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Ride Across Spain Part 2: Madrid to San Sebastián

May 9th to May 26th

Ride Coordinator: Roxan Kraft
Report by: Anne Cowan

If you are looking for a deep dive into Spanish culture, history and geography this should be your trip!  Expertly organized by Iberocycles and owner Simon Proffitt along with BAC ride leader Roxan Kraft this ride focused on rural routing to minimize traffic but did not skip major cities like Madrid, Segovia, Hara and Burgos and parts of the Camino del Santiago.  All routes were provided on paper and RideWithGPS so navigating was easy.

Since this ride was an extension of Part I, most of the observations hold true as well.

It was a surprise to see as many Spanish riders as we did, almost all men no women riders, extensive bicycle friendly infrastructure (separated cycle lanes) and especially notable were the Spanish auto drivers who almost always slowed to pass a cyclist and easily gave much more than the required 1.5 meter distance.  While there were short sections of cobblestones in small villages 99% of the pavement was smooth and comfortable to ride.  Shoulders were generally ample when we were on busier roads.

Culture and history were not lost on this trip.  Simon has lived in Spain for 30 years and we were treated to a detailed PowerPoint presentation almost every night at Happy Hour with relevant facts and points of interest to note on the subsequent rides.  We lodged in excellent hotels and while obligatory meals in Paradores were average to excellent, many nights “on our own” allowed us to explore Spanish cuisine.  Lunch is the main meal of the day and “Menu del Dia” for 12-20 euros was available from about 1-3PM each day.  Tapas were available from 8PM until late in most places.  Breakfast in every hotel was copious and tasty with fresh fruit, pastries, bread, cheeses and meats.

Not to ignore the sights and sounds along the way, Spain has ancient geology with much limestone/karst although the granite around Madrid made the water noticeably softer.  You will see miles of stone fences, millions of olive trees and vineyards, smell unusual flowers and hear tinkling cow and sheep bells almost every day.  And of course there are Catholic churches, monasteries, convents and hermitages all along the route.  Northern Spain is again quite rural, agrarian and much of it cooler which makes better wine grapes.  We had the opportunity to tour a famous named cellar Protos.

Notably, Iberocycles and Simon Proffitt have many repeat participants which speaks eloquently about the quality of his tours and operations.  Various journals on CycleBlaze or CGOAB may add to your information.

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Telephone (858) 715-9510

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