Italian Trip 2019,Le Cime di Romagna

Ciao everyone is time to plan the 2019 Cycling Trips.We are offering 3 trips to all the SaddleDrunkers worldwide to join the members of the “SaddleDrunk Cycling Friends Club” in their trips.


We are planning 3 different trips.

The trips details will be published in the next few days.

Trip 1 is to Faenza our annual trip taking part at the beginning of April in the Appennines only 65miles away from Florence & 25 miles away from Bologna. This trip is ideal preparation for any spring classic events.

See details of the trip below & if you like to join us feel free to contact us.


Day 1 Friday 5th April

  • Flight with British Airways BA540 departing from London Heathrow at 8.00, arriving at Bologna G. Marconi Airport at 11.10.

  • Private transfer from Bologna Airport to Faenza where we’ll have lunch on route.

  • Stop in Imola by the old Formula 1 race track.

  • Arrival at Agriturismo La Sabbiona in Faenza & check in.

  • Bike preparation

  • Afternoon cycling ride including aperitif on the hills. Maps of the routes are available on Strava under SaddleDrunk Stef’s profile.

  • For non cyclist, relax at La Sabbiona, possible walk on the hills or around Faenza.

  • 8.30 pm Dinner at Osteria La Sghisa & night out in Faenza town centre.

DAY 2 Saturday 6th April

  • Relaxed morning start with breakfast 10 am approx. Cycling gentle ride (4/5 hours) with lunch en route. Maps of the routes are available on Strava under Stefano’s profile.

  • For non cyclists possible tour to Ravenna or Forli’.

  • Return and relax at the premises before dinner.

  • 8.30pm dinner in town at Casa Spadoni.


DAY 3 Sunday 7th April

  • Early wake up 6.30 am breakfast

  • 7.30am – 8.30 am French rolling start of the race

  • Ride to the event start in the town centre (

Three event route option to choose:

  1. Corto:

  2. Medio:

  3. Lungo:

Please advise which one you would like to do.Along the course there will be Italian style feeding stations.Finish of the event with a nice Pasta Party (included in the event entry) with food and drinks also available for the non racers.For non cyclists option to meet the riders en route while sightseeing through the hills.

Return to La Sabbiona relax and celebration dinner on site.


DAY 4 Monday 8th April

  • Relaxed morning start with breakfast and checkout, ride for maximum 3 hours.

  • 10.30 cooking course for those interested at cost of Euro 45 per person (2 hours course and eating what you have cooked).

  • Private transfer to Bologna Airport departure at 3.30pm

  • Return with British Airways BA545 departing Bologna at 18.50 and arriving at London Heathrow at 20.10.

In Italy we will be cycling on the other side of the road…

When riding please remember to take care of each others on and off the

bike. We leave together and we come back together on any ride with

exception of the Sunday race for which instructions will be given on site.

Price per person:

GBP 440 for cyclist on double occupancy

GBP 350 for non cyclist on double occupancy

GBP 480 for cyclist on single occupancy

The prices above include:

 Return flights with BA Economy class including 1 piece of luggage of 23kg

(additional luggage can be added at your own cost). The 1 piece of luggage

can be your bike bag.

 Private airport transfer for you and your bike.

 Private Transfers in town.

 Accomodation at Agriturismo La Sabbiona on a bed and breakfast basis.

 Le Cime di Romagna Event entry.

 Event jersey .

 Daily supported rides with guide and mechanical support if required.

 Complimentary sport nutrition.

 Celebration dinner on Sunday night including drinks.

At your own cost:

 All lunches and dinners with the exception of Cime di Romagna Pasta Party

which is included for cyclists and celebration dinner on Sunday which is

included for everyone

 Cooking course at Agriturismo La Sabbiona available at cost of £45 per

person (2 and1/2 hours course and eating what cooked)

 Cycling bibs of the Event kit available at £65

 Bicycle hire available please advise if required

 Bike box hire available at £30, please advise if required

 Travel insurance (we recommend Yellow Jersey Insurance. Discount code available)

 Incidental expenses


For more information please email us

Yunnan 2018 by the Riders

Ciao a tutti...I have decided to do something different...

Basically I have asked riders randomly their views & feedback about their experience at the Granfondo Yunnan 2019..

 Tom in the last stage

Tom in the last stage

Tom from London,United Kingdom.

A 30 hour trip to get there but the sun is shining and it’s nice and warm so all is good.  Had an evening and a lovely Italian meal in Hong Kong on the way.

