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

Old 10-15-22, 05:28 PM
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Ron Damon
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So, I fly in to Madrid. What's my next move?

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?
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Old 10-15-22, 05:44 PM
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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?
Head east towards Granada then though the Badlands the only true desert in Europe south until you hit Gibraltar. One of the best cycling locations in the world.
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Old 10-15-22, 05:50 PM
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I need guidance on how to get out of Barajas and getting on the road southwards on small roads. Is it worth doing this? Or do I start elsewhere? I am credit-card touring so I need places to eat and sleep along the way.
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Old 10-15-22, 05:58 PM
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No problem bike route 02 which gets you out of town south/east, then away you go. What works for me is use google maps to find accommodation which is in the direction and distance you want to ride for the day then build a route to this point with ridewithgps.com. Spanish roads and drivers are amazing it’s win/win all the way. Prices are crazy reasonable as well. The only issue is the late dinner system but you get used to it. Perfect excuse for a post ride nap.
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Old 10-15-22, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
No problem bike route 02 which gets you out of town south/east, then away you go. What works for me is use google maps to find accommodation which is in the direction and distance you want to ride for the day then build a route to this point with ridewithgps.com. Spanish roads and drivers are amazing it’s win/win all the way. Prices are crazy reasonable as well. The only issue is the late dinner system but you get used to it. Perfect excuse for a post ride nap.
Great, thanks. Route 2, Camino Real de Guadalupe takes me from Madrid to Guadalupe. Then what? What do you recommend? What can I expect in terms of prices for accomodation at the albergues?
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Old 10-15-22, 10:42 PM
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How long do you have? What are your interests? What would you like to see?

My wife and I started in Lisbon travelling east across Portugal through Spain to Valencia, then north to Barcelona. We picked towns or areas we wanted to visit, and then picked a route that would get us there. The "N" roads are pretty good to ride on. Traffic is light, and they will get you about anywhere you want to go.

Portugal


This is the sign that was located above this guy's cafe. It also indicated rooms were available.


We would never have guessed the great room that was above this row of shops.

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Old 10-15-22, 10:52 PM
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Hi, thanks for playing. Good questions.

I've been to Portugal & Spain before and speak the lingos. I just haven't traveled there by bike. What do I want to see? Nice chill bike paths, quaint smaller towns|cities without tourist hordes, nice natural environment. How much time? I could spare a month, six weeks. I am actually doing online study so I need to take a rest day every other day to work on assignments. What do you suggest?

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Old 10-16-22, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
Hi, thanks for playing. Good questions.

I've been to Portugal & Spain before and speak the lingos. I just haven't traveled there by bike. What do I want to see? Nice chill bike paths, quaint smaller towns|cities without tourist hordes, nice natural environment. How much time? I could spare a month, six weeks. I am actually doing online study so I need to take a rest day every other day to work on assignments. What do you suggest?
It’s what interests you what matters here. Use google maps to look into whatever intrigues you and go from there. Every question you may have starts and ends there. RideWithGps as well as Strava have heat maps which show what roads cyclists frequent and street view answers the rest. Time to book your flight and build your adventure.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:22 PM
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Decided to go to Taiwan/Vietnam instead. No more discussion or answers sought. Thanks.
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Old 10-18-22, 12:37 PM
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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?

South is ok. Where I live in La Alpujarras Granadina is nice because of the high mountains and the nearby coast. Also, despite the semi-arid landscape and intense heat during summer I never find I need to carry water on my rides because every few kilometers there's a natural spring at the side of every highway and every village has multiple ancient drinking fountains some of them dispensing spring water.

Portugal is more exposed to the Atlantic, so is bound to be wetter.


(A typical roadside spring at the side of the highway between between Padre Eterno and Pampaneira)

I personally enjoyed winter riding in Pais Vasco too. The weather is warm enough and Bilbao has some seriously nice bicycle infrastructure, including a bicycle superhighway leading West out of the city, over a mountain range and onto a pleasant beach town. It must've cost a lot to build as it has many long bridges over deep barrancos and a huge motorway. It's very impressive. North East of the city is very beautiful too, and the Basque train/Bilbao metro network connects everything up well. San Sebastian is lovely too, though I only cycled in town there.

