Biking in Spain.
August 24, 2006 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Any tips on spending three weeks in Spain in mid-September with bikes?

The flight is to Madrid, so a cozy hotel there for a couple of days would be appreciated. The plan is then to travel south to the Seville area for some bicycle touring. The bikes fold into a suitcase, so permit train and bus travel. Any tips on transportation, accommodation, restaurants, cities, culture, sights, and scenic bicycle routes would be much appreciated. What shouldn't we miss?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium to Travel & Transportation around Spain (6 answers total)
 
Retiro park in Madrid is a good place to bike away from the traffic. Normal street traffic in the city will be very intimidating and risky. I usually stayed on the wide sidewalks rather than in the streets. There are a good variety of nice bike exclusive paths once you get on the outskirts of the city that run along the highways. This page is in Spanish but lists all of the bike paths in Madrid. This pdf has a map of bike routes in the city of Sevilla.

Drivers in Spain are a very risky thing to try and tangle with. Definitely stay on the less traveled roads or exclusive bike paths. The most dangerous times to travel anywhere is during the start and end of vacation which is August but stretches into September a little bit.

If you want to do other searches, try Vias Ciclista en EspaƱa.
posted by JJ86 at 9:34 AM on August 24, 2006


Did you see the previous thread about bike touring in Spain?
posted by smackfu at 9:35 AM on August 24, 2006


Missed it. Thanks, smackfu.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:55 AM on August 24, 2006


The other thread is more geared towards exclusively touring throughout the country as opposed to biking in and around the cities of Sevilla and Madrid. Not sure if those suggestions will help you much.

A good hotel in Madrid that I enjoyed was Hostal Persal near Plaza de Santa Ana. It is cheap and is in a great spot if you want to explore the nightlife in the best area of Madrid. The rooms are small but clean, service is great, location is excellent, and the price is right.
posted by JJ86 at 9:59 AM on August 24, 2006


I am obsessively in love with the city of Cordoba, so much so that I repetitively cry "go to Cordoba" to complete strangers. So you have been warned, Cordoba does that to you.

Iberocycle arranges cycling tours in Spain and their website has a few points of interest, including this article from the Times which suggests it is possible to cycle from Cordoba to Granada and hints at a route. Given that it's easy to get to Cordoba from Madrid on the AVE high speed train, that looks like a good plan.

There's also a system of recycled railway lines called the Vias Verdes which will give you some traffic-free routes throughout the country. Again Cordoba looks like a good base to explore a couple of these.

Outside of the three great cities, much of the South of Spain is hot, dry, empty and mountainous (apart from of the valley of the Gualdalquivir - which is a little dull). The coast is overdeveloped and not particularly attractive. A very pretty mountain area away from the crowds and traffic is the national park around the Sierra de Carzola for which I cannot find a decent link. The countryside south of the Sierra Nevada, below Granada - called Las Alpujarras is also stunningly beautiful and would suit more active cycling.

I'm surprised by the comment on Spanish driving. I've always found the Spanish careful and courteous, they are used to cyclists - they take cycling very seriously and will respect you on the road. You should have a lot of fun.
posted by grahamwell at 10:56 AM on August 24, 2006


grahamwell mentioned: I'm surprised by the comment on Spanish driving. I've always found the Spanish careful and courteous, they are used to cyclists - they take cycling very seriously and will respect you on the road. You should have a lot of fun.

I'm not saying they are out to run over cyclists. But the average Spanish driver is extremely agressive. More so than what any American is used to. This agressiveness leads to a high percentage of accidents. Especially during "La Salida" and "El Retorno", the number of traffic accidents and deaths around the country skyrockets.
posted by JJ86 at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2006


« Older Will bee puke help my runny nose?   |   I have inexplicable, excruciating back pain. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.