We set off on the time trial – just 8km.  A beautiful rounding of a lake followed by about a mile climb at the end.  I start off quickly, too quickly – over take a couple of riders then hit the hill.  I make it up but slowly – my heart is about to explode.  I’m now overtaken.  17 minutes of full gas.  We finish at a temple at the top of a hill and enjoy views of the surrounding countryside.  Back into town to shower, deposit the bikes and enjoy a mass meal at the prizegiving in the town square.

Day 2 – stage 1: 105km from Mangshi to the Myanmar border at Ruili.Border Ride
Never done this before.  The start is mad – we’re doing 50km/hr at the start.  Lots of jostling for position and wheels.  Where’s Stef?  Just stay on the wheel otherwise you’ll be spat out the back.  The first 5km takes 8 minutes, the first 60 takes 90.  Never ridden in such a fast peloton for so long.  Didn’t mean to – there’s a lot of stages ahead but I couldn’t help myself, it was such fun.  Hit a hill after 60kms so slowed down but completed the 105km in 3 hrs.  Felt cooked, but satisfied.

Day 3 – stage 2:  145km Rock & Ruili Ride
2 big climbs then a long bumpy section to the finish back at the border gate in Ruili.  Not as mad as yesterday but still left the start at full tempo.  The hills break the peloton up so we ride in smaller groups and manage to enjoy the scenery a bit more and stop to take a few pictures.  The route is lined with villagers who have been shouting encouragement for hours already, even before we get there but they are still going strong.  Lifts the spirits.  Stef has a dance with them at the drinks station.  A much more relaxed day and more beautiful weather.

Day 4 – rest day, transfer to Tengchong
Convoy of coaches and trucks with the bikes.  We’re the only traffic on the deserted motorways

Day 5 – stage 3:  The Queen Stage - Along Gaoligong
185kms and not much of it flat.  Weather forecast is for rain so we set off fully togged up.  Turns out not so bad but Stef feeling ill so turns back.  I carry on alone and the sun comes out.  I’m now wearing too much.  Concern at the start is about whether I can get to the half way point before the cut off time but end up managing it with ease.  Take some photos with the locals – they all seem to want their photo with me.  But I’m not a celebrity!  A long flat stretch on a high plateau surrounded by mountains followed by a big climb to 2000m then downhill all the way back into Tengchong.  Feeling fitter already.

Day 6 – rest day, transfer to Dali
Another convoy of coaches and recovery from the hard stage yesterday

Day 7 – stage 4: The Lake Ride
A flat 115km flat stage around Dali lake, set up for the non climbers.  Lots of anxiety beforehand about getting in the right group, staying with them and managing a 40km/hr + average speed.  Another full octane start and a bit edgy.  Lots more jostling for position and no-one wants to get left in the slow group.  15km in and we’re in a group that’s catching the one in front.  It’s a big group and I’m surrounded with riders.  We’re doing 45km/hr.  All of a sudden I find my wheels in a 2 inch gully between the 2 halves of a concrete road.  I hit the deck and skid to a halt.  Fortunately no one hits me but both wheels are now punctured and rims damaged.  Good job I don’t need brakes on this stage.  Fix the punctures but all the fast groups have gone, as has my fast time.  Now the pressure is off we take some photos of the lake and get the best one of the trip.  Stef guides me the 100kms back to the finish in Dali.

Need to lick my wounds, sample the famed Dali fish soup (v good) and buy some sandpaper to smooth off the rims so that I can use my brakes on the final mountain stage tomorrow.  Transfer to Lijiang.

Day 8 – stage 5:  The Sky Ride
100km mountain stage with an early 400m climb to 2800m, a 30km descent down to the valley floor at 1700m and then a 30km climb to 3250m.  A stunning day all the way, glorious sunshine all day but the air is thin so on the downhills in the shade a little chilly.  The final 30km took 3hrs of 6-7% pretty much all the way.  Towards the end we were rewarded with views of snowy mountain tops which made it all worthwhile.  A small downhill to the finish and to be greeted with a beer at the finish line was a sweet ending.

Buses back down the mountain to Lijiang.  Everyone a bit relieved to have finished and celebrated with a big party and more familiar western food.  Then a couple of beers and pack to go home

Day 9 – Homeward bound
Early start to get to the airport, stop over in Shanghai for another amazing Italian meal and arrive back in LHR 6am Monday morning to a lovely autumn day.

What better way to end?

Next on the list are... 

Tom from the Netherlands/Beijing

“The Yunnan Gran Fondo is a great cycling event where over 7-day of riding you will build new friendships, experience beautiful and varied routes, diverse cultures and great food. All while cycling on 100% closed roads!” 

 Out for dinner.

Out for dinner.

