Don Quixote's route! Somewhere west of Albacete, Spain...
Eleven Days in Spain!
First, we celebrated our anniversary in Barcelona and Valencia and carb loaded on all the tasty vegan fare in each town. Now we've launched our Spain bike tour. Six days of pedaling behind hus!
We're a couple hundred miles in (north of Granada, for you Googlers) and our bodies are saying, "WHAAAAT THE HELLLL is happening?!" Apparently going from no riding over the winter to pedaling loaded touring bikes for 5+ hours a day through mountainous terrain isn't easy... (For a sample, here's a ride I uploaded to Strava.)
First impression? Spain is SO good for cycle touring. Quiet, smooth roads, scenic little villages, bike paths crisscrossing every city, affordable and historic lodging options, plus orange groves, vineyards, pine forests, and agricultural land for scenery. We've felt safer here compared to past tours in the US and the rest of Europe and the drivers practically leave the road giving us space as they pass.
Tales from the road incoming soon, perhaps once all the blood in my body isn't in my legs doing major damage repair on my quads!
What the Heck IS Bike Touring? FAQs, Anyone?
Prepping for our trip, I realized only 1.6% of my friends know what the heck bike touring is all about. From the basic to the more elaborate, questions poured in. And SO, here is my handy-dandy primer for anyone wondering how this bike touring thing works!
So, what is it?
Three ingredients: you, your stuff and a bicycle. Add pedal power.
Go places. Meet people. Eat SO much food to fuel more pedaling. Bike, eat, handwash laundry in the sink, sleep, repeat. Hate headwinds, always. Welcome to bike touring!
Want more? Here's a new blog post answering the questions we've received about where we sleep, how far we ride each day, where we're going, where we pee...all the fun stuff.
If You Want to Climb Like Sharma, Go To His Gym (Right?)
Not to get all fan boy or anything, but Chris Sharma is a bit of a legend in the rock climbing world. I've followed his career for 15 years, so of COURSE I had to visit his climbing gym in Barcelona to see if some of his badassness would rub off on me.
Sadly, Chris wasn't around and I'm still not a pro climber, but my friend Marc and I cranked on some boulder problems and had a fine time. If you're a climber visiting Barcelona, scope out Sharma Climbing BCN! It's a fun bike ride through town to get there.
Want to be Multi-Lingual? Duolingo Can Help!
A big reason I wanted to spend this much time in Spain is to up my Spanish skills. Every morning on this trip, I'm spending 15 minutes studying Spanish with the app Duolingo. Coupled with all the daily brain-twisting scenarios speaking with local people, I'm feeling far more capable after barely a week here!
As a bonus, Duolingo's podcast (in Spanish) is a GREAT way to up your game. I listened to them in the U.S. prior to this trip and it helped prime my ears for this trip.