhaps, given his level of commitment and drive, he’d still be travelling the world as a pro dentist these days. And any other non-cycling related ambitions? ‘I’d love to play jazz drums.’

GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent


82 GRIPSTER — The Art of Descent

NEXT ON THE AGENDA… 2018 is already looking pretty busy. ‘The World Cup and World Mountain Bike Championships are on the radar, also many camps coming up, and a suspension project that fell on my lab recently.’ He’d also like to plan a visit to Denmark; ‘I visited twice but never rode anything other than city bikes, so I have a pending road ride and MTB shred over there.’ Well, he’ll always be very welcome here at GripGrab HQ.

Tim Wiggins sightseeing the fast and efficient way at Brede Works – A historic industrial complex located outside Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Martin Paldan


Transition to modern society


GRIPSTER — The One Page Book


85 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

From a smallscale project in Durango to one man’s life’s work: meet Farid Tabaian, cartographer and founder of Singletrack Maps, charting MTB trails in the high mountains of Colorado.

Words by Alice Fitzsimons-Quail

Photography by Singletrack Maps & Martin Paldan


86 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

While reflecting on his recent honeymoon, Farid Tabaian, cartographer and founder of Singletrack Maps, talks about how enjoyable he found MTB riding in Portugal. The sparse traffic and great roads were very different to riding in the United States and historic castles, beautiful beaches and the odd angry sheepdog made for an exciting holiday.

Farid is however no stranger to taking risks to make his dreams into reality. When he quit his day job as a cartographer and decided to go it alone, a good friend told him ‘Dude, your life will never be the same again!’ Farid was inspired rather than daunted, and continues to feel the same way, 9 years on. DURANGO, COLORADO, WHERE IT ALL BEGAN His first trail map, of Durango, Colorado, is something he looks back on fondly. Durango was home to the very first Mountain Bike World Championship in 1990, and Farid describes it as an outdoors-minded community that embraces bikes, especially mountain bikes. Maps already existed for Durango’s trails, but Farid’s was the first to properly explore the extensive network of town trails that traverse the area. The whole operation was, he says, a bit of a gamble. ‘I created the map, paid for the

87 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

printing and then walked into stores to try and sell them. They were a huge hit, and I owe a lot of the success of Singletrack Maps to the stores in Durango that said yes to selling that first map.’ And how does he feel about that very first map now? A solid foundation, it seems, from which his success would grow. ‘I feel like I started with a good cartographic skill set’, he reflects ‘but in the past 9 years I have learned so much about good design and what makes great cartography. I feel my maps have matured over the years from an amateur to professional level.’ A passion for his home landscape, his career as a cartographer, interest in biking, and a drive to try something independent and different led Farid to create the first Durango map. His maps are designed for the outdoors. They are folded and printed on waterproof paper, and aimed at all types of trail users, from mountain bikers to hikers, equestrians, all the way to motorized vehicles. Singletrack was founded in 2009, when Farid decided that, essentially, ‘life was too short to sit inside an office all day’. His day job involved making large wall maps of the North American energy industry, and though it was a good job, he longed for something more, - ‘really, I wanted the freedom to just ride my bike!’ Support was, luckily, forthcoming. ‘I was very fortunate to have a lot of people in my life encouraging me to make the leap to start Singletrack Maps. It can be a scary thing going to work for yourself, especially after trying to create and sell a new product but, looking back, I think I made a really good decision.’ >


