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Tandem Touring the Spanish and French Rivieras (photo heavy)

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Tandem Touring the Spanish and French Rivieras (photo heavy)

Old 08-06-19, 03:29 PM
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Tandem Touring the Spanish and French Rivieras (photo heavy)

Day 1. We landed at the Barcelona Airport. Our bicycle baggage made it so we wheeled it to a quieter corner near the bathrooms and started assembling the bicycle. Everything went well, without a hitch. We added our panniers, rolled the bike out of the airport and hopped on. Bam. Chain fell off. Put the chain on and a few strokes later, bam, lost the chain again. I utilized the eccentric bracket to tighten the chain more and we were of without the problem but something felt awry. I wasn’t sure if I was just imagined it. About a mile from the airport we saw a bike store. The owner was very helpful and after checking a few things he noticed that the rear crankwheel was bent. Probably during the flight. He said he did not have a replacement but suggested he could try straightening it (with a crowbar). He said it would weaken the part but it might be worth doing. I agreed. It seems to have worked. We hopped on and everything felt much better from then on. We crossed a river and took a turn towards the Barcelona commercial port. There we weaved in and out legal and private roads until we hit the beginning of the Barcelona boulevard path. This was, most of the time, a dedicated bike/pedestrian path that lead us all the way to the downtown beaches and beyond for 24 miles until we reached Camping El Masnou, the closest campground on our route. We arrived around 7pm, luckily got a spot in this busy place, pitched our tent, showered and fell asleep.








Day 2. We headed first thing in the morning on the main road. The traffic was light on cars and relatively busy with bicyclist. Tons of bikers on the road cheering each other on. We cycled it until we hit the beaches where we cycled closer to the water. At some point we got into a dead end when we hit a river that had a bridge further up the road. Then we entered a nice Spanish coast town of Blanes where we both took a siesta nap and then continued out and towards the town of Vidreres and then back towards the ocean to a gorgeous touristy town of Platja d’Aro. A few more miles further was a nice beach campground Camping Treumal. We checked in, pitched our tent, took showers, took a walk on the beach and sat at a beach cabana restaurant for drink, a gazpacho soup and a salad.



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Old 08-06-19, 03:29 PM
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Day 3. We checked out bright and early and were on the road by 7:30am. Our goal to today was to possibly cross the Spanish/French border and the Pyrennees. We enjoyed a few small towns like Torroella de Montgri, Albons and finally arrived in a fun town of Saint Pere Pescador where we stopped for lunch. After this town the hills became prevalent and difficult until we arrived at several gorgeous fishing towns Port de Llanca, Grifeu, Colera and Portbou. Tired, we thought we crossed all the mountains until we realized there was more in the distance. The French border was at the top of the mountain next to the ocean. We ended up pushing the bike for about a mile and then finally reached the top. The ride down was exhilarating and partly frightening. Someone told us this section has 220 turns until it finally reaches the town of Cerbere. We knew there was a campground nearby. Yes, it was on top of another hill beyond Cerbere town. We made it there by about 8pm, pitched our tent, took showers, ate dinner and went to bed.







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Old 08-06-19, 03:30 PM
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Day 4. The next day hit us with more hills but finally we were certain the mountains were behind us. We stopped at several picturesque fishing towns like Banyuls sur Mer, Port Vendres, Collioure and Argeles. At Argeles beach we had lunch and swim on the beach. Every beach has these nice refreshment restaurant stands with good food and shaded umbrellas and comfortable seating. We then continued further along the saltwater beaches, stopping for ice cream here and there like at Canet Plage, Sainte Marie Plage, Le Barcares until we exhausted arrived at Camping Rives des Corbieres.












Day 5. We started early by reaching nice port of Leucate where we had breakfast and continued to center of Leucate, Port la Nouvelle, Narbonne Plage, Saint Pierre la Mer. The day was getting short until we finally found camping in Vias at Camping Les Amandiers.


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Old 08-06-19, 03:30 PM
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Day 6. From Vias to Agde we cycled water causeways passed through Sete, Palavas les Flots and finally arrived at a vacation town of La Grande Motte with it’s modern beach architecture. Along the way we enjoyed plenty of cold Gazpacho and Ice cream. We kept looking for a campground until we finally found one at Le Grau du Roi.







Day 7. This was a day we were to start heading towards Provence. In the morning we stumbled upon a medieval gem of a town Aigues Mortes and then weaved in and out of vineyards, watermelon patches towards Salon de Provence. At Arles we accidentally found Frank Gehry building as well as a windfarm. In each of the towns we made brief rest stops and enjoyed the local products and sights until we got to Salon de Provence. We pitched our tent, showered, did laundry (everyday routines) and slept well.




