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Found 11 results

  1. Those of you who have been following the "Big Adventure" thread at I started back in May 2015 will know our story already, but for anyone who has managed to miss it, here's a brief summary: In 2013 we decided we wanted to move from SA back to Europe. I'd been in SA for 8 years at the time (I was also there for 8 years as a youngster) but "Wendy" had been in SA for most of her life. We both have UK (& SA) passports but we really wanted to end up somewhere that at least has a guaranteed summer and the UK does not fit that criteria. Northern Spain was top of my list for several reasons, not least of which was access to Cycling in the Pyrenees Mountains. After a couple of exploratory trips to Spain, we ended up buying a "Barn" in the village of Guaso in the Aragon region of Spain. Guaso is a hilltop village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is a 5 minute drive away from the small towns of Ainsa & Boltana and thanks to its location on the warm south facing side of a hill, enjoys its own very favourable “micro-climate”. We are going to convert the Barn into a 4 Bedroom "en-suite" B&B that understands and caters for cyclists (although everyone would be welcome of course). We've had plans drawn up, planning permission granted and builders quotes obtained. The original plan to cover the cost of the renovation / conversion was for us to put in our savings and borrow the balance from the bank. The regional department of commerce carried out a favourable viability study for us & the banks and the local bank managers were happy with our applications. When the bank managers (we've spoken to several banks) sent our applications to their respective head offices it became apparent that it was not going to be as easy as we'd thought to secure a loan. In a nutshell: Pre the 2008 financial Crises, Spanish bank managers (much like bank managers in the UK and the US) lent money without proper approval to literally anybody and his dog, holding the property deeds as security. As the Crisis hit it became apparent that people had spent the money on all sorts of things and now couldn't pay it back. Half-finished properties were repossessed to be sold off, but the numbers were so large that the banks ended up with more properties than they could sell and the market flooded. (which is why we got our property for the price we did). The downside though, is that banks can no longer accept your property as security against a loan. That leaves us with two options: Option 1 is for us both to get full time jobs, which would qualify us for a mortgage. Option 2 is for us to look for some form of private investment. Unfortunately, for various reasons including language and the type of work on demand locally, Option 1 is just not viable. (Of course we knew that when we came here - the plan was never to have to look for full time jobs, the plan was for us both to run the B&B and associated services, which in itself is going to be a full time job for both of us!) So that leaves Option 2. To try and raise the funds we need via sources other than the high street banks. Now this is something neither of us have ever had to do before. We've both had various mortgages/loans over the years - but always through a recognised bank/building society or, in the case of vehicles, loan company. I know there are a fair few financial bods on here as well as a number of (small) business owners. What we're looking for (aside from a suitcase full of money) is any advice, on how to move forward. There are some things that we do already know or have already considered: 1) We do know that if we don't involve the banks then we can split our project into three stages (as I've mentioned on the Big Adventure thread). 2) We believe that one possibility for funding the second and third stages of the project would be via some form of "Crowd-Funding" (essentially a time-share type setup where people get a holiday every year (for themselves or a nominee) for a number of years using the finished stage(s) of the project) A downside to "Crowd-Funding" is the admin cost that the organisers take. Percentages vary anywhere from 5 to 9% of the total amount raised. 3) We know, because it was shown to be true on the Dept. of Commerce viability study, that this area is growing, our business plan is sound and we will succeed. . 4) We remain confident that buying the property we did, where we did, was a good idea. Almost everybody that I guide, regardless of where in the world they come from (from Brazil to New Zealand and everywhere in between), wants to see our barn and hear our story. They all love our place, the tranquillity of the village, see the potential in the property and encourage us not to give up! 5) The time we have already spent here interacting with visitors has taught us exactly what it is that people are after when they come here to stay. (Being cyclist ourselves, we already had a pretty good idea, but you can always learn a bit more). 6) We have realised that instead of running a B&B "with some cycling/guiding thrown in", there is actually a very big market for proper organised cycling holidays - both MTB and Road based. To that end we have spent time working with and forging relationships with, the local bike repair/hire shops, the local uplift taxi & bike services, restaurants etc etc and we now aim to provide, alongside a basic B&B service, full-blown guided cycling holidays..... Lots of ideas & plans and lots of enthusiasm. Maybe with the help of our Hubber friends we can work out a way forward from here. In the meantime, we're constantly promoting the area, I'm MTB guiding (and making friends with) some very nice people - some of whom have already made return visits, and we're both working enough to keep our heads above water and food on the table. . . . . Tranquilo - Todo a Tiempo. (Stay Calm, Everything in its Time) Tony & Andrea.
