It’s not often that I’m truly blown away by an exceptional experience. But a weekend of riding with Soigneur, thanks to Shimano Australia, exceeded all my expectations.
Words - Mike Boudrie Images - Jeff Curtes
I was lucky enough to get the call up to the ‘Gran Fondo Experience’ by Shimano Australia. Daniel and Jason from Soigneur would be hosting two days of riding in Victoria’s King Valley. Let’s just say, it did not take long for me to make my mind up about going.
Soigneur has made a name for themselves by taking cyclists to some of Australia’s best and lesser known rides, or as Soigneur put it ‘the road less ridden’.
I’ll try my best to give you a peak into the entire Soigneur experience. It’s not easy to communicate, but to say that every aspect of your weekend has been carefully planned and considered by the guys is an understatement. It’s more than that; it’s an entry into an entirely different world.
From the moment I arrived at the house where Sam, the Soigneur mechanic, gave me a genuine and warm welcome and took my bike away for a clean and service, through to the rides the entire experience was amazing.
A fantastic dinner showcased locally produced ingredients. I’ve got a huge weakness for good bread, and the options from Woodfrog Bakery left me a happy man. Daniel and Jason do a great job with the cooking. Dinner was almost a family affair and the combined excitement for the next few days bought our group together quickly.
Dinner was followed by a description of the schedule for the following day, including a run through of the entire route on a large map. Daniel gave a great overview of the route, meaning that we could head out on a new ride knowing what to expect and look out for.
Our two rides included the Sam Miranda Gran Fondo and a 120km loop starting and finishing in Tatong on day two. We’ll be releasing an article showcasing the day two route that included beautiful and quiet roads, a stunning dirt road climb and rolling hills. Believe me, this is a ride not to miss out on. Put it on your ‘must do’ list.
We were all issued with a Soigneur musette with a program for the weekend, a strictly limited Soigneur cap and a ‘Road Rash Kit’ jersey pocket sized first aid kit. We featured this product on La Velocita a while back. It’s a great idea and well worth the small investment.
Support from the Soigneur guys during the rides is excellent. There’s no need to carry anything except your water bottles… I did still carry my spare tube and pump, I just did not feel right getting on the bike without them.
You’re provided excellent homemade nutrition along the way from Soigneur, natural hand made bars by Angela Weigard and gels and bars from Good Fuel Co. There’s also offers of water or sports drink from Skratch Labs (via FE Sports) along the way.
‘Morning tea’ was one of my most civil experiences of a picnic of all time. I’ve done a lot worse trying to set up a picnic in my local park. Freshly brewed coffee from Maker Fine Coffee, fruit, sandwiches, water, drinks, home made snacks, biscuits, all in the middle of nowhere. Amazing.
After each ride our bikes were washed and serviced so they are ready for the next day and there’s no cleaning a dirty bike when you get home.
If you’re looking for a truly exceptional cycling experience I could not more strongly recommend the Soigneur experience from Daniel and Jason.
Trouble is, that not I’m still coming to terms with not having the 'Soigneur treatment' on every ride.
Head to Soigneur’s website here to check out their future trips.