GRIPSTER — The One Page Book


THE JOURNEY TO CARTOGRAPHY, AND THE INFLUENCE OF JIM ROBB Farid is one of those incredibly driven people whose vocation combines his passion for the outdoors with his specialist skills as a cartographer. Even now he remembers his first encounters with maps, which came in early childhood Montessori with simple tracing activities. ‘My favourite school subject was always geography, and when I arrived in college it was a subject that really spoke to me.’ An internship at the Cartography Lab, University of Colorado was another big turning point. Here he met Jim Robb, Lab Director. ‘Jim basically taught me everything I know, and he has remained a mentor and friend to this day.’ Jim was also the creator of the first mountain bike trail map of Boulder, Colorado back in 1982. Farid maintains close friendships with many of those he met at the Cart Lab and has collaborated with them over the years. He was recently involved in creating a Nordic Ski Trails Map of Aspen, Colorado, and another project creating maps for a book about three indigenous Arctic communities, overseen by Jim. And then to the outdoors – Farid has, in his own words, a deep passion for mountain bikes. ‘You could say my whole life revolves around mountain bikes. You can cover so much more terrain than on foot and flying through the forest is just a blast!’ Born and bred in the Rocky Mountains and living in the high-altitude town of Salida, Farid is used to alpine riding at its best. With the famous Monarch Crest Trail in your backyard, it would be hard not to fall in love with the sport. And speaking of love, as Farid recounts his recent honeymoon cycle tour through Portugal, he remembers also that his first date with his wife was in fact on a mountain bike!


90 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

MAKING A MAP IN 2018 MEANS KNOWING THE LANDSCAPE… AND THE SOFTWARE. And now down to the secrets of the trade… how does a trail map come into being? Farid explains the process is complicated and lengthy. ‘We put a lot of hard work into the fine details of the map. When we pick an area to map it takes roughly 4-6 months to complete the cartographic work. I like to field check our data and ride the trails for the area I am mapping. Being present in the terrain really gives me a thorough understanding of the geography.’ A good cartographer undoubtedly has many fine-tuned skills, and Farid is a perfectionist: ‘I can spend a lot of time trying to dial into the cartography. I was born and raised in Colorado and it helps to have a deep knowledge of this state and the geography that shapes it.’ The digital production involves the use of GPS, GIS software, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator where the bulk of the work is done. The maps are made as digital

BACK TO THE LAND Life as a cartographer, especially in a landscape as varied and dramatic as the Rocky Mountains, requires a unique relationship with the trails that navigate it. Farid holds the trails very close, how they ‘traverse fields, over and around mountains, and across valleys. Without them,’ he says, ‘there would be nothing. Across the United States, towns are finally beginning to understand the positive impacts of trails.’ In the Western US, Public Lands (government held) are highly important to maintain access to trails. In the high mountains of Colorado, many trails are old mining routes from the 1800s, so they are also steeped in local history. For Farid, trails are the best way to experience nature, in a world where ‘more and more interactions are happening in the digital format, it becomes extra important to spend time outside – there is something about riding a trail high above the tree line on a bike; you just can’t beat it!’

files, then printed and folded in Denver, Colorado. >

91 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book


92 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

Imagine being out on a weekend ride and

paper map is the perfect tool to unfold at a

seeing a group of people using one of your

table with friends and talk about each trail,

maps in the field! Farid often responds by

or which trails to link together for the best

approaching people, smiling and saying

ride.’ A passion for the great outdoors and

‘Can I help you find a trail? I made that

the stunning surroundings of Colorado is

map.’ Seeing people’s reactions is always

the perfect basis to build friendships, fit-

great fun. He cites his mentor Jim’s favour-

ness, and enjoy some down time.

ite phrase: ‘Maps are one page books’, they are living reflections, ‘they tell a story of the land and the infrastructure like trails and roads that flow across it’. Seeing people using them is always a joy. But how much of Farid’s time can he spend outside on the trails he loves? He tries to ride all of those detailed by his maps, as ‘its important to gain an understanding and appreciation for the area I am mapping… plus, its what makes this job fun!’ And fun is at the center of Singletrack’s mission – ‘a

Where are Singletrack Maps headed next? Farid is committed to continuing to expand his Colorado collection – ‘we’ve got so many great areas to ride here, and its definitely enough to keep me busy for a long time!’

