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So, I fly in to Madrid. What's my next move?

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So, I fly in to Madrid. What's my next move?

Old 10-22-22, 09:22 PM
  #26  
kevmcd
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
......


Were I to explore a region I haven't cycled through yet I'd consider plotting a route though Extramadura or maybe across the North of Spain starting in Aragon and taking in Pais Vasco (which I have cycled in and love) Asturias and on into Galicia (and maybe then down into Portugal).


Anyway, my random thoughts for whatever it's worth. Spain is great for cycling almost everywhere if you don't mind mountainous terrain.


If on the other hand mountains are daunting, choose a cying holiday in Denmark or The Netherlands which are practically flat (albeit often windy during winter).

This trip is very spontaneous with absolutely no planning. I just needed to put a carrot in front of my nose to get a construction project in the basement finished (and get out of the way of my daughter who moved in). I was going to just go to Mexico, But then I found that Air France would take me from Seattle to Barcelona for 20k points and return me for 15k points (I got a new Chase credit card to use on the construction and the sign-up bonus was 80k points). It was like the gods were taunting me to see if I was too chicken to grab that prize. My total time in Spain prior to this is 3 days split between Madrid and Toledo. The only problem with Air France is they want $150 each way for your bicycle and somehow you are supposed to get through their automated system to get approval for your bicycle from their baggage department. I decided to rent a bicycle in Barcelona for 21 days for $300 instead of bringing my old Woodrup. I'm sure your advice would make a better trip than whatever I cobble together but I will be happy with some random scenery along the way.
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Old 10-22-22, 10:22 PM
  #27  
Ron Damon
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
...

I'm not really committed to any particular route, just some nice scenic rides. I'm hoping that the trains are easy to jump off and on with my bike.
Careful, man, you gotta know exactly what you want to see and where you want to go. Otherwise the channel experts will taunt you with you expecting strangers to plan your trip. Right, Stevie and Atlas?

Of course, I know what you are doing, you are feeling it out, seeking ideas, etc. You want people to say, you can go here via this route, or you can go there via this route. Nothing wrong with any of that. I feel you. 👍🏼 Not all who ask general and open-ended questions are lost or 'daunted', after all.😉 Good luck with the trip.
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Old 10-23-22, 01:08 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
I can relate to what you are saying. I live in Oregon and I am not a fan of bicycling the Oregon coast. Narrow shoulders on the road with novice drivers in large camper vans gazing over their right shoulders at the coastal scenery.

I'm not really committed to any particular route, just some nice scenic rides. I'm hoping that the trains are easy to jump off and on with my bike.

​​​​​The trains in Spain run mainly on the plane. LOL.

Seriously though, while Spain has a great high speed train network, it doesn't go everywhere. It's great for zipping quickly between Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid. But where I live there's no trains at all. In Andalusia the high speed network connects up with Cordoba and possibly Sevilla, and there are slower connections to Granada, Jaen etc. But for most locales in the province the main public transport is the lackluster ALSA bus company which is ok-ish but doesn't always have many daily departures to any given destination.

Roads in Spain are excellent. The Spanish government along with the European Union has invested many billions of Euros into an extensive motorway network which keeps most of the fast traffic off of what's become the secondary highways where it's legal to cycle. These secondary highways are often virtually empty yet very well engineered and maintained. I've also found that Spanish drivers are generally very considerate of cyclists. It's the law of the land that cars give 1.5 meters of distance when passing a cyclist, and in general drivers adhere to this. There's also a total absence of the psychotic antipathy towards bicycles and cyclists that I've encountered in English speaking countries such as the UK and Canada. In the UK the press maintans what amounts to a hate campaign against cyclists (radio does that ignoble job in Canada). Spanish drivers on the other hand simply don't hate cyclists and the roads are much better both in condition and design than roads in the United States, Canada or the UK, so even on twisty mountain switch backs there's plenty of room for everyone.

The scenery in Spain is awesome almost everywhere you go. You could almost get away without planning anything, just arriving and seeing where your bike (and maybe the trains and buses too) take you and wherever you'd end up will be an excellent scenic adventure.

