La Réunion, Mafate

sea, ride & sun in Réunion

I really do like Stockholm, no doubt about that. I like the city for the perfect mix it is between urbanized areas, forests or parks and lakes or the Baltic Sea, and the best way to enjoy that environment is in my opinion to wander around walking or, even better, riding a bicycle.

The best time of year to do so would be, for most people at least, summer but Stockholm is a whole different but as beautiful city in winter! Unfortunately I have to be a bit more objective and I must admit that winters are a bit rough even for the most committed riders and one needs a break from snow and ice once in a while.

I suppose I don’t really have to justify myself but after my 8th winter up here I finally did what a lot of Swedes do sometime between November and March: I traveled to a warmer place, in the south hemisphere and on the 2nd of February I was sitting on a plane bound for Réunion, an eleven hour flight from Paris (following a 2 hour flight from Stockholm to Paris).

Addiction being what it is I could not travel that far and not ride some of the local trails and since packing a bag for such a destination is quite easy (you basically just need a couple of t-shirts and shorts) I had room for Crank Brothers Mallet 3 pedals and a pair of Five Ten Cyclone shoes (my usual mountain bike setup).

Ready for departure

I did not spend 10 days riding a bicycle over there (that was definitely NOT okay with the wife) so I had to pick the one thing I really wanted to do on an island that basically is a big volcano: downhill mountain biking or to put it in cycling figures a 3 hour ride that started at 2,205 meters and ended at sea level.

Three hours of downhilling on various grounds (volcanic rocks, muddy soil, …) and through amazing landscapes (volcanic desert at the top, forests of Highland tamarinds, sugarcane fields, …) on a rented full suspension Kona bike.

Downhill in Réunion - The Maïdo

It was an amazing experience (even though it gets pretty warm with a full face helmet when it’s already 35°C+ outside – 95°F+) and I hope I can soon post a video shot by a fellow rider. Stay tuned.

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Laurent Pignon

Born in 1980 in France. Got lost in Finland in 2002. Living in Sweden since 2005. Daily, year-round, rain snow or shine bicycle commuter since 2012. And yes, that’s lots of dates.

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