93 GRIPSTER — The One Page Book

Singletrack Maps are sold in bike shops, outdoor retail stores and bookstores throughout Colorado and in Moab, Utah. The maps are also available from their website:


GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

Written by Martin Paldan

Photos by Martin Paldan and Carlos Paldan.


We all dream of the big, epic adventure. A bike loaded with carefully chosen and tested gear, sunsets and selfies on forgotten dirt roads in a remote corner of the world. —

96 GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

The dream is alive that one day you will be ready to embark on that long haul. The day you wave goodbye to friends and family, and find the big adventure has finally become real. Ahead of this great adventure are the days of much shorter rides and less epic adventures. Some even get the label micro adventures—but adventures nonetheless. When Carlos and I stop in Slangerup and get comfortable in the backyard of the pizzeria, we have done almost 40km on our bikes. We have crossed through the Hare Forest north of Copenhagen, had fun on the abandoned airfield in Værløse, scrambled on the ruins of the old Bastrup Tower—where Carlos got a liquorish pipe as a motivational surprise—and now we are waiting for our burger, kebab, fries and nachos. We’re on a bikepacking micro adventure.

“We enjoy the forward motion, each other´s company, and life. It’s father/son quality time of the best kind. Everything is perfect. For now.“

GRAVEL BIKES Our bikes look like classic road bikes, but you will soon notice that the tires are a bit wider and knobbier. They’re gravel bikes, a new type of all-round bike that, as the name suggests, is designed for riding gravel and forest roads. On these bikes we can choose the roads less travelled - it’s pure adventure on the backroads. Full and satisfied from our calorie-rich lunch, we jump back on the bikes. We continue north under a generous summer sun that makes biking the sweetest way of moving through the landscape. The gravel is singing as our tires ride the surface and it’s harvest time, making the air dry and dusty. We ride side by side and don’t need to worry about cars. Carlos has a sleeping mat attached to his saddle post and a small backpack with snacks attached to his cockpit. He’s wearing a proper cycling outfit; bibshorts with chamois and a jersey with back pockets. His tiny body is dancing on the bike. We enjoy the forward motion, each other’s company, and life. It’s father/son quality time of the best kind. Everything is perfect. For now. >

99 entrepreneurs saw a chance and started businesses constructing this bikepacking gear. After 70 k on gravel roads and country roads we make a right turn down Bishop Absalons Lane and reach the old ruin of Asserbo Castle in the forest. We ride a few hundred meters past the ruin and locate the old quarry with the shelter. We drag the bikes up the steep path and meet a group of seniors enjoying a picnic. They ask about our ride and we chat a bit. We ask if they plan to sleep in the shelter and learn that they are only here for a walk and a picnic. Carlos detaches his sleeping mat from the bike and seeks shade in the shelter. The sun is still high above the horizon, and I have promised Carlos an ice cream, so we make a quick 5 k dash along the ocean to the café on the beach. For a moment I consider leaving some of our gear in the shelter, but I don’t like the idea of leaving stuff behind. It doesn’t take up that much space on the bike and is essential for the adventure. It belongs on the bike, if the bike is in motion. We say goodbye to the seniors and cruise down the trail. The sun is flickering through the tall pine trees, and the first glimpse of the ocean leaves a good feeling of being north. Even a micro adventure can create big feelings.

DISAPPOINTMENT The ocean looks appealing for Carlos, and he decides to go for a swim. I stay in the dunes to guard the bikes. A nice excuse for avoiding the cold water. Soon Carlos returns with blue lips and a big smile. I admire his spontaneity and with a cocky look, he tries to get a second ice cream. But we need to return to the shelter to get a camp fire going for cooking and prepare for the night. A niggling worry is playing on my mind, and I have even let Carlos in on it, but we both believe in our luck. It has been a perfect day, and we’re loaded with positivity as we head back towards the shelter. As we approach the little hill that leads up to the shelter I know it’s bad news - I hear voices and sense activity. The shelter is occupied by two men and a few kids. I ask, but already know the answer. They are camping for the night. I hesitate and wait for him to continue with “but there’s room for…”. A second of silence is making noise in my mind, and there’s no words coming from him. I turn to Carlos and see his eyes are watery. It’s heartbreaking. We drag the bikes down

