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Green Spain and Picos de Europa 2023

  • Arrival
  • 9/2/2023
  • Departure
  • 9/17/2023
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Grant McAlister
  • Tour Company
  • Iberocycle
  • Starting Location
  • Bilbao, Spain
  • Finishing Location
  • Bilbao, Spain
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3620
  • Deposit
  • $1810
  • Number of Riders
  • 17 (min. 10 /max. 25)
  • Space Available
  • 8
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating


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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 $85 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

This tour showcases the beaches, lush green valleys and mountains of northwest Spain. It is designed with four main base locations resulting in five required and nine optional riding days with the goal of having cycling routes to suit a wide range of abilities/desires as well as minimizing moving days. The focus of the tour will be cycling in the stunning Picos de Europa limestone mountains where we will have the opportunity to ride numerous climbs featured in the Vuelta a España. To give you a better idea of the stunning scenery on the tour I’ve created a short photo/video compilation from a previous visit. 

The first day begins in the afternoon with a tour review, happy hour and then dinner. We depart from Bilbao on Day 2, traveling by private bus to Cangas de Onís where we will do bike setup and then a shakedown ride. On the first of our three full days in Cangas de Onís we have the opportunity to ride an iconic Vuelta route to the beautiful glacial Lakes of Covadonga. Day 4 finds us navigating the limestone canyons of the River Sella en route to the spectacular scenery of Parque Natural de Ponga, one of Spain’s hidden gems. For our final day in Cangas de Onís there will be coastal ride options including a Vuelta climb to the stunning Mirador del Fitu viewpoint and visits to the enchanting seaside towns of Ribadesella and Llanes.

On Day 6 we depart Cangas de Onís heading to Cosgaya via stunning canyons following the Cares and Deva rivers. We have two days in Cosgaya where we will have the opportunity to ride the classic Vuelta climb of San Glorio as well as enjoy the Piedras Luengas climb. This could also be a great time to take a break from the bike and go for a hike or ride the Fuente Dé cable car.

We depart from Cosgaya on Day 9 for the Cabuérniga municipality with one route summiting three Vuelta cols en route to our destination. Out of Cabuérniga we have the option to ride to the picturesque village of Bárcena Mayor or a longer ride takes us up to the Vuelta pass of Palombera, which separates the Mediterranean from the Atlantic watersheds and a route extension leads to the ski resort of Alto Campoo another Vuelta climb.

On Day 11 we head to Villacarriedo with one route taking us over the Vuelta’s Braguía pass. For our two days in Villacarriedo there are shorter routes in the valley or more challenging ones including a four Vuelta pass ride (La Braguía, La Sía, La Lunada, El Caracol) and a route to Peña Cabarga, a Vuelta finish with fantastic views of the Bay of Santander & Biscay and virtually all Cantabria.

On Day 14 we cycle to the coastal fishing town of Santoña with an option to ride additional Vuelta climbs en route. Our last riding day takes us along the spectacular coastline where the limestone mountains reach the sea and we pass several beautiful beaches before arriving back in Bilbao with views of the Guggenheim Museum. We will spend the night in Bilbao before finishing with breakfast the next day.

Iberocycle will support our ride. This company is based in Spain, has supported numerous BAC rides and the owner and staff are experienced cyclists and guides.

Due to the hub and spoke nature of the tour there are only five required riding days, three days at 2B and two days at 3B with an average distance of 41.8 miles and an average elevation gain of 2263 feet which makes this tour technically a 2B. However, the average elevation gain for those five required riding days is close enough to the 3 elevation gain that it is being categorized as a 3B. There are nine discretionary riding days where we will have multiple options each day having at least one 1A/2B route along with a 3B/4C route. The longer routes can also be shortened by doing an out and back instead of a loop or omitting one or more climbs turning those routes into 2B/3B days. Outside of the required days you can choose how far to go on a day by day basis including taking rest days, the goal is for everyone to have fun. A day-by-day itinerary with daily mileage and elevation is available by contacting the Ride Coordinator.

While Iberocycle will transfer luggage and be available for emergency support due to injury, illness or mechanical problems, it is expected that riders be willing to cycle the entire ride, except for group transfers.

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”.

If you bring your own bike, we strongly recommend it be equipped with appropriate gearing to handle the elevation gain each day cycling in the mountains. Your bike boxes will be transported from the start in Cangas de Onís, stored at the Iberocycle offices and delivered to the finish hotel in Bilbao at no additional cost. Tandems are allowed on a case by case basis - contact the ride leader prior to signing up for the ride. E-bikes are a great option and have been used on this route with the participants noting that it made the tour feel like a 2B rating. Bike rentals are available through Iberocycle ( Iberocycle has Cube Carbon Road Bikes (195 Euros), Hybrid Bikes (135 Euros) or E-bike (230 Euros) rentals if you prefer not to bring your own. Garmin bicycle computers will also be available to rent through Iberocycle for 45 Euros.

The temperatures in September, late-summer, are typically 65 – 73°F during the day and cooler at night. The weather is unpredictable at elevation/ mountains, so you will need clothing for a wide range of conditions including warm and water-proof clothing for cycling and walking.

Accommodation is on a double room basis, with private facilities and are typically 3-4 star quality. Included in the tour price are 15 breakfasts, no lunches and 9 dinners, as well as a daily happy hour with snacks, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.

The ride starts on Sept 2, 2023 in the afternoon with the traditional happy hour get together along with tour and route review in Bilbao, Spain. The tour ends after breakfast on Sept 17 in Bilbao, Spain. Bike rentals will be available directly from Iberocycle and bicycles will be delivered to the start of the ride in Cangas de Onís. Bilbao airport is served by major airlines and also has major railroad line connections to Madrid and Barcelona. 

The tour cost of $3620 per person is based on a currency exchange rate of $1 USD equals 1.22 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. The tour price covers vans to transport us and luggage, bike box storage, cycling snacks, drinks and water, maps, cue sheets, GPX files, route notes and happy hour expenses featuring Spanish wines and craft beers. The price does not include airfare to Bilbao or any other flights, transportation from the airport to/from the starting hotel, entry fees to optional activities, beverages at included dinners. Gratuity for the guide is included. At the end of the tour, riders will receive a refund of any remaining money in the budget. The final payment of $1810 is due on June 1, 2023.

Solo supplements are available at $625. It is recommended that a single who wants a roommate try to find their own. After receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until June 1, 2023 to find a roommate. If you are unable to find a roommate, you will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the $625 solo supplement 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 Coordinator will assist by attempting to match singles that apply for the ride. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by June 1, 2023. 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.

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.

All participants must be fully vaccinated including booster shots if applicable and be prepared to present vaccination documentation for viewing by Ride Leader if requested.

If we still have a Covid 19 risk, we will follow all the necessary rules, and change activities as needed to remain Covid compliant, and can keep the tour as safe as possible. We will invite participants to a Zoom meeting approximately 90 days prior to the tour start date to finalize our COVID protocols. You may be asked to wear PPE in public, maintain social distance in public and limit social gathering in public according to the destination region's mandate.

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 the 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.

Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what you have is sufficient. If it isn’t, you should purchase additional travel medical coverage. BAC maintains a policy that provides coverage for expenses related to medical emergencies and repatriation when members are on tours outside the US and their home country. The policy ceases to be applicable if a member makes a personal deviation (e.g., makes a side trip not related to the planned BAC tour), has limits on expenses covered for family members and only applies for 45 days following departure from home.  None of the policies maintained by BAC will cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If traveling outside your home country you may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure that the appropriate vaccinations are up to date.

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 $1810 by credit card. The final payment of $1810 is due on June 1, 2023. 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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