Looking for information about bicycle touring in Spain
May 20, 2006 12:28 PM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about bicycle touring in southern Spain?

A friend and I are thinking about doing a bicycle tour in southern Spain. We don't want to join a group; we're interested in either finding a company that, ideally, would rent us road bikes, provide self-guided tours and maybe lodging information -- or we would be willing to make arrangements ourselves. So, any experience/information about touring companies, bike rentals, bike-friendly lodgings, places not to miss would be appreciated.

My friend grew up in Spain, although he hasn't been back for 20 years, so language is not a problem.
posted by nnk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure myself, but I'd recommend signing up to the Tour and Expedition forum at Cycling Plus. They'd probably be able to help you quite a bit.
posted by afx237vi at 2:53 PM on May 20, 2006

Southern Spain is one of the hottest parts of Europe in the summer with temps. up to 36C.

You either have to start very early in the morning and finish
early or have much experience of cycletouring in extreme conditions.

As for the area itself - its a great place to do cycling with interesting cities such as Cordoba, Granada and Seville.

Do pick a suitable month though.
posted by jacobean at 4:16 PM on May 20, 2006

Do a web search for "bici turismo en EspaƱa" and you will get many sites offering services. If you go in the summer and want to avoid too much heat, you may want to do it in the mountains. The biggest ones are in the north though. This esciclismo site has quite a few tour providers:

posted by JJ86 at 5:10 PM on May 20, 2006

It was quite a few years ago, but some general points...

Malaga has its interesting bits, but the coast is generally ugly beach resorts so, if you're not into that, get inland. Once inland the character of the towns and villages changes very quickly. A much pleasanter and slower pace of life and the scenery is beautiful. Despite our crappy phrasebook Spanish, people were always friendly and interested in what we were doing. Once you get inland the roads get much quieter and prettier, and much more hilly! This is mountainous country so you'll want your climbing legs at the ready and to think about lower gears, perhaps. When I was cycling there we camped or just asked around for rooms for the night in smaller places and never had a problem. Local people seemed to like cyclists, generally. It's a lovely part of the world and cycling is a nice pace to see it at.

Being cyclists, food is always high on the agenda, of course. Be ready to adjust your mealtimes to early and late in the day. Siesta culture rules in more rural towns and villages, which means lots of places are closed early to mid afternoon, just when you might be hungriest. Best to carry food with you when you can. Lot's of lovely local bread, cheese, ham, olives for yummy roadside picnics. Keep your water-bottles full and carry (full) spares.

Never made it to Seville, but did explore Granada and adored it. Fascinating and beautiful city. If you're there, you really need to see the Alhambra, of course - just stunning.

If you've the legs (and lungs) for it and like collecting mountain passes by bicycle, Granada isn't far from Europe's highest paved/surfaced road *, the Pico del Veleta (11,142 ft or 3,396 m). If you're lucky and it's clear at the top, the view is fantastic.

Hope that's at least a little help, sorry I can't offer more about your specific questions. It's a great area for biking, anyhow. Hope you have a superb trip.

* probably
posted by normy at 10:10 PM on May 20, 2006

My only advice is to not go to southern Spain during summer except if you plan on staying on the beach or in the mountains. It gets very hot.
posted by FidelDonson at 11:17 PM on May 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I should have mentioned that we are thinking of going between Christmas and New Year's Day -- it will be a complete change of pace. and, I hope, warm enough in the south. Will definitely check out the websites (leaving the spanish one to my friend).
posted by nnk at 12:03 PM on May 21, 2006

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