There’s plenty of activity in the big parking lot by

the hill and leave the shelter behind us. So close, yet

the beach, but not many people enjoying a dip in the

so far away. I comfort Carlos the best I can, while my

water. There’s a small line by the ice cream vendor,

mind goes through all kinds of possible scenarios.

and while Carlos studies the ice cream menu, I con-

We haven’t brought a tent, and I have even left my

template and enjoy the view of our bikes. Bikepacking

old sleeping mat as it took up too much space on the

is like classic touring, except that our bags are smaller

bike. What if it starts raining? Bivibagging is not the

and mounted directly on the frame, not on panniers

best option. I’m truly unhappy about the situation.

or racks. The reason for this direct mounting is to

The shelter option seemed so obvious that I hadn’t

avoid the rattle and bumping that would otherwise

thought of other options. A train station is not far away,

cause the bags to work loose and fall off. Bikepacking

but it will change the entire trip. Returning home now

is often done on dirt roads, so it’s necessary to have

would be a great disappointment for both of us.

a different approach than the classic touring style. It is said that the first prototype frame bags, handlebar rolls and seat packs where invented by the participants of the legendary Tour Divide race. With an incomprehensible distance of 4.4418 kilometers from the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the Mexican Plateau on variations of off-road, the gear went through some serious testing. The Tour Divide is self-sup-

In the low, thin rays from the sun, we bike with heads bent in sadness. The purpose of the trip was a father/ son adventure on bikes; camping, bonfires, packing our gear and venturing on through the Danish landscape the next day. The plan was simple and about being together. And we are. Together. Even though there’s a few bumps on the road.

ported, so all gear like tents or bivy bags must be car-

My plan is for us to reach another shelter in Strø Hills.

ried by the rider. It quickly became clear that it took

It’s 20 kilometers away, but I know that even the short-

special designs to keep the gear attached to the bike

est distance seems like a hundred kilometers for a

when venturing south on the back roads. Soon, nifty

little guy who most of all wants to sit around a camp-


GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles


100 GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

fire right now. We get to a country road and continue

It’s pure magic looking at maps. Sitting with a hot

on a cycling path. I spot a sign for Frederiksværk and

cup of tea in your hands and following the small

immediately change plan. What is the chance that

lines going straight, across or around squares of blue,

the next shelter will be free? It’s a weekend, and we’re

yellow or green, allowing you to construct flat, two-

most likely not the only ones out for a micro adven-

dimensional graphics into vivid, multidimensional

ture. If we arrive at the next shelter and it’s occupied,

dream images. The journey becomes an expedition

we have only the choice of giving up and going home.

into unknown territory. Can we ride this section?

I compose myself and announce to Carlos that we

How do we connect this forest with the next? I wonder

will go to Frederiksværk and check-in to wherever is

if the trail along the water is more scenic? Ideas and


expectations create a route to follow—a route of the

THE LITTLE YELLOW CABIN At the gas station I get my smartphone out. We ride the last few kilometers to Frederiksværk in silence,

heart and soul—maybe not the most fast or efficient, but it’s our route. It’s no wonder treasure maps are highly praised. We agree to head for Lynæs Havn in the morning, do some jumping and then ride to a

but our hope is still alive. I call a campsite, and our

ferry crossing at Sølager.

luck returns with an instant. They have one small


cabin left. I tell the lady that we are on our way, and that she should consider it booked! I repeat this a few

We’re not ready to hit the beds just yet. Maybe it’s

too many times, but I’m a bit desperate.

the freeze-dried food or (most likely) the candy. We

Armed with candy from the gas station we speed down through the city and locate the campsite down a small road. There’s a quiet, late summer mood and at the reception we need to hit the bell for service. We get the key and find our way down to a little yellow cabin.