I rode my Swift folder from Bilbao to Burgos just before the pandemic restrictions bit in, stopping the night in Victoria Gastiez and then Miranda del Ebro along the way. Burgos I learned on arrival is the highest city in Europe with a population over 100,000 inhabitants, which made sense considering the near continuous climbing to get there. It was a bit wintery up there when I arrived. Sleet showers and a quick snow flurry greeted me on my first morning there, but the same Day the wind died and the sun came out and it warmed up quite nicely Reminded me a bit of Copenhagen winter weather.

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Old 10-18-22, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
South is ok. Where I live in La Alpujarras Granadina is nice because of the high mountains and the nearby coast. Also, despite the semi-arid landscape and intense heat during summer I never find I need to carry water on my rides because every few kilometers there's a natural spring at the side of every highway and every village has multiple ancient drinking fountains some of them dispensing spring water.

Portugal is more exposed to the Atlantic, so is bound to be wetter.


(A typical roadside spring at the side of the highway between between Padre Eterno and Pampaneira)

I personally enjoyed winter riding in Pais Vasco too. The weather is warm enough and Bilbao has some seriously nice bicycle infrastructure, including a bicycle superhighway leading West out of the city, over a mountain range and onto a pleasant beach town. It must've cost a lot to build as it has many long bridges over deep barrancos and a huge motorway. It's very impressive. North East of the city is very beautiful too, and the Basque train/Bilbao metro network connects everything up well. San Sebastian is lovely too, though I only cycled in town there.

I rode my Swift folder from Bilbao to Burgos just before the pandemic restrictions bit in, stopping the night in Victoria Gastiez and then Miranda del Ebro along the way. Burgos I learned on arrival is the highest city in Europe with a population over 100,000 inhabitants, which made sense considering the near continuous climbing to get there. It was a bit wintery up there when I arrived. Sleet showers and a quick snow flurry greeted me on my first morning there, but the same Day the wind died and the sun came out and it warmed up quite nicely Reminded me a bit of Copenhagen winter weather.
Burgos sólo tiene dos estaciones, la de autobuses e invierno. I've actually been to Burgos and both the wife and I liked it quite a bit, but that was only in October. I heard it snows there so yeah, I can see it being a bit frigid. Granada in December was frigid too.

Thanks for the heads-up on the País Vasco. I hadn't actually considered it. Good that you put it on my radar.

Portugal. I love it, though I get the bit about rain from being more exposed to the Atlantic. I actually spent one of the most horridly wet and cold days in Lisbon right before Covid hit. I came out of an assignment from Guinea Bissau at the end of December and transited through Lisbon. The couple of days I was there was rainy and miserably cold. In any case, I was thinking more along the lines of inland Alemtejo, the areas that abut Extremadura and Andalucia, not so much the coast.
In any case, Spain is off the map for touring just now, and may just stay closer to home.

Mil gracias.
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Old 10-19-22, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Head east towards Granada then though the Badlands the only true desert in Europe south until you hit Gibraltar. One of the best cycling locations in the world.
A bit circuitous route from Granada as the desert is in the next province in the other direction, Almeria, but doable. I'd definitely only go this way in the spring, autumn or winter. The summer here is extremely hot and during late May through early September it's unwise to cycle long distance between 1pm and 7pm every day due to the risk associated with heatstroke and dehydration.

If I were to plan such a trip, I might plot a route as follows:

Day 1
Granada ---> Lanajarón/Orgiva/Pampaneira/Torvizcón (depending on your route through La Alpujarras and your time and appetite for climbing on day 1).

Day 2
Lanajarón/Orgiva/Pampaneira ---> Cadiar or if leaving from Torvizcón....
somewhere a little further up from Cadiar in the Almeria portion of La Alpujarras valley.

Day 3
Cadiar/wherever ---> Through the desert ---> Muhuaca.

Day 4
Muhuaca ---> Cabo de Gata area (which I'd consider spending a rest day for light bike rides and sea swims)

Day 5
Cabo de Gata ---> La Rabita

Day 6
La Rabita ---> Almuñecar

Day 7
Almuñecar ---> Malaga

Day 8
Malaga ---> Gibraltar (then maybe onto Tarifa)

Anyway, it'd be a trip. I'd probably want to stop off in several places along the way, so for me it might take two weeks instead of eight days.



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Old 10-19-22, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by joey buzzard View Post
A bit circuitous route from Granada as the desert is in the next province in the other direction, Almeria, but doable. I'd definitely only go this way in the spring, autumn or winter. The summer here is extremely hot and during late May through early September it's unwise to cycle long distance between 1pm and 7pm every day due to the risk associated with heatstroke and dehydration.

If I were to plan such a trip, I might plot a route as follows:

Day 1
Granada ---> Lanajarón/Orgiva/Pampaneira/Torvizcón (depending on your route through La Alpujarras and your time and appetite for climbing on day 1).

Day 2
Lanajarón/Orgiva/Pampaneira ---> Cadiar or if leaving from Torvizcón....
somewhere a little further up from Cadiar in the Almeria portion of La Alpujarras valley.

Day 3
Cadiar/wherever ---> Through the desert ---> Muhuaca.

Day 4
Muhuaca ---> Cabo de Gata area (which I'd consider spending a rest day for light bike rides and sea swims)

Day 5
Cabo de Gata ---> La Rabita

Day 6
La Rabita ---> Almuñecar

Day 7
Almuñecar ---> Malaga

Day 8
Malaga ---> Gibraltar (then maybe onto Tarifa)

Anyway, it'd be a trip. I'd probably want to stop off in several places along the way, so for me it might take two weeks instead of eight days.



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The OP has left the building! Did we go from needing guidance on how to get from the airport in Madrid to taking on Taiwan/Vietnam? That said have done numerous long-distance tours through Vietnam/Laos, and yes, it's amazing however, if doing Spain seemed daunting, get ready.
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Old 10-19-22, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
The OP has left the building! Did we go from needing guidance on how to get from the airport in Madrid to taking on Taiwan/Vietnam? That said have done numerous long-distance tours through Vietnam/Laos, and yes, it's amazing however, if doing Spain seemed daunting, get ready.
No one said Spain looked daunting. Been there before a couple of times and I am fluent in Spanish. And I am not daunted by Vietnam or Taiwan either. I've been up the length of Vietnam, I've toured in Taiwan, have lived in SEAsia for two decades, and been to all its countries (save for Brunei). Vietnam is a three hour flight away, Taiwan five hours, from my home in Indonesia. Don't over read it. 😉

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Old 10-19-22, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
Decided to go to Taiwan/Vietnam instead. No more discussion or answers sought. Thanks.
[Mods, feel free to delete].
You sure you dont need perfect strangers to plan your Taiwan/Vietnam trip ?
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Old 10-20-22, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
You sure you dont need perfect strangers to plan your Taiwan/Vietnam trip ?
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​​​​​​No, I actually have a pretty good idea about the route I want to take in Taiwan. I've been there before after all. Vietnam, I am still on the fence about bike touring there. But thanks for asking.
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Old 10-21-22, 04:58 PM
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I'm headed to Spain for the first time on Monday. Flying to Barcelona and then maybe ferry to Mallorca for a week of Spanish classes and leisurely rides.

I was thinking about riding the Southern coast and I am wondering about the predominant wind directions this time of year. On the west coast of the US you want to ride North to South so you have a tail wind and the scenery is better on the ocean side as well.

Which is the preferred direction in Spain? I was thinking of taking a train to Sevilla and then riding back towards Barcelona to be on the ocean side of the road.

Thanks
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Old 10-21-22, 09:45 PM
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This might help:
https://weatherspark.com/m/47213/4/A...arcelona-Spain
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Old 10-22-22, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
I'm headed to Spain for the first time on Monday. Flying to Barcelona and then maybe ferry to Mallorca for a week of Spanish classes and leisurely rides.

I was thinking about riding the Southern coast and I am wondering about the predominant wind directions this time of year. On the west coast of the US you want to ride North to South so you have a tail wind and the scenery is better on the ocean side as well.

Which is the preferred direction in Spain? I was thinking of taking a train to Sevilla and then riding back towards Barcelona to be on the ocean side of the road.

Thanks

Tarifa has a reputation for being windy as it's where the Atlantic instead of the Mediterranean starts to influence the weather. While like anywhere windy weather does occur, in general most days are fairly calm along the Mediterranean coast.

Acording to today's weather, the wind along the coast near me - Granada/Malaga/Almeria coastlines - is 5km/h. which is pretty typical.
​​​​​

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Old 10-22-22, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post

I was thinking about riding the Southern coast
...........
I was thinking of taking a train to Sevilla and then riding back towards Barcelona to be on the ocean side of the road.

Thanks
I'm confused. Barcelona is not on the Southern Coast. To get to the East coast from Sevilla will require hitting some mountains. They're more an issue than wind.

Don't expect to do too much coastal riding - a lot of it is not that pleasant with traffic either south or east. There are far nicer routes a little inland.
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Old 10-22-22, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
I'm headed to Spain for the first time on Monday. Flying to Barcelona and then maybe ferry to Mallorca for a week of Spanish classes and leisurely rides.

I was thinking about riding the Southern coast and I am wondering about the predominant wind directions this time of year. On the west coast of the US you want to ride North to South so you have a tail wind and the scenery is better on the ocean side as well.

Which is the preferred direction in Spain? I was thinking of taking a train to Sevilla and then riding back towards Barcelona to be on the ocean side of the road.

Thanks
The coastal road is very busy and not my style. But ride about 75km inland and work your way north. The scenery and culture is amazing, small towns, super quiet roads and cheap to boot. For wind information windy.com is every adventure cyclists friend.
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Old 10-22-22, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
I'm confused. Barcelona is not on the Southern Coast. To get to the East coast from Sevilla will require hitting some mountains. They're more an issue than wind.

Don't expect to do too much coastal riding - a lot of it is not that pleasant with traffic either south or east. There are far nicer routes a little inland.
Depends on how you look at it. I interpreted "South Coast" as Mediterranean Coast. And while I'm inclined to agree with you that sticking religiously to this coastal route wouldn't necessarily be the best ride Spain has to offer, the coast near where I live does have some very pleasant bits to ride. For example I like the 80km stretch between La Rabite to Nerja and it might be a very nice day in the saddle for someone who doesn't find 900 meters elevation gain over that distance too daunting. Admittedly the area just prior to this stretch between Almeria and La Rabite is pretty disturbing with its smelly plastic "greenhouses" for growing vegetables as far as the eye can see (and the nose can smell) interspersed with the odd shanty village here and there where illegal African immigrants hired to cultivate the vegetables are housed. This area is truly a blight on both the landscape and the conscience of Europe. But travelling up the coast past the city of Almeria and then onto the Cabo de Gata peninsula and environs one will find an area lovely for cycling.

Also, you need not climb over any mountain ranges to get from Sevilla to the coast. Follow the route Google maps recommends and you need only climb 214 meters over 124 km. That's practically flat in my world (Granada Province) where I routinely climb that sort of elevation over 3 or 4 km (and even steeper) in almost any direction I go.

Spain though is mostly mountainous (Sevilla is actually an exceptionally flat bit) so anyone touring here needs to be prepared for hilly terrain. I highly recommend low gear ratios, especially if travelling heavily loaded.

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).

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Old 10-22-22, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Thanks!
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Old 10-22-22, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
I'm confused. Barcelona is not on the Southern Coast. To get to the East coast from Sevilla will require hitting some mountains. They're more an issue than wind.

Don't expect to do too much coastal riding - a lot of it is not that pleasant with traffic either south or east. There are far nicer routes a little inland.
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.
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Old 10-22-22, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
The coastal road is very busy and not my style. But ride about 75km inland and work your way north. The scenery and culture is amazing, small towns, super quiet roads and cheap to boot. For wind information windy.com is every adventure cyclists friend.
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
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