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Old 08-06-19, 03:31 PM
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Day 8. This morning we enjoyed a breakfast at downtown Salon and headed towards Aix where we devoted a few hours exploring the historical sights of Cezanne’s studio, apartment etc etc… Then we continued out of Provence through vineyard country towards the sea until we reached Cuges les Pins where we ran out of available campgrounds. We ended up stealth camping close to touristy OK Corral.





Day 9. We continued the uphill to have a breakfast at the top of the hill in a town of Signes and then continued through the wine country past towns of Belgentier, dodging thunderstorms all day we finally arrive past the town of Le Muy and checked into a really nice campground. We pitched out tent and the skies finally opened on us. Heavy rain, thunder and lighting…yet we were safe and dry in our tent and happy.






Day 10. Our goal was to rejoin the Riviera and reach Cannes. We biked through fun coastal spots until we arrived in the gorgeous Cannes. The day was still young so we continued following the coast all the way to Nice where we checked into a hotel.





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Old 08-06-19, 03:32 PM
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We spent two nights in Nice. On day 11 we rented a car and visited Saint Tropez and Monte Carlo.






On day 12 we hopped on a Flix bus that took us back to Barcelona where we spent three fun days before our flight back to Maine.
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Old 08-06-19, 08:32 PM
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Excellent! Nice photos too.😀
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Old 08-06-19, 09:51 PM
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Sounds like a great ride. Do you have a route mapped? It seems like you were going along some busy roads, at least until the border... How was traffic? Were there safe shoulders?
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Old 08-07-19, 05:57 AM
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Drivers were remarkably aware and comfortable with bikers and mopeds on the same road. We have not experienced any discomfort from idiots and actually felt safe even on the busy roads. Having said that there were tons of dedicated and/or separated bike lanes and the secondary roads were mostly quiet. I'd guess we were 40% on bike lanes or gravel bike paths, 40% on secondary roads and 20% on busy roads. ... and there was the time we mistakenly entered the turnpike in Spain. ;-) It was on our second or third day while we were still getting bearing on what is what :-)

I will try to piece together some routes. I was running Strava but a few times forgot to turn it on or it quit on me.


Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
Sounds like a great ride. Do you have a route mapped? It seems like you were going along some busy roads, at least until the border... How was traffic? Were there safe shoulders?
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Old 08-07-19, 07:47 AM
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Here are the gpx tracks:


Day 1
https://drive.google.com/open?id=14F...3N&usp=sharing

Day 2
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cj...eV&usp=sharing

Day 3
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pi...6r&usp=sharing

Day 4
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1h7...9S&usp=sharing

Day 5
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nF...HN&usp=sharing

Day 6
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-z...7i&usp=sharing

Day 7
https://drive.google.com/open?id=16x...Fp&usp=sharing

Day 8
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Z4...IV&usp=sharing

Day 9
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qM...gK&usp=sharing

Day 10
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lL...DZ&usp=sharing
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Old 08-07-19, 10:20 AM
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Great pics - thanks for sharing. FYI, you can also put multiple tracks on one map. For example, here are the rides we did around Girona last year: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1l-...gX&usp=sharing
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Old 08-07-19, 10:39 AM
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Wow, fantastic trip and photos. Thanks!
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Old 08-07-19, 10:42 AM
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I ran out of the number of allowed layers

Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Great pics - thanks for sharing. FYI, you can also put multiple tracks on one map. For example, here are the rides we did around Girona last year: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1l-...gX&usp=sharing
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Old 08-07-19, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
Drivers were remarkably aware and comfortable with bikers and mopeds on the same road. We have not experienced any discomfort from idiots and actually felt safe even on the busy roads.
I toured Andalucía back in 2000 and felt the same way. The day before I flew back to the states an inattentive driver in a busy suburb of Sevilla made a mistake pulling out of a parking lot. He was so apologetic that I thought he was going to get out of his car, get on his knees and beg for forgiveness.

And I actually did ride on a limited access highway on the last day of the trip, which ended back at the campground next to the Sevilla airport. I didn't have a detailed enough map to navigate the minor roads of the suburban sprawl around the city.
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Old 08-07-19, 09:54 PM
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Wonderful trip post! My wife and I have been fantasizing about flying to Barcelona and starting a tandem-camping trip there, so this is inspiration.
Did you fly your bike inside bicycle cases, and if so, where did you leave the cases?
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Old 08-08-19, 05:43 AM
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Our original plan was to pack the bike in a hard case, leave the hard case at the airport baggage storage and upon reaching Monaco, bike for another two days to Savona and take the ferry back to Barcelona where we would bike to the airport and pack the bike again.