have regained our energy and get out the bikes for an evening ride to the harbor area. The sun is about to set, and boats are slowly lulling in the water while couples stroll romantically along the pier. It’s getting darker and the sun is slowly caught up by the rotation of the earth. It’s important for me to give Carlos this

Our smiles have returned and we’re happy. I start

experience. He needs to see what the world has to

boiling water and get the freeze-dried food out of the

offer—and what he can offer himself in return. The

saddle bag. Carlos gets permission to open a bag of

feeling of presence when cycling is strong. He has

candy and picks a few pieces of liquorish. He’s listen-

felt tiredness, boredom, impatience and has dealt

ing to music on his phone while he waits for dinner. A

with it, worked with it and learned about himself. The

good rhythm to our adventure is rediscovered in the

adventure is what he makes of it. This moment in

little yellow cabin.

Frederiksværk is right now the most exotic place in


the world, because we’re here, together. IS THIS A DESSERT?

With our bikes inside the cabin, there’s not an abundance of room, but we manage. There’s a small dining

The sun is up, and we have slept like two bears in our

table, two beds and a tiny kitchen with a sink. All in

little yellow cabin. Time for breakfast. A delicious

one room. Our sleeping bags are spread out on the

blueberry soup is found in the frame bag and Carlos

beds and look quite attractive after a day in the saddle.

sets the table on the terrace with spoons and drinking

But they will have to wait for later. We spread out a

bottles. I eat directly out of the pack, while Carlos is

few maps we got at reception, and soon Carlos rec-

being a bit more civilized and pours his into a bowl.

ognizes Lynæs Habor on the map. He has been there

He carefully studies the pack and says “It’s a dessert!”

before and remembers a big bouncy castle. That’s a

- “Is it?” I reply and take a look at the pack. Yes, indeed.

great argument for choosing a destination. I notice a

It’s good stuff, and even though the sugar percentage

few sections we can do in the woods and even pass an

is quite high I’m sure we will burn it off quickly. This is

old stendysse (an arrangement of giant rocks mark-

not the time or place for bad conscience. What might

ing a burial site) on the way.

be dessert for other people in this moment becomes the perfect breakfast for two bikepackers. >

101 GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

102 GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

A quick wash of the few items we have used in the


cabin, and we’re on the road again. It’s a great feeling to break camp, pack your bike and navigate the

We cruise down the forest from Kulhuse towards

treasure map towards the next destination. I insist

Jægerspris. It’s perfect conditions for our gravel bikes.

we stop at the stendysse, and with strong vibrations

The forest roads are dry and even, and Carlos really

in our handlebars we pass the cobbles at Grønnesse

pushes hard. It’s great to see how he enjoys the speed

Farm. I smile at the sight of the twinkling ocean, and

and flow down the dusty roads. We are surrounded

while Carlos tries to climb the rocks, I get out the

by tall beech and oak trees, and the sky is barely vis-

small camera. To be honest I have shot more photos

ible through the rich foliage above us. The feeling of

with my phone than with this camera. It’s mostly

being deep in the forest is strong and to our left we

because I don’t want my urge to shoot photos to

spot the occasional glitter of the fjord as we dance

overtake experiencing the adventure with Carlos.

down towards civilization on our packed but agile

He deserves to have my full presence on this jour-


ney. A few shots with the smartphone is cool and otherwise I simply let the photo opportunities pass.