Last edited by joey buzzard; 10-23-22 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 10-23-22, 02:36 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
Looks like there is no shortage of nice rides. I see the Teruel to Valencia on a lot of lists and the ride to L'Escala
Tereul to Valencia is a rail trail, downhill bit with some tricky, deep gravel at times. The issue will be getting to Tereul. There's somes wonderful riding in that area - glorious mountains and quiet roads but a real lack of services. Weather, other than just wind will be a very important factor.
Ditto in Catalunya - lots of interesting bike trails and quiet roads but it's very, very hilly. Again, weather - not just wind - is a big factor. It can change rapidly.
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Old 10-23-22, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
Depends on how you look at it. I interpreted "South Coast" as Mediterranean Coast.
..........

Also, you need not climb over any mountain ranges to get from Sevilla to the coast.
In all fairness when someone says "South" I think south, not east.

I also said to get to the East coast requires crossing mountains. Your route is vague but I'm guessing you mean the Southern Coast is accessible without mountains? I tend to be disoriented enough without any more assistance

Extremadura is captivating but I'd imagine not for everyone. Loads of history, wonderful small towns and interesting cities but lots of open space. The weather can turn quickly.

Spain is great for bike touring but it can be quite tough - surprisingly so.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:40 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
In all fairness when someone says "South" I think south, not east.

I also said to get to the East coast requires crossing mountains. Your route is vague but I'm guessing you mean the Southern Coast is accessible without mountains? I tend to be disoriented enough without any more assistance

Extremadura is captivating but I'd imagine not for everyone. Loads of history, wonderful small towns and interesting cities but lots of open space. The weather can turn quickly.

Spain is great for bike touring but it can be quite tough - surprisingly so.

I get it. Personally I wouldn't call the Mediterranean Coast "the South Coast". But a tourist might. So I think it's a forgivable error. Someone commenting thus should be told however that there's many many hundreds of kilometers along the coast between Barcelona and Gibraltar or Cadiz and that such a coastal route would take weeks to complete. Also right to point out that the Mediterranean coast isn't the be all and end all in Spain and that sticking strictly to the Med probably isn't the best option.

Granada to the coast involves mountains (I'm very familiar with that particular highway as it's in my near vicinity. I've ridden every kilometer of it up and down between Granada and Salobreña/Motril and I'm on it every week). Sevilla though is probably just about the flattest ride from any inland city to the coast in Spain.

And yeah, Spain can be tough. It's very hilly to say the least and summertime temperatures are sizzling. Nevertheless I think it's a very rewarding place to ride. The roads are very good, and outside of the biggest cities the traffic is light. The whole country is dotted with beautiful ancient villages, towns and cities. There's plenty of architecture from every era starting from the Phonecians to the Romans to the Arabs then the Christian Renaissance through to some of the most imaginative and beautiful modern buildings and neighborhoods in the world today.

I love it actually. It's so tough.

Last edited by joey buzzard; 10-23-22 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 10-23-22, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
Sevilla though is probably just about the flattest ride from any inland city to the coast in Spain.
.
THe OP is thinking of travelling from Sevilla to Barcelona. Preferably on the coast or at least hitting the coast in places.
Can you please clarify which route brings them to the coast without substantial climbing and how that fits in to a route between Sevilla and Barcelona?
Thanks.
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Old 10-23-22, 11:23 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
THe OP is thinking of travelling from Sevilla to Barcelona. Preferably on the coast or at least hitting the coast in places.
Can you please clarify which route brings them to the coast without substantial climbing and how that fits in to a route between Sevilla and Barcelona?
Thanks.
Unlikely I will ride all the way from Barcelona to Sevilla. With all the information above it is unlikely I will ride the southern coast of Spain.

Still sticking to my original plan of a couple days in Barcelona and then take the ferry to Mallorca for a week of Spanish classes and leisurely rides. (unless someone tells me the ferry is a bad idea). While in Mallorca I will mull over all the information above and come up with a plan.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-23-22, 04:19 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
THe OP is thinking of travelling from Sevilla to Barcelona. Preferably on the coast or at least hitting the coast in places.
Can you please clarify which route brings them to the coast without substantial climbing and how that fits in to a route between Sevilla and Barcelona?
Thanks.

I understand that the Balaeric Islands are fantastic for cycling. Maybe nice to have a base while on Mallorca and do unloaded day trips?

