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Ride Rating System

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Northern Spain: La Rioja and Basque Country 2022

  • Arrival
  • 7/4/2022
  • Departure
  • 7/20/2022
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Clarice Sackett
  • Tour Company
  • Iberocycle
  • Starting Location
  • Bilbao, Spain
  • Finishing Location
  • Bilbao, Spain
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3600
  • Deposit
  • $1800
  • Number of Riders
  • 23 (min. 16 /max. 23)
  • Space Available
  • 0
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

3B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

OVERVIEW: This tour starts in Bilbao, Spain in the northeast corner of Spain, along the Atlantic coast.  We cycle through La Rioja along the Ebro river, home of Spain’s finest red wines, into the heart of Basque Country and return along the coast of the Bay of Biscay.  Much of the area is relatively unknown to tourists but boasts some of the best scenery and finest cuisine.  The tour is supported by Iberocycle, a company well known to BAC and given great reviews on past tours.  This tour was last offered in 2013 and tripper report from that group is available on BAC website.

Highlights of the trip include cycling along the Ebro river, the longest river in Spain and the source of the word “Iberian”, for several days through beautiful rural countryside, until we reach La Rioja, a wine making region synonymous with some of the best wines in Spain.  From there, we head to Vitoria, capital of the Basque Country; then on to Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls made popular by Hemingway, cycle on part of the Camino de Santiago, the world famous pilgrims’ trail, on to the Spanish Pyrenees, crossing over into France. We then turn west and cycle near the ocean, enjoying stunning coastal scenery and picturesque fishing villages. Much of this ride is in rural, beautiful areas, but includes the well-known towns of Bilbao, Pamplona, the Basque towns of San Sebastian (2 nights) and Vitoria, and two nights the French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.  We will have a winery tour in La Rioja and a chartered boat transfer on the last day.

A full day-by-day itinerary is available immediately upon request and will be viewable in Ride Leader docs after you sign on to this tour.  

RIDE RATING:  This ride is a 3B.  There are 11 mandatory cycling days and 4 optional days.  Based on the 11 mandatory days and the shorter routes if there are choices, the average daily distance is 43 miles/day and the average elevation gain is 3107 feet/day.  (The last day can be shortened with a train ride).  Days that are above the 3B rating are day 9 (59 miles and 3531 feet) and day 11 (47.5 miles and 4167 feet).  Day 15 has an option to take a train part way, eliminating most of the elevation gain, but the route without the train is 44 miles and 4882 feet.  Day 16 includes a boat ride and can be furthered shortened with an optional train into Bilbao.   Without the train ride, it is 48 miles and about 4800 feet.

As with most BAC tours, this is a tour for independent experienced cyclists.  We do not stay together as a group on the road and do not have a “guide” with us at all times.  The luggage van is primarily a luggage transport vehicle but is available for injuries or illnesses.   The luggage van is not a “sag” and riders should arrive for the tour ready to ride the distance and not expecting to be “sagged”.

WEATHER:  The weather is variable as we will be on the coast, inland and at elevation.  In June it should be mild, sunny and dry, but any conditions are possible and as always, riders should have layers and rain gear.  Inland, in Pamplona, for example, average high temp is 75 degrees F and average number of days with rain in June is 6.

LODGING & MEALS: This tour spans 16 nights in 3 & 4 star hotels and several small country inns, with 8 group dinners and 16 breakfasts included.   We will have happy hour most evenings with beer and/or wine provided as well as munchies.  Happy hour will include information provided by Simon Profitt about the next day’s route, historical and cultural background information, and points of interest along the route, in addition to socializing opportunities.

LOGISTICS:  The ride starts on July 4, the afternoon with the traditional happy hour get together and tour and route review, in Bilbao, Spain.  The tour ends after breakfast on July 20, 2022 in Bilbao, Spain.  Bike rentals will be available directly from Iberocycle and bicycles will be delivered to the start of the ride in Reinosa.   Rental arrangements and payments will be made between Iberocycle and the riders individually.  If you are planning on renting an Ebike or bringing a tandem, please contact the leader.  Bilbao airport is served by major airlines and also has major railroad line connections to Madrid and Barcelona.  

COST & ADMINISTRATION: The tour cost is $3600 (a deposit of $1800 and a second payment of $1800 due on Feb 1, 2022).  This is based on a currency exchange rate of $1 equals 1.25 Euros. The current exchange rate is currently more favorable, but fluctuates. Depending on currency exchange rates, there may be an adjustment in the amount of the final payment.

 At the end of the tour, riders will receive a refund of any remaining money in the budget. The price does not include airfare, transportation to/from airport to starting hotel, extra nights in the hotel, lunches and other optional food along the routes and the cost of rental bike. The cost does include 16 nights, 16 breakfasts, happy hours, 8 dinners, bike box storage, shuttle from Bilbao to Reinosa where we start riding, a chartered boat ride on the last day across a large estuary, a winery tour, maps, ridewithgps routes, a tip for the commercial guides and a small contingency fund.  

SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY:  It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until Dec 1, 2021 to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the solo supplement of $645 (again based on $1 = 1.25 Euro and if exchange rate is more favorable, excess will be refunded) and stay on the ride. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary.  The Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride.  Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by Feb 1, 2022.  Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check.  They should be mailed to:  Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY:  Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support.  Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles.   All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour.  We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up.  Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour.  Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

 CANCELLATION POLICY:  The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled due to participation below stated minimum requirements.  Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped.  The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations.  If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time.  If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed.  If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour.  BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

SIGN UP:  To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description.  When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List.  At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit of $1800 by credit card.  As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List.  To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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