Berwick from New Zealand /Beijing

Six of us cycling friends based out of Beijing, China, all traveled together to participate in the "Colourful Yunnan Grandfondo 2019".  As we got closer to the starting point the plane collected more and more cyclists all heading in the same direction. We were amazed that the plane could fit in all of the bike boxes!

The first stage was a short and fast ITT of 8.2 kms with a hill top finish next to a monastery.  What a welcome to Yunnan!  The following 5 stages were all longer rides travelling through the hills of Yunnan.  The last stage culminated in a 30km, 2000m climb with a mountain top finish. Fantastic.

Through all of the 650 kms and 8840 m,  we rode we were all amazed at the huge turnout from all of the villages we rode through. Many dancing troupes, all dressed out in local nationality dress, greeted us with chants of "Jiayou Jiayou" and powered us on our way.  All ages from toddlers to grandparents joined in as well, with thousands of smiles and waves as we passed by.

We all had a great time in Yunnan. Riding closed roads with great organisation made the whole event a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable time. Dining along the route, sampling the famous local food all added to the experience.

If you ever get the chance to participate in the Yunnan Grandfondo take it!  It is a beautiful part of China, full of character and wonderful landscapes.  The roads are fantastic and the whole event is a "cycling must do".

Berwick S., A New Zealander based in Beijing

 Sun Tan Lines just for stage.

Sun Tan Lines just for stage.

David from Slovenia /Taiwan/Shanghai

Yunnan granfondo was my best event that I have attended in 2018. For my opinion it is one of the best organized cycling events worldwide, with great stages, diverse terrain, lots of climbing, amazing scenery and phenomenal people. It is great for everyone, for those who race for good results and for those who just want to go easy and enjoy scenery. 


Nicole from Shanghai

Yunnan Granfondo is awesome! It takes place in a very unique region of China with beautiful landscapes, colourful culture and friendly people. All the roads are closed to normal traffic for the tour, logistics couldn´t be better. Cycling through many small villages, the villagers cheer and dance for the cyclists and create a special atmosphere.You can ride it as a race and push it as hard as you can or just take it a bit easier, stop a few times for pictures, a deep breath and to absorb the atmosphere. But be warned, the Queen´s stage is 185 km long and has a total gain of almost 3000 m altitude, which is not exactly a piece of cake and only recommended for experienced cyclists.I had a great time at this year´s Yunnan Granfondo and hope I can come back next year!

More will follow in the next few days & if you like to join in the Granfondo Yunnan 2019 please email us at 

 Local dinner in Mangshi

Local dinner in Mangshi



Final Stage..Ride to the Sky..

After cycling around the lake in Dali at 1900 m.s.l. We drove 3 hours to the starting town of the last stage Lijiang. The famous Sky Ride with a the finish line at 3300 m.s.l.


Chilly morning for the riders at the start line at 2500 m.s.l., the air was certainly fresh.

The locals & the music was keeping the rider’s soul warm. A sense of joy & nearly accomplishment could have been felt into the air due to be the last stage of this amazing week of cycling.


Over 1000 riders enjoyed 6 stage of cycling & astonishing views, sharing the passion of the 2 wheels with others from different countries ,backgrounds & culture.

Kris & his team delivered an outstanding piece of art from the race factor to the logistic & entertainment.


Kris every morning via the event We Chat group emphasised for safety purposes that the event was a “Granfondo” .

Granfondo means from its Italian origins a cycling event with at least 120km or more, a certain elevation gain, chip timed event and open to everyone of all ages.

That is why the Granfondo Yunnan is an event for everyone.Competitive riders & amateurs riders.


During the week while riding we wore only jersey & bibs.Gilet & arm warmers was also used at the start lines & at the finish line at altitude.So if you come for this event consider to be a summer event.Definitely end of the year event for those cyclists with a program.

If you like to take part at the next year edition please feel free to contact us via email

Until next time be safe on the roads.

SD Team


2018 Granfondo Yunnan...Part 2

Ni Hao again from the amazing Yunnan and as promised we continue to report back from the 2018 edition of the Granfondo Yunnan organised by Beijing based company Nordic Ways.

 Part of the Old Town of Teng Chong.

Part of the Old Town of Teng Chong.

Nearly 1000 riders arrived here the day before the stage in Teng Chong.

The logistic of Nordic Ways have been amazing especially to move around so many riders including bikes. Jade & her team have made our transfers smooth with great communication & collaboration.

Riders were able to travel in busses and bicycles were travelling well packed in the SF Express Trucks.

 The entourage of riders at the service station.

The entourage of riders at the service station.