Our journey is coming to an end. We stop by a small harbor near Jægerspris in the hope of enjoying some fish and chips, but there’s nothing but boats rocking


gently in the water. Back on the bikes, we cross the Crown Prince Frederik’s Bridge and park our bikes at

The weather is gorgeous! We arrive at Lynæs Harbour and Carlos leads the way to the bouncy castle. Soon he’s doing front flips and back flips. A few other families are spending time together at the playground with kids a few years younger than Carlos, and they seem to prefer the swings. There’s hardly any wind and the temperature is constantly climbing as the day progresses. After a while we head over for an ice cream, and soon after cruise down the empty

the Route 66 roadside café. It’s busy, but we manage to find a table outside in the sun and watch as bikers arrive on their big machines. They might have a few more horsepower to handle than what you’ll find in our skinny cyclist’s legs, but we share the urge to ride the roads. I’m not sure how many kilometers we have ridden this weekend, as I mostly count smiles and not miles, but Carlos cares,

summer roads to the ferry station in Sølager.

so a rough count says well above 100 k. Carlos seems

We rest our bikes against a tiny red shack and gaze at

meters take us to the train station and the train will

the fjord. We spot the ferry on the other side. It’s not

bring us back to Copenhagen.

far, and the view and idea of a ferry ride get us both excited - what’s waiting on the other side? Carlos takes the opportunity to run down to the beach, probably to throw a few stones. Slowly the line of cars builds up and when the ferry arrives there’s five cars and a couple of bikes ready to embark. Carlos and I are two out of approximately 6.500 bikes that cross Roskilde Fjord each year with Columbus—The diesel driven,

quite satisfied with this estimate. The next few kilo-

The traffic stops and behind Route 66 the bridge is rising. Carlos gets up and runs off to watch, and as time stops on the ground, the only movement are the boats easing their way one by one under the bridge. Like two giant towers, the bridgeheads reach into the blue sky, saluting all adventurers—including that of two bikepackers.

70-year-old ferry. We pay the fare to a gentleman in an official cap with a little purse for handing out tickets. The fjord is calm and beautiful, and Columbus eases its way across. Carlos stands at the front, looking at the water and eavesdropping on the family next to him. He is relaxed and satisfied and seems to have found his rhythm in being on a bikepacking journey. I fully enjoy the eight-minute ferry crossing as a welcome change to the forest. I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit longer.

For further info about cycling in Denmark, please go to

103 GRIPSTER — Summer Smiles

104 GRIPSTER — Sun is Up


l on hot o o c y a t s How to our ride. y g n i r u d days

Opening your eyes to a glimpse of sunshine coming through the blinds, smelling that clear summer air still cool from the night, you are already excited for what the day will bring. The sun rises higher, throwing its light over the morning blossoms. Having a cup of coffee outside, enjoying breakfast, you can already smell the fresh grass and know that another gorgeous, hot summer day is about to begin. The perfect opportunity to spend a whole day outside in the saddle.

Text by Sophia Wehning


After strengthening yourself with breakfast and preparing some drinks and snacks for the ride, you almost forget to put on your sunscreen for the day. Picking out a short sleeve jersey and some short bib tights to get started seems natural considering the temperature, but when it comes to further accessories, most cyclists don’t see the necessity. Here’s what to consider…

Classic Low Cut

105 GRIPSTER — Sun is Up

SAFETY FIRST – PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE RAYS! Covering your upper body and parts of your legs helps keep away a big chunk of the UV rays. But what about the rest of your skin?

Wearing a helmet during a ride is mandatory if you’re going for speed. To add on a little more protection for your head you can wear a Summer Cycling Cap underneath your helmet, made from extremely lightweight, functional material. Next to the cap, there are many options which also assist you in transporting and soaking up the sweat around your head. In the end it’s an individual preference whether you go for a Summer Skull Cap, a Bandana or a Summer Sweatband. But no matter what option you favor, the right headwear will help you stay cool under your helmet, keep the sweat out of your eyes and help protect you from the UV rays.

Summer Cycling Cap

Summer Sweatband

UV Sleeves

GripGrab’s UV Sleeves are an easy way of protecting your arms without feeling like you’re adding extra weight. The lightweight, super-stretch material is not only breathable but also fits to your body like a second skin. The elastic silicon grippers ensure that the sleeves stay where they’re supposed to, even when you start to perspire.