I bought a nice Tri-All 2 Hard case for the tandem. A week before the trip I packed everything into the case, including the panniers and our gear. It looked legit. Then I tried to move it and realized it was quite heavy and I thought...I wonder if we will be over the bike allowed weight limit ? :-) yeah. So I drove to the dump with the case and had them weigh my car with the case and then without the case. Whoa. Not only was I over the limit. I was so overweight that when I called the airline they flatly refused to fly it even with penalty fee.

So I weighed the case alone, then subtracted it from the total and divided by 2 and I came up with realization I needed two LIGHTWEIGHT cases to make this work. Amazon is awesome. I found two cheap bicycle bags and they came in within 3 days. I packed the two cases and padded everything with bubble wrap and cardboard and ended up meeting the weight limit by a few ounces.





This was a good news but also a disconcerting news as last years flying with a bike left some minor damage and I vowed to go hard case next time. Well I was flying soft case again. :-( But, it's only gear....



One positive opportunity developed out of this scenario ... the possibility to carry the bags with us on the trip and have more flexibility for our return to Barcelona.

Everything worked out ok if You discount dings in a new bike paint ... they really throw the bags around too much. We assembled the bikes, popped the bike bags onto the bottom of our front panniers and off we went. We saved money on baggage storage fees at the airport.

When we reached Nice, France we realized the ferry from Savona schedule would only give us one day at Barcelona and my wife wanted to spend at least 2 days there. Instead we decided to take a Flix bus from Nice Airport all the way to Barcelona. It was cheaper but now we had to pack the bike again.

We had 2 hours before check in to our hostel in Nice so I ended up disassembling the bike right in front of the hostel.



I scoured the streets of Nice with the other homeless for cardboard and foam packaging and scored a thick soft foam mattress in one of the garbage cans. As I was checking it out my eyes met with another homeless man smiling at my find. :-) I told him : here, you can have it and walked on. As I returned 30 minutes later the foam was still there. He decided not to take it so I ripped it into 4 square pieces that worked awesome during the packing of the bikes.


Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
Wonderful trip post! My wife and I have been fantasizing about flying to Barcelona and starting a tandem-camping trip there, so this is inspiration.
Did you fly your bike inside bicycle cases, and if so, where did you leave the cases?

Last edited by PedalingWalrus; 08-08-19 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 08-08-19, 07:01 AM
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fun to look at, and for some reason, I reckon it was more fun to actually do! Too bad about the banging up of bike. Im still not convinced about soft cases, going from past work experience with soft cases with work equipment clearly being thrown down off stuff, but Im not naive enough to realize that while we can do our best in packing and imagining impacts, it always come down to the individuals working that day....

glad you had a great trip, you are the guys who did the Lake Champlain jaunt right? I thought of your recommendations recently when planning out a three day loop, which we didnt do but will one day.
cheers
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Old 08-08-19, 07:44 AM
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yes we did the Champlain Loop. I am also not convinced about soft cases but I had no choice given the tight schedule.

Originally Posted by djb View Post
fun to look at, and for some reason, I reckon it was more fun to actually do! Too bad about the banging up of bike. Im still not convinced about soft cases, going from past work experience with soft cases with work equipment clearly being thrown down off stuff, but Im not naive enough to realize that while we can do our best in packing and imagining impacts, it always come down to the individuals working that day....

glad you had a great trip, you are the guys who did the Lake Champlain jaunt right? I thought of your recommendations recently when planning out a three day loop, which we didnt do but will one day.
cheers
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Old 08-08-19, 09:28 AM
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Very nice tour description. I admire your pluck and your on-the-go problem-solving ability. Inspiring!
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Old 08-08-19, 10:58 AM
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I think I missed something ... and I can't find any info online for a "Dandelion Dream Tandem". Does that thing come apart? Oh, those silver things on the top tube are the joints, right? That's quite the craft!

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Old 08-08-19, 11:17 AM
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Yeah. It's a name we gave it for the dandelion theme on the paint job. It is not a bicycle you can find on line. We got the frame first and then done a paint job and a build...

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Old 08-08-19, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis View Post
Does that thing come apart? Oh, those silver things on the top tube are the joints, right?
They are called S&S Couplings. You can get some bikes built with them, or you can have them added later.

Folding Travel Bikes using S and S Machine Bicycle Torque Couplings™
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Old 08-11-19, 11:28 PM
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Fantastic!
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Old 08-19-19, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
They are called S&S Couplings. You can get some bikes built with them, or you can have them added later.

Folding Travel Bikes using S and S Machine Bicycle Torque Couplings™
Very interesting, thanks.

And thanks to the OP for the name clarification, too!
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