La Ruta Mar i Muntanya is a road cycling tour that is based in Girona, but travels from the Mediterranean into the foothills of the Pyrenees. Our most recent trip in October included 6 guided rides, cultural visits and culinary delights at some of Spain’s finest restaurants.
Girona is a walled city with a rich history dating back to the 1st Century. With a population of just under 100,000 and situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it is an ideal area to ride a bicycle as the roads are quiet and the countryside lush and scenic. As a result, many professional cyclists now base themselves there during the racing season. Life off the bike is also interesting, as the area has a rich cultural history and due to the diverse and plentiful local agriculture is home to many of the best restaurants in the world.
From Girona, you can ride some of the local mountains, such as Rocacorba and Els Angels, visit the museums, galleries and historical sites, shop on the Rambla de Catalunya, walk the medieval cobbled streets and the ancient stone wall which once protected the old town from attack.
Mariposa co-owners, Michael and Dede Barry made Girona their European home base while they were racing bicycles professionally and with their respective national teams at the Olympic and World Championship level. Moving there in February 2002, they had the intention of spending one season to experience a new culture, take advantage of the warm weather and use it as an opportunity for Michael to train with his teammates who were already based there. They loved the lifestyle and Girona was their home for 11 years, before they returned to North America to be closer to family.
For several years, Michael and Dede have organized road and gravel bicycle tours in collaboration with their Catalan friends.
“Each year, I rode tens of thousands of kilometers through the Catalan countryside while training for the professional races. The routes I sought were not only challenging roads into the mountains and along the coast, but also the most picturesque and serene. They were routes where a dozen cars, or fewer, might pass in five hours. Some were gravel roads that wound their way up a mountain, past secluded cork tree farms, orchards, or shepherds as they walked with their flocks.
Up in the hills with a friend, we would stop for a workman’s lunch in a country restaurant where a fire was roaring and the patrons were chattering about the day’s events over pints and steaks, before plowing on down the road and home. Of all the hundreds of thousands of kilometres I’ve ridden in my lifetime, the rides in Girona were some of the finest.
La Ruta is a weeklong tour on many of those roads. It stretches across the province, from the Mediterranean to the Pyrenees. The experience will be unlike any other: the countryside is idyllic, the riding technically and physically challenging and the cultural experience unparalleled.” – Michael Barry
Mariposa Bicycles in collaboration with Bikecat Cycling Tours, hosts custom road and gravel cycling tours in the Pyrenees, Girona, Priorat, Emporda and Cuenca regions of Spain for private groups of 8+ people. Our standard tours are 8 days / 7 nights and start at €2500 euro / $3700 CAD / $2800 USD per person. For more information, please contact us at [email protected]