2017 tour day 17 – final bit

The final leg is not the best part of the tour as it takes in a very industrial and urban setting ūüôĀ

The final distance covered on the tour was 1093 miles.

Between Los Barios and Gibraltar/La Linea is a nasty network of motorways which makes it challenging to find a way through. It is virtually impossible to avoid cycling on busy motorway for some parts of ride. 

Once across the motorway, the scenery is not what I have been used to over the past couple of weeks. 

Finally destination reached!

and after cycling over 1,000 miles its time for a dip in the sea followed by a nice glass of cool beer. 

The planning now starts for the 2018 tour.

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2017 Tour Day 16 – Plan B

So far on this tour, I have covered 1117 miles. This morning, I was not feeling 100% so decided that it would be a better idea to take the more direct route and give Ronda a miss.

The route out of Paterna has some stunning views (which will feature in the tour video). This pictured was captured as a local cycle club passed by.

At about mile 15, this is the last place for coffee or water for about 25 miles. You have to earn the coffee as the village is up the top of that very big hill!

The road towards Gibraltar is motorway, but there is an old N road running next to it. Its a rough ride with lots of undulating hills. Its important to pay attention to the cycling as one moment of lost focus could result in a nasty fall if the front wheel connects with one of the many crevasses!

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2017 Tour, Day 15 – Bonked!

For those not familiar with the cycling term “Bonked”, it does not mean “copulating”¬† – the term describes the point at which the cyclist has run out of energy (probably not eaten enough. This happened to me at Arcos where it took a while for food and Coca Cola to get me moving again!

Here is the map of the day.

Seville is an amazing city with great places to visit and eat, but for the cyclist, the routes in and out are full of long and difficult urban routes.

Even at 20 miles into the route things look like this – and due to the road works, tee route south from Seville may not be possible along the N road as it becomes a motorway!

At mile 30, I noticed an interesting building to the east on the 2014 tour. Today I detoured for a closer look but was none the wiser. The architecture consisting of bells and crosses indicate perhaps a place of worship, but the high security walls is interesting. the purpose being to keep people out, or perhaps in?

Mile 35 and its back to nice quiet roads with the long views.

Arcos is about 60 miles into the ride. It sits on top of a big hill and for the first time on this trip I found myself walking up the hill to the town. The load I am carrying on the bike is 8KG, so not massive. I have been up bigger hills but today I did not eat right (and perhaps a small meal last night contributed). Classic bonk. This was addressed by eating and drinking stuff containing plenty of sugar to get me to mile 75!

Not far from Paterna, is this solar plant. Unlike the Photovoltaic farms you see everywhere, this place uses parabolic mirrors to focus the sun on pipes. I assume that this creates steam to run generators.

This site is massive and I assume capable of massive production. Its also next to a dam, and I assume that at times, energy is stored by pumping water to the lake.

Opposite the solar farm is irrigation.  Tomatoes and cotton seems to be a major crop in this area.

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2017 Tour day 14 – where are the oranges??

Today its a ride to Seville, this region is famous for its oranges, but the only orange thing I am seeing is Trump who is plastered all over the media. This is a holiday, so no more politics!

After two nights in Montemolin, I am on the move again, a new hotel. I will post a list of the best hotels I found (with links) in a few days time when I reach Gibraltar.

The final picture of Montemolin is of one of main streets as I head south to leave. The Castle in full view.

At about mile 30, there is this random religious place (deserted I think). I am sure there is a story behind this building. Unlike castles, this is not ancient, but likely to be 60 years +

And I am now in the most southern region of Spain, Andelucia which is bigger than some nations!

A nice downhill stretch. What goes down must go up!  Apparently that hill in the distance is a category three on strava.com (whatever that means).

On the fringe of Seville, there is this big sculpture. It implies a cycle friendly society, however the road route into Seville is everything but!

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2017 Tour Day 13; Chilling in Montemolin

This is a rest day, but I could not resists the opportunity for a quick morning 20 mile spin. The distance covered today is intended to plug the gap in distance when I had to take the bus to fix my bike!.
To date, I have cycled 890 miles, so will be breaking into four figures by the end of the week.

The route out of Montemolin has another great view.

The next village is apparently big on ham!

The local castle!  This is one of many in this region!

At the end of my ride, I dropped into the bar for a refreshing coca cola. This is a typical¬†scene of most rural bars in Spain ūüôā

And back at the hotel for a late afternoon beer.


