I provide guided motorbike tours throughout Spain, and two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of guiding Gill around North East Spain. Gill has only been riding motorbikes for 4 years, but she decided she needed a personal challenge and a bit of a two wheeled adventure, so she planned a solo ride from the UK to Spain where she would meet me and be guided around Catalunya for 6 days before heading back to the UK on her own.
We met in Zaragoza, which is a 2hr ride from my home, and meeting at a retail park gave us the opportunity to park the bikes, have some food and drink and talk about her journey down to me, and what she wanted from the tour. I did this because what something initially thinks they want, can change once the journey has started and they have experienced things en-route. Gill’s requirements were quite simple, she hadn’t been to Spain before, hadn’t been on a motorbike tour before, and she wanted to experience rural Spain and its wonderful roads.
We left Zaragoza, heading towards Alcaniz, a route which has a nice mix of roads and allowed me to asses Gill’s riding. From the start, it was clear she was safe and competent, wouldn’t take risks and her road positioning remained off-set from me so she was always visible in one of my mirrors. As we moved from motorway to national road and eventually onto minor rural roads, I didn’t have any doubts about her riding. Working our way towards Flix, which would be our base for the week, we stopped to get some supplies at a supermarket and arrived at the accommodation after sunset, where we sat and talked over a bottle of wine and I explained the routes I suggested she would like to try.
The next morning, we checked her bike, lubed the chain and set off for a day in the Pyrenees with my girlfriend joining us on her bike. We took a direct route to Tremp, but the roads and scenery are absolutely breathtaking in this area, especially once you get past the plains and start to climb into the mountains. Lakes, streams, towering hills and deep gorges make it a wonderful ride on a motorbike. We stopped in Tremp for lunch and refreshments, and to find out how she was finding the roads and scenery, before heading west. We wound our way up and down some incredible mountain roads, through tunnels, along more deep gorges and stopped once more for refreshments before heading back to Flix for the evening. I have done this route in January, to read about it, click here.
The next day was a rest day, Gill had been riding for 5 days and had already covered 1700 miles since leaving her home in the UK, so we just stayed local in preparation for the following day, but still managed 120 miles of quiet, twisty roads and sleepy rural villages with plenty of refreshment stops.
This was the longest day of Gill’s tour, going back into the Pyrenees, but cutting across a high mountain pass and working our way into Andorra. Our first stop was in Sort, a lovely little town situated on a river which provides kayak and white water rafting excursions, and dozens of lovely bars and restauants. From Sort, we took a pass towarrds Andorra which seemed to climb higher and higher with every hairpin bend until we were looking down onto what looked like a toy village that we knew was the village of Sort where we had stopped for lunch. We had a look around some of the many motorbike clothing and accessory shops, where I bought myself some new boots, and then we headed south towards Flix on a wonderful road, full of fast sweeping bends, a contrast to the mountain routes we had been on earlier that day.
After such a long day on the bike previously, we had a relaxed morning, and then went out to do a nice 120 mile circular route with my girlfiend on her bike, and our friend Martin on his bike. This is a favourite route of mine, great for blowing away the cobwebs without it being too challenging. We stopped a couple of times for refreshments and a chat, and climbed to the highest village in the area, surrounded by a farm of wind turbines, before descending to the river valley below and on to Flix for an evening of home-cooked food.
Gill’s final day was a little unusual for a bike tour, but something I think she needed. We had a late start and took a trip over the local mountains before descending to one of the most beautiful seaside towns in the area where we walked along the marina and had a leisurely lunch overlooking the Mediterranean sea before riding back on more amazing roads so we could check Gill’s bike and she could start to pack her luggage ready for the ride back to the UK.
The final morning was an early start, we loaded the luggage onto Gill’s bike and I had decided to ride with her almost to the French border in the Pyrenees. As she had 355 miles to cover today, we pushed on for almost 3hrs before stopping for a bikini (toasted sandwich) and coffee. It was here we parted company and Gill continued into France and I returned to Flix. Gill returned to the UK, already planning at least one more tour next year, because she knew we had barely scratched the surface of what this corner of Spain had to offer those travelling on two wheels, and there is also talk about taking a couple of days to travel south and a ferry to North Africa to explore Morocco for a couple of days and then returning to Catalunya.
If you would like to explore Spain on your motorbike, contact me to discuss routes and options.