As true 101% Belgian, Kris van de Velde, race director of the event has brought to the plate for the riders an amazing 185km with a total ascent of nearly 2600 metres where included all kind of terrains.

Kris selected the route to give the riders great memories enabling them to race & ride along cobble stones, gravels section, road sections along the volcanos and amazing little villages

 A bit of landslide happen recently but riders were still able to ride through.

A bit of landslide happen recently but riders were still able to ride through.

Some of the riders were tamed by this stage that on completion this was vanished by the euphoric state & joy of accomplishment.Unfortunately due to unhealthy body state I had to return to the start just after only 30Km.Please see route file here.

 Along the route stage 3

Along the route stage 3

 The sceneries enrolee were speechless.

The sceneries enrolee were speechless.

The day after we travelled to Dali to do the “Lake Ride” at an elevation of 1975 metres sea level and good training practice for all of the riders living at sea level.

Certainly as soon as the start shot gun was fired the pace was hard & we were all gasping for air,but after a while it was all back to the normal riveting hard. Unfortunately we had tactic to get Tom in the top 20 of his age group,but at km 18 at a speed of over 45km/h he was pushed into the concrete trail making him flying on the side of the road with just few bruises & 2 punctured tyres.

After admiring his crash I stopped and helped him out,he was in a bit of shocked but we had amazing views to cheer him up.After that the peloton was gone and for us there was only left to ride around the lake.

 Temple in the middle of the Erhai Lake.

Temple in the middle of the Erhai Lake.

In the evening Mark & Zhang took us out to try a local cuisine which included of an amazing fish soup ideal for our bodies.

 Zhang our new friend..A great cyclist & great helper with his language skills.

Zhang our new friend..A great cyclist & great helper with his language skills.

Ciao for now from Lijiang & if you want more info visit the event page here

to be continued…….


Granfondo Yunnan 2018...Part 1..

Ni Hao !

Ciao & Welcome to China in the beautiful & colourful Yunnan area.

 A view of Mangshi from the Temple.

A view of Mangshi from the Temple.

For me is the second time attending the lovely Granfondo Yunnan thanks to the great relationship with Niclas Hellqvist & Kris Van de Velde from Nordic Ways.

We(Tom & I) arrived from London on Friday in the local town of Manghsi where Kris picked us up from the airport to go to the hotel followed with a lovely catch up chat to inform me of all the new changes are in place this year edition since 3 years ago when i have last attended.

 The Start Line!!

The Start Line!!

The Saturday,which I was supposed to be home due to wife’s birthday, I was instead a prepping the bikes and get few bits & pieces(cit A.P) sorted before the 8.5KM Prologue (Individual Climb Time Trial) in the afternoon.

As expected knowing the great qualities of Kris to pick and choose for his events only the best routes, that in the afternoon we were going to have a go at something peculiar & stunning.

The start was by the side of a lake next to a dam,then we had to race around the perimeter of this lake with some “mangia e bevi” before hitting a nice 1.1 Km tree covered climb with 8% average incline finishing at the top by the entrance of a temple. Some of the serious boys here racing for the prizes made it in a stunning pace.

 Saturday night local dinner in Mangshi Square

Saturday night local dinner in Mangshi Square

Stage 1, on Sunday was the so called “ Border Ride” ,105km race to the town of Ruili coasting along the border with Myanmar(Burma) and finishing at the border check point. Due to the location & altitude the climate is tropical, where trees,plants & flower grow freely all year round to enable us to experience an enrich sceneries with plenty of colours & smells.

 Lunch Stop.

Lunch Stop.

After the stage some of us went together for lunch to an amazing restaurant.The groups of us was a mix of 14 riders from 4 continents and 13 nationalities.Taking part at Nordic ways events are always great experience,because thanks to our passion of cycling individuals from different origins comes together for the sport.

 Dinner time.

Dinner time.

Stage 2,on Monday we start & finished from the border check point routing us through the city of Ruili before hitting only after 9km from the start a nice 16Km climb with an average of 5% with peaks up to 10%. The ascent was pretty via little villages & nature before reaching the peak and throwing us descending into a false plain with a misty & foggy atmosphere. Followed by that we had at km 56 a climb for 10KM with an average of 6% before riveting in a serious of roller coasting hills taking us back to the finish line…

 Tom being chased.

Tom being chased.

Kris has been good to all of us participant giving us a rest day,so we could rest but also move from Ruili to Tengchong for the Queen’s stage(Stage 3) of the event with 185km with a total climb of 3000m.

 Teng Chong at Sunset.

Teng Chong at Sunset.

For now is Ciao & Arrivederci from Yunnan on Sunday the 11th of November part 2 will be published…