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At Signature Cycles, we love bikes. Hopefully, that should hardly be a surprise — our passion for cycling is what's built our business and local cycling community, it's in the DNA of everyone who works here. But our love of bikes isn't just about technology, craftsmanship and stats; it's about what a great bike can empower you to do, where it can take you, and the life-changing experiences it can deliver.

At the close of 2023, we've been reflecting on the best experiences we had on our bikes here at Signature, the rides we'll look back on and remember for years to come. Here, each of our staff members have chosen their Ride of the Year.

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Andres Vargas
Bicycle Technician

Transcordilleras, Colombia

This year, I’ve been able to do some extremely technical and challenging rides, including the ENVE Grodeo, and Vermont Overlands, both long races with over 7,000 feet of climbing. But for the hardest, most beautiful ride of this year, it has to be the bike-packing stage race completed in Colombia this February, the Transcordilleras.

This was my second time participating in the event, but that was no advantage, as they change the course every year, exploring different parts of the country with every edition.

The February edition started in Melgar, a resort town southwest of Bogotá, crossing through towns to start in the second stage of the Paramo of Sumapaz, one of the biggest sources of water in the country. The race finished in a town named Guasca very near the lake of Guatavita, famous for being the origin of the legend of El Dorado. In only three days, we had cycled through countless landmarks important to Colombian culture, and completed one hell of a tough ride. 160 miles, 28,000 feet of climbing, on about 70% gravel!

But as amazing as the riding is, the community around Transcordilleras is what makes it so special. I was able to bring friends from Connecticut and show them a real Colombian gravel experience, and reconnect with friends from the 2021 edition. Even on the road, everyone will greet you with a smiling face, open for a chat. I can’t wait to return next year.

We're currently taking bookings for a bespoke Colombia cycling trip of our own — click here to find out more!

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Juan Vargas
Head of Purchasing and Merchandising

Assos Speed Club KOM Challenge, Greenwich CT

After becoming a dad for the first time at the end of 2022, and having some medial complications at the height of Summer 2023, I’ve not ridden by bike as much as I would like this year. That said, I have still had some unforgettable rides in 2023.

The ride I chose to be the best of the year took place in my home town of Greenwich, on one of the most enigmatic climbs in the area, Keeler Hill. This was the Assos Speed Club ride we organised, celebrating our partnership with them, and a new partnership with BMC. We called this ride the KOM Challenge.

It was a ride where everything was just perfect. The slight, misty rain gave a special touch to the ride, making the route a little more difficult and even more fun. It was also my first ride of my Lightweight bike, a 13.01lbs bike that couldn’t be more suited to that kind of ride. Add the luxuries of a companion car, a professional photographer, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day in the saddle. The ride was 60+ miles and I’m proud to say I spent most of the time in the main group, a great motivation for future rides.

What really made the ride were my teammates. Most of the participants were wearing the same Signature Cycles kit, giving the ride a great community feel, and their support made the ride even better. Thank you all.

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Santiago Santana
Head Technician

Lime Rock Epic, Lakeville, CT

My ride of the year would have the be the Lime Rock Epic. This was an upstate New York ride on a windy and cold day, perfect weather for an autumnal gravel fondo. Starting very early in the morning, this 53 mile gravel ride showcased some of the best of the Berkshires, with waterfalls and historic covered bridges. Juan, my co-worker, and I rode the ride together, with him kind enough to stay with me even when cramping up and struggling to keep going.

Whilst this wasn't my fastest ride, it was an important one for me, as it's helped me gain some more confidence and motivation to ride. It reminded me that riding is something that I love, and should make more time for in 2024.

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Alex Hellner
Fit Technician

Natchaug Explorer, Thompson CT

I joined the Signature team In January of 2023, and have had the pleasure of enjoying several great rides. Mostly in pretty good weather, too.