Sounds like you've got a great plan forming, so have fun!!
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Old 10-23-22, 06:18 PM
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Sunday through Friday will be in the big city of Palma with classes a good part of the day so rides will be short. I plan to arrive on Mallorca on Friday morning so maybe some good weekend rides.
I haven't arranged any of my hotels on Mallorca, yet, but everywhere except Barcelona looks extremely reasonably priced. For the quality it might be less expensive than Mexico but I will soon find out!
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Old 10-23-22, 10:11 PM
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Might I suggest to see some websites for Spain organized tours and see what routes they propose.
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Old 11-18-22, 05:20 AM
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Post trip observations

Spain is wonderful. In general the country is wonderful and specifically it is wonderful for bicyclists. The weather is great in Spain even in November (at least this year)


Just riding the plentiful protected bike lanes on the streets of Barcelona, Palma and Valencia is like Disneyland for an American who is used to having to ride 6" from the curb with cars and trucks whizzing by within a foot of your shoulder. Note of caution: there are lots of scooters and electric bikes in the bike lanes that are going faster than you and they are absolutely quiet. Don't do anything stupid or unexpected like suddenly stop to look at your phone or swerve across the opposing direction lane to leave the bike lane without knowing whether someone is passing you from behind. I made a couple of idiot moves that were close calls before I figured out how to be careful.


Distances are long between cities in Spain. Taking the train or bus is a great idea but not always a good idea with your bike. If I were to do the trip over I would rent bikes in shorter intervals so I could travel easily between cities without taking the bike with me. I got trapped in Valencia for an extra day on a weekend because I couldn't get a ticket on the train for my bike. The next day I had to take a 6 hour milk run back to Barcelona with my bike. Taking the bus instead was not a great option as they were going to require me to either box the bike or break it down and wrap it in plastic. This problem may be limited to transit between the biggest cities on weekends but I may have taken the high speed rail to more locations if I hadn't rented the bike for 21 days.


Train travel on the local/regional Rodalie (sp?) line is great. But that is not for going long distances.


Taking the ferry from Barcelona to Palma and from Palma to Valencia was easy in retrospect and a fine way to travel. At the time I was a little intimidated by the gigantic scale of the ports, ferries and semi trucks that surrounded me but everything went smoothly and the people running/loading the ferries appear to be very skilled and professional.


Bicycling on Mallorca is great and I struggled with whether I should just spend all 21 days there. I took a Spanish class in Palma for a week and I really like Palma. Most of the bicyclists are based in Alcudia and I went there for a couple of days but I prefer Palma because it felt more like a Spanish city and less like a vacation resort. Bus travel is very easy in Mallorca because on most the buses the luggage compartment is completely empty and it is easy for you to toss your bike in the luggage compartment and go wherever you want on the island and be there in an hour. Hotels in Alcudia and Palma often have locked bicycle rooms with a bike stand and a bank of tools. In general Spanish hotels seem very bicycle friendly.


I went to Girona for a couple of days and I was shocked. It is even more of a bicycle mecca than Alcudia. I can only describe Girona as the Aspen of bicycling. Bicycle shops everywhere and the shops only seem to be selling very high end bicycles. Between bicycle shops are high end designer shops and very nice restaurants. I stayed at the Nord1901 hotel and it was full of Americans there on a bicycling holiday with a company called Trek Travel. Other than Girona I met very few Americans in Spain. Lots of Brits, Germans, Dutch and people from France. (Barcelona had lots of Americans but I didn't have a chance to interact with any of them). I think if I hadn't stayed at the Nord1901 I probably wouldn't have met many Americans in Girona.


I hope to go back to Spain next October.
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Old 11-21-22, 02:38 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
So, I fly in to Madrid (Barajas) with a folding bike in late November. What's my next move if the goal is to cycle south, south-west (possibly into Portugal), towards warmer weather?

maybe some inspiration:

Montañas Vacías, Teruel
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/eas...iversales-2022
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/eas...k-bike-touring

Sierra de Segura y Sierra de Cazorla
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/sierra-de-cazorla
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/bike-packing-andalucia

And you have the whole North, Asturias, Cantabria! so good!
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/burgosleoncantabria
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/spain-tour
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Old 11-21-22, 05:53 PM
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Nice pictures and looks like a great adventure.
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Old 11-21-22, 07:12 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
I understand that the Balaeric Islands are fantastic for cycling. Maybe nice to have a base while on Mallorca and do unloaded day trips?

Sounds like you've got a great plan forming, so have fun!!
I toured Andalucia for 7 weeks way back in 2000. The road network was damn good back then. Even most of the N and A roads I took were great and had little traffic, except along the coast between Almeria and Torre Del Mar. Drivers were also terrific. Wish I had had the experience and knowledge to plan off-road mileage.
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