NEVER LOSE YOUR GRIP The grip on the handlebars and in your shoes can become an issue, especially when sweating comes into play after some time on Regardless of what gear you choose to keep you comfortable, summer rides are destined to include coffee stops in the leafy roadside shade, with beautiful scenery as a backdrop. Hydrating on those rides is not only important for your body - a refreshing drink or an ice cream cone along the way will give you the complete experience of a summer day on the road. It’s not only restoring your energy level; a nice picnic with a view or a lemonade by the water can be a treat for the soul.

the road. Using the right socks and gloves can kill two birds with one stone – protecting you from the sun and sustaining your grip. Just like with headwear, picking out socks and gloves for your summer ride depends a lot on personal preference. Different choices from GripGrab’s product range for gloves include the Roadster, a short finger tan-through glove that supports you with a nice gel padding as well as an ultra-light and breathable material. In parallel to the Roadster we also recommend the Womens Solara; a short finger, tan-through glove with super light and flexible material. Another option is the Aero TT, a super slim fitting, aerodynamic glove that is made of mesh material to aid ventilation. For advocates of long finger gloves, we can offer the Racing, a pro level performance accessory with our InsideGrip technology, also produced in a lightweight material.


106 GRIPSTER — Sun is Up

VISUAL HIGHLIGHTS Last but not least, cycling socks not only assist you with soaking up and transporting sweat, they can also cover the sensitive skin around your ankle. Whatever height of socks you prefer, there is a variety to choose from for your summer rides. Classic LowCut Socks for example are barely shown but cover up your ankles nicely. If you are ready to brighten up your day (and not just by enjoying the nature outside), you are free to pick one of the eight Lightweight SL cycling socks that come in a range of different colors. For sure, they will be a visual highlight on your tour, pad your feet softly, and at the same time keep you cool with their Coolmax yarn . For the merino lovers, we can recommend the Merino Regular Cut sock. The in-weaved merino wool is extremely light and breathable, promoting sweat absorption even more and enabling your feet to breathe. Really, you want to enjoy your summer ride without having to think about the sunburn you might come home with at the end of the day. Just make sure to grab the right accessories, sunscreen and some cool beverages for your next ride, and you’ll be ready for whatever the summer day may bring!

Lightweight SL Sock

New lines Local guide Alex Mรถssinger on the Harbe Line, a new addition to the extensive network of sublimely shaped flow trails in the Bike Republic Sรถlden, Austria.


Photo by Martin Paldan


108 GRIPSTER — Off the Bike


Words by Thomas Jean Nielsen

Whether you’re bikepacking or just want to go for a picnic, you’re probably gonna be thirsty for a cup of coffee or espresso at some point. This time Off The Bike presents a guide to a good cup in the middle of the elements, away from busy civilization, away from home and where there’s no cafes in the vicinity.

The thermos bottle from Esbit is not only beautiful but also super functional and hardwearing, keeping your coffee and other hot beverages warm for a long time. It’s made from a lightweight metal with double-walled construction for better thermal insulation, so after 24 hours your hot drink will still be at least 60°C ... but it can also keep your cold drinks cool on hot summer days. It has two cups, perfect for sharing with others. If you just pour in hot water, it can be used in combination with the other two products on this page.


All you have to do is open the top of the bag, squeeze the sides together a little so it can stand by itself, pour warm water in from your thermos or primus stove and wait a few minutes until you have two cups of delicious organic coffee.

Another way to make great quality coffee on the go is with the AeroPress coffee maker. It looks like a big syringe and it can definitely inject some great coffee into your cup. There is even a fan-organised competition to see who can brew the most delicious cup of coffee with an AeroPress coffee maker. It not hard to use - you put in a small filter, pour in some ground coffee, top it up with hot water of around 80°C, stir a little, then put in the plunger and press that good coffee directly into your cup. You can find a lot of videos online on how to make the perfect cup with AeroPress, whether it’s coffee or espresso, and enjoy an even better cup than you usually do. Let the competition begin.