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2017 Tour day 11 – back to Spain

Today its time to head east, slightly disappointing that I will not get to Lisbon, but the weather this morning delivered the stronger west winds as predicted, so it would have been a slow challenge to get there, and then no time to see Lisbon.

The hotel at Fronteira was amazing. Sunday evening was a bit of a challenge as I visited around 8 restaurants and nobody was doing food. I was the only guest at the hotel and the lady who runs the place served up an omelette for me last night. This morning, the breakfast was amazing. It is no surprise why this place got so many great reviews.

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2017 Tour day 12 -The return to Montemolin

Today’s ride is fairly short at just over 40 miles. As usual, there is plenty to see along the route. As I approach Montemolin, the hills start to get steeper!

The hotel I have left behind was a former convent. Nice rooms, pool and a courtyard with Orange Trees. Food last night was very good. This is definitely another place I will visit on a future visit!

The days starts out with amazing views!

The Camio de Santiago once again crosses my path.

Birds nests around here are very special. Have not seen any birds in them yet. This one I on the top of a disused power pole. I have seen them on live poles as well!

The famous black bull. Its a left over from the days when the Spanish country was adorned with ugly advertising boards everywhere people looked. Laws were passed to remove the boards but the bulls were allowed to stay following a massive demand from the public. All associated branding had to be removed.

The great thing about Spain (and other countries) is that the car does not own the street for 100% of the time. After 2000 each day, the barriers come out and a section of the high street is handed back to people where they can enjoy eating and drinking out.

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2017 Tour day 11- Plan B, leaving portugal.

As predicted, wind is blowing from the west, so the plan is firmed up to head for the southeast back to Extremadura. I will probably start off a ride next year in Lisbon so that I get a chance to see the place and spend more time exploring the Valle del Jerte in Spain later in the next trip.

The day starts off very grey with a few drops of drizzle as I set off. This hotel is in the middle of nowhere next to a town where the 8 restaurants I found does not serve food on a Sunday evening. The lady at the hotel whipped up an omelette for me which was appreciated. The breakfast next morning was very special. A great banquet of food if I needed it. Heading off on a ride meant that I had to ease back a bit!

Its easy to see how this place got a score of 9.9 out of 10!  Frontiera will definitely  be a place to stop on my next tour.

I think that might be blue sky at the border.

A very nice viaduct for cars on the Portuguese side of the border.

Proper cycle track leads me towards the border. Its clear that the local council does not want cyclist wearing Mr Whippy hats scaring the horses!

Lovely evening view as I approach the place I will stay for the night.




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2017 Tour day 10: Into Portugal

Day 10 and I have arrived in Portugal. The headwind has been quite strong so I am going to call it a day and head no further west to Lisbon. Bad weather earlier in the ride used up one of my reserve days so as this is a holiday I want to take some time out from the cycling to relax. So Lisbon can wait another day.

So in front of me is a return to Spain with one more night in Portugal. The hotel here is amazing. I am in a town called Frontier which does not seem to have a restaurant selling food!  The lady at the hotel is making me an Omelette Рgreat effort as I am the only guest here this eve.

The days starts off with nice views over flat terrain where fast progress is being made. Those hills are 20 miles away and Portugal is just 10 or so miles on the other side. After the hills, the wind picks up against me making it very hard work.

Another scenic picture of the ride.

A few miles from the border and here is a castle. Lots of these in Spain. They don’t like to demolish things here.


At the border crossing, a relic of the pre-Schengen days.

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2017 Tour Day 9: Heading west

Still heading West and got so close to the border that I received a text saying “welcome to Portugal” as my phone roamed onto a cross border network.

Slight mistake on the way out of Plasencia as I took a wrong turn. Sign posting is appalling at times

Looking back behind me, the view of the Valle Del Jirte is great. I hope to do a tour in the future where I can explore the area further.

About 10 miles to the west of Plasencia is a walled village. Had a quick look. Small version of St Malo.

Hot weather – Bulls have the right idea!

Dropping into the valley and discover a lake. I will join this again further downstream.

Nice view of the village towards the lake end.

The crossing point.

And slightly upstream, a dam. Hydro power is a great battery for storing all of that renewable energy generated by solar  plants and wind farms.

A blast from the past!

Final picture last 10 miles soul destroying. This road went on for ever at about the time I was running low on energy.

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