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Mountain biking in Spain
« on: January 31, 2012, 17:43 »
My partner really wants to go mountain biking in Spain this year. Funnily enough, I whole heartedly agree and reckon that this would be an awesome idea!

We're into good technical cross country riding. For those of you who know riding in Canada, we enjoy Canmore (AB), Squamish (BC) and some of the unofficial trails in Gatineau (QC) are reportedly very nice (not that we'd ever ride them, disclaimer, disclaimer, blah, blah ...). So, it's the kind of stuff where you have to work hard to ride, but doesn't have mega drops that are going to see me crack my carbon Scalpel into a million tiny pieces ...

Can anyone recommend for us:
- any particularly good areas in the country to go;
- within those areas, good accomodation (ie., bike(r) friendly, nice place to stay, not too pricey, etc) - if anyone knows of any sort of "cottage rental" idea, that'd be excellent;
- whether it is necessary to go with an organised ride/company or whether the rides are easy to find and easy to access on your own; and
- if a company is the way to go, can anyone recommend any names.

If I get a range of information from people, I'll try to put it into a fact sheet kinda thing and repost it here, in case anyone else is looking to do similar trips in the future.

Thanks in advance for all help received.  :D
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Mountain biking in Spain
    « Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 19:43 »
    Asturias and Picos de Europa if you don't mind the hills (think Angliru and Lagos de Covadonga on the roads) in exchange for cooler weather.

    Elsewhere the area around Almeria and Guadix is arid spaghetti western country and perfect if you like desert riding.

    But if I were to suggest choosing one region out of this magical country, it would be Andalusia. Weather is obscenely hot in the summertime, but it probably has the most spectacular weather-scenery ratio with downtime day visits to Cordoba, Granada and Sevilla all feasible. Great array of landscapes too, from slippery karst rocks in the area above Antequera (El Torcal) to sandier trails over in the eastern Alpujarras. Plenty of villages with springs to stop by there for refreshment.

    Karst at El Torcal:

    Recommend you hire a cottage and do some planning on your own (start at Wikiloc if you do GPS) if you want to escape the crowds. I'm just a bit anti-social like that but you guys might be different.  8)
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  • « Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 19:45 by L'arriviste »
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    Re: Mountain biking in Spain
    « Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 08:13 »
    Thanks L'arriviste. I definitely like the idea of getting a cottage somewhere. Like you, we're not always into being surrounded by punters ... it'd be nice to get a guide once or twice to take us on some of those trails that only locals know and use (we scored that first trip to Squamish - rode some awesome stuff as the guide quickly worked out that we were after a "real ride") but after that to be left to our own devices to explore and to then go to local cafes and stuff in the evening ...

    I had heard good stuff about Andalusia - and Almeira in particular - so nice to get that backed up ...  :D

    No worries. As you've probably figured though, Andalusia is pretty vast. So here's a tip for a base: the area around Ronda is good place to start. Close enough to Malaga for the cheap flights and has a villageois atmosphere whilst in reality being a biggish town.

    There are, if I recall, no less than three national parks to tackle in the vicinity, each with different characters. The Grazalema is the wildest and stretches as far as Granada, a city whose Ummayad palace complex (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Albaicin district you should not miss *under any circumstances* if you stay in that region!

    Ronda is of course famous for its crazy bridge:

    I used this website for cottages before:
    + = EN speaking owners
    - = can be expensive

    There's also the much bigger ... (or for you in Canada
    + = Huge website, lots of choice worldwide
    - = Don't know, browsed a lot but haven't booked through them yet ;)

    As for guides, close to Ronda you have some good reviews for these guys...

    ...though I don't know if they'll be up to your more advanced level. Maybe you could ask! :D

    We stayed last time well off the beaten track in a hamlet about 25km north of Loja, in an olive collective zone. I liked it very much. It was a former stable and cold on those March nights but far from the madding crowd, to borrow from Thomas Hardy. ;)
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  • « Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 08:23 by L'arriviste »


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