GRIPSTER — Off the Bike

The Coffee Brewer is an ingenious invention by the Danish company Growers Cup, and a convenient way to make a cup of quality coffee on the go. It’s not instant, but actual single estate coffee inside the bag, from fully traceable producers in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras and others.

110 GRIPSTER — Engine Room


TITLE European Key Account Manager SPORTS CX, mountain bike, road & gravel FUN FACTS Winner of the Men 30 category in the Swedish National CX Championships

PIERRE STJERNMAN Words by Alice Fitzsimons-Quail


Meet GripGrab’s European Key Account Manager Pierre was born and raised in Gothernburg, Sweden, and has been working with GripGrab since 2011. Before he joined us, he was working an office job at an IT company, and now considers it a great privilege to work in the business that is also his greatest hobby. We sat down with Pierre to find out what drives his passion for a life on two wheels.

How did you first get into cycling? Back in 1995, a family friend took me and a friend out for a short MTB ride near Gothenburg. That same year I finished 3rd in my first national MTB race in the boys 10-12 category. After that, I was hooked. The next year I did my first full season, including the Swedish nationals, and when I turned Junior (2000) I surprised myself by finishing 2nd in the Swedish MTB nationals. In 2001 I got to race with the Swedish national team at a couple of XCO World Cups and the European XCO Championships. What types of cycling are you into? Since 2005 I have been racing for fun, and also expanded from MTB to include road, CX and Enduro. Nowadays its all about having fun and enjoying the roads, trails and company of fellow riders! However, I did manage to win the gold at this year’s CX nationals in the Men 30 category. A fun fact - I’ve actually always been racing for the same club since 1996: CK Master, one of the biggest cycling clubs in Sweden, especially when it comes to youth MTB riders. What’s a typical day at GripGrab like for you? As the European Key Account Manager, I get to communicate with people all over Europe, and of course travel quite a lot. During our presale periods a typical day includes plenty of meetings and travelling. In between I spend more time at the office with planning and strategic work. What’s been your best moment in cycling so far? The experience of racing abroad is absolutely the most memorable, especially my first XCO Junior World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium. It was one of the first World Cups of the season and I hadn’t been picked out for the national team, so me and my father packed the car and drove the 1200km down to Belgium on our own. It was my first race abroad and I really had no clue what to expect from the other riders. I also remember the race as really hard and technical which obviously suited me – I crossed the

finish line 14th out of almost 100 riders, and outdid all the other Swedes there, including those in the national team. Any funny or embarrassing cycling stories you’d like to share with us? Warming up for a MTB race I once rode straight over a small dog! The dog was fine but the woman holding the leash wasn’t very happy! What are you training for in 2018? Having as much fun on the bike as possible. Right now I’m headed to Mallorca for a week of road riding, so the season is starting off in the best possible way! I’m also doing my first ever Enduro racing in the Enduro Sweden Series this season. It’s a completely new form of racing for me so I’m really looking forward to it. You look pretty intrepid from your Instagram! (@stjernman) Have you done many cycling holidays and trips? Back in 2004 me and two friends moved to Granada, Spain for 3 months (January to April) to prepare for the racing season. It was super low budget – I think we spent €1500 on everything: plane tickets, rent and food. We basically rode bikes and ate pasta and chicken solidly – it was great! I’ve also done some low budget Tour de France trips; packing the car with bikes, tents and a portable kitchen, driving 2500km down to the Pyrenees or Alps and jumping on the bikes. I also have a group of riders in my club that organize week long trips once a year. So far we’ve been exploring Mallorca, Girona and Malaga, just perfect to get away to some southern European sunshine in early spring! I really recommend this for any cyclists’ calendar. And finally, any tips for cycling locations in Sweden? I have to say MTB/Trail riding in Gothenburg is really something. The trails really are world class and the Swedish Allemans rätten (‘everyman’s right’ open access to land) makes them super accessible!

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Out in September A winter weekend exploring the Swedish West Coast. And much more cycling inspiration for the season.

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Gripster #02 - 2018