Wednesday 2 September 2020

Ride to Cabo de Gata

In July 2020, we went for a three day ride, the longest bike trip we been to, up to this date.

Some context.
My wife is my riding partner. I been riding since I was 17, she got her license after we got married. I bought a Vespa PX200 back in 2002 when I worked as a courier and I needed a cheap bike that was easy to maintain.
At some point, back in 2012 we started renting a second bike and going out for a ride, and since we did enjoy this time together, we do go for a ride every now and then, so in January 2019 we bought a Honda Rebel 500 as a second bike.

The planning.
Given this is 2020, and we have COVID-19 cases all around us, planning a trip is a complex task.
The problem is around the uncertain evolution of the cases, the more to the future you want to plan, the greater uncertainty you have to deal with, and you don´t want to put your money in advance for a trip you won´t be doing.

So this time the plan was different. There was no plan, we only had options.

We managed to arrange a weekend where the kids would be taken care of, then we decided that we had three places where we would like to ride. We had two nights out, and we were riding out of Valencia, Spain where we live, so...
We could try driving north to mount Tourmalet, West to the Sierra de Cuenca mountains or South to Cabo de Gata.
We also decided not to book a second bike in advance, to not put money in stake, but to just drop by the bike dealer on last Thursday and give it a try if they had anything we could rent. If we didn´t find second bike, I would do the trip on the Vespa.

The bikes.
Then, when the Thursday arrived, I went to the local Yamaha dealer. As any decent bike dealer, they have a set of test bikes you can use for a quick test ride before purchasing one. Many dealers offer this service, but Yamaha Spain went a bit further, and they also offer the chance of renting one of the demo bikes for some days.
They had a spare Tracer 700, so after the brief paperwork, we had the bikes ready.

The ride.
On Friday morning we checked the news and the healthcare information, COVID-19 cases were worse to the North, so we decided to go South.

We managed to travel 1200km in three days. We went all the way down to Cabo de Gata on our first day, then went up north to Albacete by crossing the Cazorla natural park, and the last day we went back home by riding to Requena.

Some lessons.

The Tracer700 is a great bike for travelling, it has fairing, powerful engine, wide tires... and the Honda Rebel did exactly the same trip without any of those. It's not the bike what makes the biker, it's the attitude.

Riding without a GPS is fun, but you will get lost, and by the time you're back on your track you will be tired and late.

Have a bandana on your neck, and if it get's too hot, soak it in cold water when you stop for fuel.

Get a bluetooth intercom, so you can talk with your riding partner.

If you are going to an area with plenty of accommodation, you can book a room by the time you get there. But if the hotels are scarce, you better book in advance and plan accordingly.
Our first idea was to sleep in RiĆ³par, but by the time we went there we could only find a room in Albacete. And this added a couple of riding ours to an already long day.

Some people don't ride out of their commuting route, some people ride a lot and afar. It doesn't matter what others do. Find what kind of riding makes you happy and enjoy the ride.

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