  2. The Pyrenees - I never get tired of looking at them. . . . . As the title suggests, I'm going to try and fill this thread with all manner of interesting, funny and/or informative cycling related things from this beautiful part of the world and the surrounding areas. :-)
  3. As some of you may know, myself and "Wendy" have been talking about moving from SA back to Europe for quite a while now. Our "dream" is to run a B&B / Guest House somewhere near the Pyrenees mountains, either in North Eastern Spain or South Western France. We will cater for anyone wishing to stay, but plan to offer extra services that make us especially appealing to fellow cyclists from around the world. Given our limited budget (and our love of hard work ) the intention is to buy a reasonable priced property in need of renovation that we can tailor to suit our needs. We will then carry out the necessary work and, hopefully before we starve to death, open our doors to the paying public. Our friends & families, our ex-colleagues (some of them anyway) and lots of Hubbers have asked us to document our progress so that they can see how we're progressing. The next 6 months are going to be interesting (and more than a little bit nerve-wracking!) to say the least. To that end (and hopefully with the Site Admins permission!) I am going to use this thread as a "Blog" to post our progress. We would welcome any warnings or advice Hubbers may have, we will answer any questions we can and, of course, you can take the mickey out of me when I get something silly wrong. (I say "me" because Wendy doesn't make mistakes) We will also be documenting our progress using a "Facebook Group". It is a closed group at the moment but if you have FB and want to follow us, just PM me on here your FB email address and I'll add you to the group. Not everyone likes FB but for us it's an easy way to post pictures and keep in touch with lots of people all over the world at the same time. It's almost as if that's what FB was designed for . . . Wish us luck :-) B&W The original "moving to Spain" thread is here: https://community.bikehub.co.za/topic/141705-one-of-the-reasons-were-looking-forward-to-moving-to-spain/
  4. I'm off to Andalusia Spain in a week and have just been told i'll be riding a Rose Pro SL. Never come across Rose before, anyone got one/ridden one? Interested to know what they're like from first hand users. Also, if anyones ridden in this area then route advice would be cool, epic climbs worth doing etc Cheers
  5. Vuelta a España that will take place from the 20th of August to the 11th of September. Vuelta a España 2016 - Team Start List: Ag2r La Mondiale (FRA) Astana Pro Team (KAZ) BMC Racing Team (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA) Etixx - Quick Step (BEL) FDJ (FRA) IAM Cycling (SUI) Lampre – Merida (ITA) Lotto – Soudal (BEL) Movistar Team (SPA) Orica GreenEDGE (AUS) Team Dimension Data (RSA) Team Giant – Alpecin (GER) Team Katusha (RUS) Team LottoNL – Jumbo (NED) Team Sky (GBR) Tinkoff (RUS) Trek – Segafredo (USA) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (SPA) Bora – Argon 18 (GER) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
  6. Banned cyclist to collect huge damages payout by Agency Staff, February 02 2016, 06:00 Agency Staff February 02 2016, 06:00MADRID — The Spanish government has been ordered to pay more than €720,000 in damages to former cyclist Roberto Heras for his reversed suspension for doping in 2006-08. Spain’s national court in Madrid said in its decision that the amount of €724,904.86 corresponded to what Heras could have earned during his two-year suspension. After testing positive for the banned hormone EPO in September 2005 after the Vuelta a Espana, Heras had his victory in the race stripped and was banned for two years by the Spanish cycling federation, causing him to retire. The ban was subsequently overturned in the Spanish courts in 2012 due to irregularities in the screening of his urine test. Judge Berta Santillan Pedrosa ruled the Spanish government was responsible for the error and liable to compensate Herras. Lawyers for the state have until next Monday to lodge an appeal. The cyclist and his company, which manages his image rights, lodged their case against the state in January last year, claiming more than €1m in compensation to offset losses caused by the sanction. The decision is another legal setback in the fight against doping in Spain, which has often been accused of being soft on drugs in sport. AFP http://www.bdlive.co.za/sport/othersport/2016/02/02/banned-cyclist-to-collect-huge-damages-payout
  7. This is fantastic news for us - it's where we are going to live! "Huge congratulations to Centro BTT Pirineos Zona Zero in Spain (EWS Round 7) for taking the Pinkbike Enduro Race of the Year Award! The results were decided by 50 of the sport's top riders and media who'd all been at every race this year. Well done to all the events nominated - putting on an enduro race is a massive undertaking and they all did a fantastic job." (Auto translated from Spainish - edited by me!) "It's an honor that the "Specialized Bicycles Opel España Enduro Festival" hosted by Zona Zero in September 2015, the seventh race of the Enduro World Series, has received the recognition of Pinkbike as the best Enduro race of 2015. Even more significant because the vote was cast by the top racers and journalists. It wasn't a perfect race, we are aware of this, and we have a lot to improve, so this gives us strength and vision to try to do so much better in coming years. This award is vested in all who made it possible to hold the event, both our public and private partners, such as the entire Society Ainsa and Sobrarbe, all participants, public, the media and especially the more than 200 volunteers on the ground who worked from sun up to sun down (and from moon to moon), doing everything necessary to make this a success. Correcting in real life the mistakes we made on paper and doing it all with good vibe and smiles throughout the week. Well done guys! Next year, with the help of Bonus from South Africa, will be equally as successful, if not better" http://www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-awards-enduro-race-of-the-year-winner-2015.html
  8. la Vuelta 2015 starts on Saturday 22nd August with a 7.4km Team Time Trial from Puerto Banus to Marbella and finishes three weeks later on Sunday 13th September in Madrid. As luck would have it, I will be in Spain for some of that time :-) Hopefully I will be able to get to see a stage or two! Profile for the TTT:
  9. "This cyclist was traveling on a road when a van from Girona passed him within the 1.5m limit, practically brushing against him and threatening his life. The rider wore a camera and this allowed the Mossos de Esquadra to prosecute the driver. The penalty was a 200 euros fine and four penalty points on his license" Video here: http://www.antena3.com/noticias/sociedad/doscientos-euros-multa-conductor-que-acerco-demasiado-ciclista_2015072300526.html (Translated from the Spanish story)
  10. Daryl Impey will represent South Africa at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships taking place in Ponferrada, Spain, from 21-28 September. // Photo credit: Graham Watson. Impey’s inclusion has not been at the expense of any rider on the national team. However, Jay Thomson, who was scheduled to race in the Time Trial, will no longer be competing. Both Thomson and Impey opted not to race the Time Trial as they felt they had not spent enough time on the time trial specific bike in the lead up to Worlds. Impey will focus on the road race. Ex professional cyclist and South African Champion, Robert Hunter, will also be in attendance and will assist with the team manager duties. Hunter’s expertise in the professional cycling environment will be of a great advantage to the South African team. Cycling South Africa extends a huge thank you to Team MTN-Qhubeka team principal, Douglas Ryder, and his team for the services of their bus driver and their mechanic for the World Championships. Team MTN-Qhubeka is based in Italy and the use of their infrastructure is a valuable resource for the national team in Spain. The bulk of the national team will depart from South Africa on Friday morning, 19 September. They will join the rest of their national teammates in Spain. The full team that will represent South Africa at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships is as follows: Elite Men Daryl Impey Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg Jacques Janse van Rensburg Under 23 Louis Meintjes Jayde Julius Kevin Patten Willie Smit Elite Women Ashleigh Moolman Pasio An-Li Kachelhoffer Heidi Dalton Junior Men Gustav Basson Ivan Venter Graeme Ockhuis Stefan de Bod (Non Traveling Reserve) Junior Women Monique Gerber Michelle Benson Catherine Colyn Management Bosseau Boshoff Robert Hunter Megan Earl We wish the national team all the best in their efforts and achievements.
  11. Daryl Impey will represent South Africa at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships taking place in Ponferrada, Spain, from 21-28 September. Click here to view the article
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