Recon ride of the Porto-Gaia Granfondo with Eddie Cycle Café

Porto is a city of great beauty, history, cultural variety, fine wine and food, beautiful landscapes, great roads… But there’s one thing that seems to have been missing from Porto, as a cyclist – an iconic meeting place, not just geographically, but also a centre point of the region’s cycling culture. On our Porto-Gaia Granfondo recon #ridewithus event, we may have found it – Ed Café!

Organized by Cândido Barbosa in conjunction with SwiftCarbon and We Love Eddie (partner of the event), our #ridewithus initiative was started with the philosophy of ‘inclusiveness’, to involve the city's cycling community and associated brands. For us, it is a great fit – to be involved with those who promote cycling and its roots in the local community. Adding another piece to the puzzle, we now have a superb place of departure and common place in Ed Café.

‘Together we are stronger’, as the old maxim goes – a good ride with great company is always more fun (and of course we have to add a pre- and/or post-coffee to make it even better and Ed Café is just the place). The café’s interior pays tribute to the greatest bike racer of all time – “The Cannibal” Eddy Merckx – and Belgian cycling culture as a whole. Coffee is central to any cyclist’s life and the owners of Ed Café are fully aware of that. Great coffee and snacks are served with the backdrop of walls adorned with photos, vintage jerseys of local teams.

On our most recent #ridewithus to recon the GF Porto-Gaia route, the coffee didn’t disappoint, which is more that we can say about the weather! It poured at the scheduled departure time, yet testament to the dedication of 25 brave riders, we set off after a short welcome and some motivation by former pro Cândido Barbosa aka “Rebordosa Rocket”, about what cyclists would expect at the next GF Porto-Gaia and a little description of the route itself.

Cândido was Group-Leader #1 taking the larger group through the Mini-Fondo route, which heads along the Volta à Barragem, one of the most traveled routes by local cyclists. Soon after, Pedro Dias spoke about SwiftCarbon and the reason the brand joined forces with the event as partners, “We wanted to get more connected with the local cycling community and of course increase the brand awareness – tell (and show) riders our bikes.” Soon after, there was a brief description of the Medium-Fondo route, and then time to ride the route recon, with is made up of about 110km of constant ups and downs along the Douro River and adjacent mountains.

Shortly after the start, the weather started to improve and the rain stayed away. A nice compact group formed and we all managed to push a little on the climbs and even more on the descents (anyone who’s ridden an UltraVox knows the feeling of confidence, with the character of the bike exuding predictability and stability, especially shining on rougher surfaces and at high speeds.

In the end, the computers showed 100km in 3h30 with 1800m of climbing – not bad at all!

Also, yet another block in building a happens and inclusive cycling community and making our cycling lives better.