My favorite route and ride was the Natchaug Explorer. This year it was sixty seven miles of mixed gravel and pavement with great views, a good variety of riding surfaces and a few great rest stops. Technically this is a race, but I wasn't feeling especially competitive against anybody but myself. As this was my first gravel race, I was far more focused on enjoying myself rather than suffering for a better race result. I didn't suffer any injuries or falls, and I was very pleased with my bike of choice for the whole ride, even though it's not technically a gravel bike. My rig of choice for that ride was a 2019 Cannondale F-Si Carbon 4 that I mostly rebuilt into a fully rigid do-just-about-anything style bike. I chose to ride on Schwalbe G-One Speed tires, and in size 29x2.35" they weigh in at 560g each. That's pretty darn low weight for a high volume tire, and one of the ways they achieve it is by using a minimal tread pattern instead of big grippy knobs. There were a few moments on the ride where I probably would have benefitted from some side siping, but overall I was more than happy with how well I floated over the rough spots with relative ease while maintaining control at speed. My silent Onyx hub allowed for easy conversation with other riders while on the course and the instant engagement helped in all the technical areas.

There was a course alteration the day before the race, so I was expecting to do ~60 miles with ~4k ft elevation gain, but instead did 67 miles and climbed 5240 feet, so I was reasonably haggard by the finish line. Thankfully there was a good meal and good company waiting for me!

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Abraham Soler
Co-owner, Lead Fit Technician

The Rift, Iceland

Back in July of 2023, at the height of Summer, I travelled with a client and friend, Eric and his friend Garrick to Iceland, to take part in the Rift, one of the toughest and most spectacular gravel rides on the planet. A member of the prestigious Gravel Earth Series, this was going to be a ride I would never forget.

After a surprisingly easy flight from the East Coast, we arrived in Iceland. To give some context, before the first NASA astronauts were sent to the Moon in the 1960s, they were sent to Iceland, the island nation’s volcanic craters and rocky landscapes bring the stage to rehearse operating on the lunar surface. To call Iceland otherworldly is an understatement. However, for as stunning the landscape is, the terrain is equally challenging, with sandy roads, steep climbs and multiple river crossings.

Riding my tried and tested FiftyOne Assassin, a bike that has proven it's excellent gravel capability on more than one occasion this year, I finished the 200km ride, side by side with Garrick. The Rift is a truly fantastic event, one that will push you to your limits and further. Our memories of this trip will stay with us forever.

Read more about the Rift in our full journal documenting the ride here

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Ruedi Laager

Vista Tour de Shore, Greenwich CT

I was fortunate enough to ride in some amazing places with some wonderful people in 2023. Starting the year in Australia, then a long weekend on Mallorca before spending an amazing week with clients in the Girona region in late spring.

That said, one of my most special days on a bike this year was a lot closer to home. Together with a couple special clients from the shop, and member of our coaching team CCNS, we took part in the Vista Tour de Shore, this October. This ride is a fundraising event for the Vista Life Innovation organization, which provide outstanding services to individuals with disabilities and their families.

The best part of the way was riding on a tandem with my son, Daniel. Daniel is a Vista program participant, and had been anticipating this day for a very long time. He wanted to take the 25 mile route through scenic shorelines south of Old Saybrook, a beautiful route which also included many stops for snacks and cookies, which I suspect is Danny’s favourite part of the ride! After peddling hard for the first hour, he was quite happy for me to be the motor for the rest of the way back home, more focused on cheering other riders, and greeting the locals with a big smile.

It was so special to be able to spend some quality time with my son, and to give back at the same time. The Tour de Shore is truly a testament to what cycling can do, and the change that it can make to great causes like this.

Click here to donate to Vista Life Innovations, and click here to read more about Signature's charity work in the local community.

We can't wait to see what 2024 brings. Whatever happens, one thing is for certain — we'll be on our bikes, riding and exploring, and empowering others to do the same.

We hope you'll be able to join us, at weekly rideouts, and even further afield! We're currently taking bookings for our April 2024 trip to Colombia, a cycling camp with 7 days of unforgettable riding, and even an exclusive visit to friends at Scarab Cycles. We guarantee, it'll be your Ride of the Year in 2024. Click here to find out more, and book your spot!

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Our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide