Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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BeeKeeper
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Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby BeeKeeper » 3 May 2014, 12:20pm

I am off on a trip to Spain tomorrow to do some cycling. A crack of dawn start from Bristol airport, the 07:05 EasyJet will hopefully take me to Barcelona where I will, also hopefully, meet up with my brother who flies in from Glasgow. Assuming the bikes arrive in one piece we will then travel by train to Girona to start a trip along the edge of the Pyrenees to San Sebastian and from there catch the Santander to Plymouth ferry on the 22nd of May.

Unlike our trip up the west coast of France last year we are not going to be camping. Partly because hotels are not too expensive in Spain but mostly because we expect to encounter some big hills so the less weight we carry the better!

The weather forecast for the Girona region is looking good for the next week or so but our route goes into the mountains and we will reach 1500m or thereabouts so we are expecting everything from rain to snow and have packed accordingly.

I have started a little journal of the trip and will update it whenever I can. The journal can be found on the link below.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/spain2014

mnichols
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby mnichols » 3 May 2014, 2:20pm

Good luck. I'm heading that way in September (Barcelona to Bordeaux) from Bristol. Will keep an eye on your posts

sweatpee
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby sweatpee » 4 May 2014, 7:47am

I'm taking on the Spanish pyrenees starting in June. I'll follow your blog and see how you get on. What kind of bikes are you taking?

sweatpee
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby sweatpee » 4 May 2014, 7:49am

What route are you taking? I was planning on loosely following the route I mention in this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=85050

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vinyl_theif
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby vinyl_theif » 4 May 2014, 10:42am

My first few tours were over the Pyrenees, beautiful scenery and the climbs are well worth the effort. Have fun!
mark http://www.wallisonwheels.net England to Singapore

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby BeeKeeper » 7 May 2014, 2:55pm

sweatpee wrote:What route are you taking? I was planning on loosely following the route I mention in this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=85050


Having cracked the technical problems which were preventing me reading files off SD cards using my nexus tablet I will now be posting GPX tracks on the CGOAB link posted above.

Basically the route is Girona, Olot, Berga, Col de Nargo, Tremp, Pont de Suert, Campo, Broto, Java, Anso, Auritz, Leitza, Donastia/San Sebastian. As described in Harry Dowdell's cycle touring in Spain, published by Cicerone.

The Berga to Col de Nargo leg looked very hard work so we have split this leg, stopping at St Llorenc de Morunys. There are a couple of long rides at the end of the route which might also split. The distances are not in themselves massive. Today should have been 84 km but it was 14:30 by the time we reached Llorenc after only 32 km! The roads go up and down all the time, they simply don't do level. For example today started with a 600m ascent over 13km without a break. It was not too steep but it was time consuming.

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby BeeKeeper » 7 May 2014, 6:41pm

Just an afternote to the above. I have now uploaded GPX tracks to CGOAB and found it will now display altitude information. It may have always been able to this and I had never noticed it before but it is certainly a useful feature.

You can see an example below the route map on this page: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pag ... 367506&v=f

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby patpalloon » 7 May 2014, 8:12pm

good luck with your trip. am currently on a tour if spain. been through girona and barcelona. barcelona was quite tricky to navigate, but locals were friendly and helpful.
I feel sure that the genius that did this, didn't even feel a thud as he drove by.

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby BeeKeeper » 7 May 2014, 8:47pm

patpalloon wrote:good luck with your trip. am currently on a tour if spain. been through girona and barcelona. barcelona was quite tricky to navigate, but locals were friendly and helpful.


We chickened out and took the train from Barca to Girona. It looked like a day and half by bike but not, we thought, the most interesting cycling so we gave it a miss.

Barcelona looked a big place so full marks for crossing it! Locals certainly friendly, some of them we can even understand but Catalonia and its identity clearly a hot topic here.

ernest
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby ernest » 8 May 2014, 7:33am

I may cross your path as I will be taking the ferry to Santander arriving on 19/05 and then cycling along the coast to Bayonne. I then intend to go on through to Lourdes and on to Toulouse. The plan is then to cycle to Bordeaux, via Cahors, take the train to Nantes and the last part of the trip will be along the N-B canal to Carhaix and on to Roscoff for the ferry home.

I really like to have places to visit along the way so am looking forward to visiting the Guggenheim where Yoko Ono has an exhibition, San Sebastian, Lourdes, Toulouse etc as well as cycling through beautiful countryside in-between. I like to plan trips through the winter almost as much as going on them and then get excited / nervous when it is time to go; have I got everything, will the bike/tent be ok and so on. Once there all these anxieties disappear. Do others have the same thoughts.

FarOeuf
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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby FarOeuf » 8 May 2014, 7:42am

the Guggenheim is great. Cafe Iruna in Bilbao really is fantastic, particularly if you like lamb skewers/kebabs in an old bar/cafe setting.

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby HarryD » 8 May 2014, 8:15am

Beekeeper

You are quite correct - each day is doable if hard but the fatigue builds up. So very wise to break some of the stages

The roads around Donastia have changed quite a bit since the book was first published but were updated for the 2013 reprint. However, finding the centre of the city should be easier than finding a quiet way out in the right direction

HarryD

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby mrjemm » 8 May 2014, 10:36am

FarOeuf wrote:the Guggenheim is great. Cafe Iruna in Bilbao really is fantastic, particularly if you like lamb skewers/kebabs in an old bar/cafe setting.


Ha, I know someone who plans to go there this weekend. I am so envious. Just a coffee in there is nice, surrounded by elegant mature 'ladies who lunch' (well, gossip). There used to be another on Plaza Ariaga that I liked, but it got 'developed' away sadly. :cry:

I prefer the Museo de Belles Artes (?) to the Guggi though, which is pretty much just over the road, and free.

Oh, and the calamare at Cafe Bilbao on Plaza Nueva... Oooh my.

I wish you (and others posting here) a great journey- looking a lovely ride so far. Most envious of you all! :D

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby BeeKeeper » 8 May 2014, 3:32pm

HarryD wrote:Beekeeper

You are quite correct - each day is doable if hard but the fatigue builds up. So very wise to break some of the stages

The roads around Donastia have changed quite a bit since the book was first published but were updated for the 2013 reprint. However, finding the centre of the city should be easier than finding a quiet way out in the right direction

HarryD


Many thanks. We did the second half of the Berga/Coll de Nargo leg today. I must be getting fitter - the 550m ascent from Llorenc to the Coll de Jou at 1480m I found relatively easy, then up and down a little bit for the rest of the day before the 700m descent to Coll de Nargo, which was a nice way to finish the day. Now at the hotel Betriu and trying summon up the energy to have a shower then write up the Crazy Guy journal. Interesting birds today - highlight being a Wryneck. Very rare in the UK and hard to spot here but call distinctive, which is what gave it away. A first for both of us.

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Re: Off to the Spanish Pyrenees

Postby patpalloon » 9 May 2014, 7:44pm

BeeKeeper wrote:
patpalloon wrote:good luck with your trip. am currently on a tour if spain. been through girona and barcelona. barcelona was quite tricky to navigate, but locals were friendly and helpful.


We chickened out and took the train from Barca to Girona. It looked like a day and half by bike but not, we thought, the most interesting cycling so we gave it a miss.

Barcelona looked a big place so full marks for crossing it! Locals certainly friendly, some of them we can even understand but Catalonia and its identity clearly a hot topic here.



Don't blame you! My Spanish isn't bad but my Catalan is non-existent! A few times I have been frustrated when the carretera I have been happily following becomes an autopista!
I feel sure that the genius that did this, didn't even feel a thud as he drove by.


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