Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cycling the Length of Spain

This year YouGoDo will be cycling the length of Spain.

I am a keen lover of life in Spain, and its great environment, climate and facilities for outdoor activities.

So this September, along with a few friends I will be cycling right across Spain, from the Atlantic on the North Spanish Coast right down to Fuengirola on the Mediterranean South Spanish Coast.

Why are we going North to South? Easy answer - because its all downhill ;-) No - I’m told the prevailing winds tend to come from the West so no real likely tail wind advantage going top to bottom or bottom to top. So it’s the psychological advantage of every single turn of the pedals taking me nearer to home, as I live in the South!

North to South of Spain Route

You can see our draft planned length of Spain route here, starting at Ribadesella and passing through

  • Ribadesella
  • Riaño
  • Almanza
  • Sahagun
  • Villalon de Campos
  • Tordesillas
  • Medina del Campo
  • Peñaranda de Bracamonte
  • Arenas de San Pedro
  • El Campillo de la Jara
  • Talarrubias
  • Hinojosa del Duque
  • Cordoba
  • Ardales
  • Fuengirola

    The route is currently showing to be 1053km but I’m sure we will add about 100 – 150 extra km to this, looking for places to stay, getting lost, taking detours, etc!

    How long will it take?

    We plan to complete the ride in 12 relatively easy cycling days - so it looks like around 100km a day average which should be no problem. We want to have the time and energy to enjoy the Spanish sights, food and culture at our overnight locations. Even with an average rider age of over 50! Are we too old to be called MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra!) yet?

    We are planning to ‘not plan’ our stops, rather decide on our overnight points each day around lunchtime. This way we can take advantage of those dream days where it’s all downhill or level-ish and we have a tail wind from heaven! (Mmmmm - maybe - is there anywhere flatish in Spain?). We will do shorter rides on those uphill, into a driving rain and a headwind days!

    We are hoping to enjoy quiet well surfaced roads, and avoid any really steep climbs – long climbs not a problem – all part of crossing Europe’s second most mountainous country.

    We will be starting on the weekend of 15th September so hopefully not too hot and dry!

    Help and Advice!

    We’d appreciate any advice, comments or general sarcasm:

  • Anyone know the roads in these areas well? – Busy, steep or badly surfaced roads to avoid
  • Can you recommend places to stay and eat?
  • Anywhere on the route where we will struggle to find places to stay?
  • Must visit places on route?
  • Advice from anyone who has done a similar ride in the past.
  • Any random encouragement and sarcasm!

    Please add comments below ;-)

    Bring it on!

    Looking forward to the ultimate cycling in Spain, onboard my Trek Madone 4.7, on the YouGoDo Tour de España!

    And of course we hope to raise some funds for some great and well deserving charities along the way – you can help us to support reasrech to help suffers of Cancer, Cusytic Fibrosis and Alzheimers by donating at - every little helps in the fight against these dreadful diseases.


    Anonymous said...

    Hi Paul – I have randomly come across this website/blog looking up Arenas De San Pedro where my Spanish in laws live. I have been reading with interest as I am planning a cycle at some point (likely to be next year) from home (Greenwich, London) to Arenas De San Pedro (In Laws) – with the help of a ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao or Santander.

    I arranged my wedding in Arenas two years ago and sourced cheap accommodation for my friends at Hostal Avenida.
    The guest that stayed here said it was perfectly clean and tidy. Moreover, the owner (I believe he was dutch) is an absolute cycling nut! So I’m sure he’d be able to help you too.

    In terms of Arenas de San Pedro, the area is known for its amazing meat. Our wedding venue ‘Posada Del Infante’ serves a massive ‘Chuleton’ which should keep your energy levels up for a few days! Being in the mountain,s there are lots of natural rockpools to relax in en route. Worth finding one for an ice cold, refreshing dip.

    Really keen to see how you get on with this.

    All the best.


    Paul said...

    Hi Martin,

    Many thanks for the information. Its really useful - I will look up both places.

    Will be great to stay with cycling enthusiasts if possible.

    Our plans are coming together - looks like 3 or 4 of us now and we are trying to recruit a support vehicle driver who will have an expenses pàid tour of Spain with a car and accommodation in return for driving the gear each day.

    Any volunteers welcome! 14th September for 2 weeks.

    My training is going well, although on days when it is above 30 degrees its feeling a little tough in the mountains.

    Really looking forward to the trip - keep an eye on this Blog for updates. We are also hoping to have to a real time tracker on board to show progress as we ride!

    Thanks again


    Jurriaan said...

    Hello Paul, I have received your mail and wish you good luck with your adventure. My name is Jurriaan (fellow cyclist) and I have a little hostel in Arenas de San Pedro ( It would be our pleasure to have you over and share experiences.
    Regarding your route, as always, there are plenty of variations possible. For example the route you marked from Avila to Arenas de San Pedro is a good option, it is the quickest and easy going, has some traffic and the first 20km are not to interesting. Do you like high mountain passes, you can take the road through Navalmoral, Burgohondo and Seranillos to Arenas (heavy but the best there is). Other option could be going from Avila to Barco de Avila and turn back to Puerto de Pico which is quite a bit longer….do you have the legs you can pass by the Peña Negra.
    Whatever you do, when passing Puerto de Pico make sure you take the exit to El Arenal and Hornillo to get to Arenas. You have 3km more of climbing but I can assure you it will pay off (splendid panoramic views).
    Going further south and you like a bit of adventure I can suggest “Via Verde de la Jarra”, an old railway they changed into a cycling lane, it connects with your original route. The problem here is that everything is beautifull!!!! Enjoy your trip and know that you are always welcome. Saludos Jurriaan

    Martin said...

    Hi Paul - just wondering how you got on?

    Did you mange to complete the tour?

    And how was the north of the country, in terms of cycling difficulty?


    Paul said...

    Hi Martin,

    Yes we had a great time thanks and called in at the Hostal you suggested.

    A full blow by blow day by day report can be found on this blog - just click on the header and work you way down a little and you will come across the stories.

    The first day was tough in terms of a huge climb but nothing I could not manage and I'm not the fittest of blokes - you will see in the pictures! The scenery was stunning.

    A few of the northern Spain riding days on our route were long, flat and straight which is a little boring.

    The ride from Avila to Arenas is superb - possibly my favourite days ride of the tour!

    A superb ride - I'd recommend it!

    Paul Bell said...

    Just to help anyone planning such a ride across Spain (do it - it's epic!) - here's an easy link to our day by day ride reports -

    Local Activity Map

    Get a customised activity map for your own blog or website here.