Before we started making custom cycling & triathlon clothing, our original business was a cycling tours business, set up was with Fernando Carvalho who in the 1990s was Portugal’s leading cyclist; the business was immediately very popular, since nobody else was offering this kind of tour in Portugal at the time and there was a growing appetite for cycling trips for “serious” cyclists across Europe.
Along the way, we discovered custom cycling clothing and Carvalho Custom was born – at the time cycling was still a niche sport and there were very few companies offering custom cycling clothing and even fewer making the kit in southern Europe and selling directly into northern Europe, which meant we rapidly had more orders than we could possibly process. So we decided to dedicate ourselves full time to clothing and the cycling tours dropped away.
Over the last 5 years ago, as everyone knows there has been an explosion in cycling and with it have emerged a vast array of brands selling custom cycling kit (high end, low end, mid-priced, you name it) and of course the Chinese attacked the market in brutal fashion with Champion System. So the sector became more competitive and we made a decision not to aggressively push our brand and invest the money we knew that was needed to compete with the new kids on the block. Rather we decided to consolidate our position and keep hold of our existing customers and allow our business to evolve organically, which is exactly what we have done. It has meant that we have been able to keep our costs down and focus principally on product development rather than branding and marketing – so in other words we accepted that we would not be the hippest brand and that we would forego celebrity endorsements and pro team sponsorship etc, but just stick to making the best kit we could at the best possible price.
So Carvalho Custom carries on and we are extremely proud of what the company is achieving, but we thought it would be fun to have a new challenge so we are relaunching the bike tours business and Carvalho Bike Tours has now been arrived. We offer bike tours in Portugal for riders who can comfortably ride 100k a day and enjoy some tough rides in the mountains. Portugal is incredibly blessed to have the interior of the north of the country packed with a great selection of mountains, great quality roads and nearly nobody living there, so the traffic is ineligible. There is also a light dusting of great 4 star hotels at very reasonable prices, which means that we can offer premium standard cycling tours at very reasonable prices (less than €2000 for 7 days with meals, van support and a cycling guide included).
We are not offering scheduled tours, rather we need groups of at least 7 riders and we will adapt our standard cycling tours (in Gerês, the Serra da Estrela and northern to southern border of Portugal tour). To found out more about our bike tours in Portugal click here.