The EFRU cycling tour: The cyclists’ experience

September 26, 2013 in Newsletters

The EFRU cycling challenge has now become a regular event for EFRU members and a number of cyclists participate regularly.  Amongst the regular participants are Luan Vella and Winston Pirotta, both of whom train regularly and have been cycling for a number of years.

For both cyclists, this year’s tour was their third time participating in an EFRU cycling event. When asked about what makes them keep coming back to the cycling challenge, the cyclists replied that, not only are the people great company, but the EFRU takes things seriously and provides proper backup assistance to the cyclists.

“When I mean backup, I don’t mean a car simply driving behind the pack”

The EFRU were always around to assist as needed, pampering the cyclists all the way and continuously providing them with water.

“Maybe next time they can get some cakes with them to top it all off”, teased Winston.

Moreover, the ever-present and vigilant backup team included highly-trained advanced first aiders –who know exactly how to handle any emergency situation – as well as an off-duty General Practitioner;  thus giving the cyclists peace of mind knowing that their well-being was the main focus throughout the event.

Aside from praise for the EFRU backup team, both cyclists had very positive comments about the EFRU as an organisation, stating that the EFRU is well organised and the events are always thoroughly planned.  Winston claimed that the only thing he would change would be to add on one or two group rides before the actual event.

The cyclists explained that cycling abroad is always a challenge; even though the planned route may be available beforehand, new routes mean that you are never entirely sure what’s up next – flat land or a hill.

“The routes chosen by the EFRU have always been a very good balance for both the experienced and the average cyclist”.

The route chosen this year was mainly on roads with very limited or no traffic, allowing cyclists to enjoy the scenery.  This fact was not lost on Luan, who remarked that “Cycling up the Iblei mountains is always a challenge for me…and the 2013 event added spice to the usual route up to Lentini”.

In Winston’s opinion though, the routes followed on previous tours – across the villages beneath the Etna volcano – greatly rival this year’s route in terms of the breath-taking scenery.

When asked about any future events they would like to see organised by the EFRU, one of the cyclists suggested a longer challenge, possibly spread over three days.  Such an event would be more demanding on the cyclists, yet would provide a greater sense of accomplishment, not to mention more sights to see and views to enjoy!

As experienced cyclists, what advice would you give to anyone travelling abroad to participate in cycling events similar to the EFRU Cycling Tour 2013?

Winston:  “Just go for it… don’t think about it too much. Sometimes it’s tough, but the sense of accomplishment after the challenge makes it all worthwhile!”

Luan:  “The first cycling experience should be with a very good backup team.  Malta does not have long climbs and stretches for proper training, so cycling abroad might give a very different experience to your usual training.”