Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Spain by Bike

I finally broke down and bought a bicycle the other day. I decided on a cycle-cross model. I have always wanted a cycle-cross bike just because I think they look cool. I could really never justify one in the past, if not for the price then for the fact that I already had three bikes in a rather small apartment in Seattle. When you have zero bikes in your personal stable, room to store one is not an issue. I have never really had a use for these bikes which are a blend of mountain and racing bike.

I figured that a cycle-cross bike would be the best compromise for a guy who would probably be forced to live with only a single bike. I got an Obrea Eibar Sport, a Spanish-made bike that was certainly the best deal I found for the money. I couldn’t find anything used and I just ran out of time. I was sick of walking everywhere and needed a vehicle for my workouts. I brought over a bit of gear from my past cycling life in Seattle. I had a set of clip-in mountain bike pedals, shoes, tools, a hydration pack, and some clothing.

As soon as I rode away from the shop with my new toy I started to second-guess my decision. I could have gone for the model without the front suspension. A stiffer ride is preferable in most situations because more energy goes into propulsion because the suspension absorbs a lot of your work. I should have gone for street tires instead of the thin off-road rubber I chose. Maybe I should have gone for a straight racing bike model?

For me first serious ride I put on the clip-on pedals, filled up my water pack, and rode down to explore the new port that was built mostly to host the 32nd America’s Cup to be held here. I was able to scope out the whole area in about a half an hour—something that I would have never done on foot. From here I headed north.

There is a bike path that goes the entire length of Valencia’s waterfront. Instead of taking the bike trail I opted for the dedicated bus lane where I wouldn’t have to slow down for pedestrians or little kids trying out their new Christmas bikes. The only thing I had to worry about in the bus lane where buses. I figured that I could outrun most of them. I got to the north end of Valencia and turned down a narrow access road. The signs said there was no exit—at least not for cars.

At the end of this road there is a small nature park adjacent to the water. There is a pedestrian bridge over an small estuary lagoon that I rode over. On the other side the paved road was gone and in its place was a muddy dirt road. As the road went from bad to worse and I picked my way over ruts and mud puddles I felt completely vindicated in my bike choice.

I continued on this path until I reached the next little beach town north of Valencia. It isn’t the absolute most charming village I’ve come across in the Mediterranean basin, but for a day ride it wasn’t bad. The road north from here really turned to shit and I was even more pleased with my new bike.

I plan on doing a bit of bike touring here in Spain and possibly the south of France. I certainly don’t ever want to ride on the highways here as people drive too fast. This means I will limit myself to smaller paved roads and dirt and gravel paths.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.