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Malaga to Nottingham

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By: endofhertether

April 2, 2011 to July 19, 2011

24 September 2010

This trip is no more than an idea at the moment; my idea more than Ken's.  The plan, as it stands, is to travel from our current home in Malaga to our home town in the UK, Nottingham, starting around the middle of April next year.  We will take a direct route there through Spain and the west side of France but a more indirect route back to Malaga, ending the trip some time between the middle and the end of July.  Our total experience of cycle touring is a couple of cycling holidays with an organised tour company, one in Cuba and another in India, lasting a couple of weeks each.  Not much to go on really!

I'm in the 'planning' phase - Ken's in the 'worrying' phase.  Situation normal.

23 July 2011 Post-trip review

Facts and Figures:

Total distance     6684 km

Average daily distance covered (excluding short days due to ferry crossings and trips during rest days):     79km

Longest distance covered in one day:     138 km

Average time in the saddle per day:     5 hours 25 minutes

Longest time in the saddle in one day:     9 hours 53 minutes

Total hours in the saddle:     477 hours

Average speed:     13.9 km/hour

Best average speed in one day:     18.5 km/hour

Worst average speed in one day:     10 km/hour

Maximum speed:     57 km/hour

Average daily cost  (excluding 9 days in Nottingham when staying

with relatives, 2 x ferry fares and bike repairs):     88 euros

Average daily cost when staying in hotels (50 days):     104 euros

Average daily cost when camping (50 days):     72 euros

Bicycle maintenance:                                                                                            

Ken

Number of punctures:     3

Replaced, due to wear, back brake blocks, cassette and chain.  Re-greased seat post and bottom bracket.

Julie

Number of punctures:     0

Replaced, due to wear, back brake pads.  Re-greased seat post.

Trip highlights were:

Wild, remote areas deep in the interior of Spain, where you can cycle all day and see only a handful of people and cars

Equally wild and dramatic mountains around Jaen which provide fantastic climbs for bikes

The ferry crossing from Harwich to Hoek van Holland with Stenaline; very impressive first-class facilities

The cycling culture in Holland with their fantastic infrastructure for bikes

Pretty waterway landscapes in Holland

Picture perfect landscapes in Luxembourg

Crossing the Vallee de Joux in Switzerland down towards Lake Geneva; beautiful mountain meadow scenery

The mountains of the Massif de Chartreuse and the awesome Gorges de la Bourne

Mont Ventoux - a magnet for cyclists from all over the world

Pretty, rocky coastline along the north region of the Costa Brava, from the border with France to Cap de Creus

Spanish people - unfailingly helpful and always warm and welcoming

Tips and observations:

Do not cycle tour in France before the start of the summer season (1st June at the earliest) unless you are prepared to wild camp and be completely self-sufficient

National holidays in France, such as Easter, mean that everything closes.  You will not find a shop, bar, restaurant, petrol station or anywhere else to even buy a bottle of water

Do not try to cycle tour in southern Spain during a heat wave! 

Get off your bike and walk it through the bigger town centres.  Determine the direction of your exit road and go straight for it, ignoring any road signs as these are designed for cars and will send you along ring-roads, one-way systems and onto motorways. We found that pushing the bikes straight through the middle, along the pedestrianised bits and the wrong way along one-way streets, was much quicker and way-finding much easier

Always have a compass handy, although on sunny days you won't need it so much

If you have a noise on your bike, try greasing your seat post

Take some waterproof socks.  Even if it is not actually raining they are great if your shoes have got wet the day before for keeping your feet warm and dry

Do not use pedals with cleats on a fully loaded touring bike - your chances of falling off will be greatly increased if you do

Put Vaseline or lip salve on your lips several times each day.  Your lips will crack anyway but at least it will not be quite as painful.

If you suffer from sweat rash the best cure is to keep the area covered with talc.  You will look like you fell into a tub of flour but who cares!

Take a camping stove - the extra weight will be negligible compared to the benefit of greater flexibility to eat when you want as well as keeping the cost of the trip down.

Do not go anywhere near a main road on a bike in France unless you have suicidal tendencies

Equipment List

Bikes: Cube Delhi HS11 with front suspension, hydraulic caliper brakes and Shimano Deore XT 9 speed (11-32 cassette and 48 x 36 x 26 chain rings); Cube Delhi Disc with front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Deore XT 9 speed (11-32 cassette and 48 x 36 x 26 chain rings)

Bags: Carradice CarraDry front and rear panniers, Simond watertight holdalls, handlebar map holder, stuff bags (for clothes)

Tools: Allen keys (2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10mm), Star keys (10, 25 & 30), Phillips screwdrivers, cone spanners, chain whip, cassette locking tool & rachet, tyre levers, spanners (2 x 8mm, 2 x 10mm & 15mm), chain splitter, spoke wrench, Topeak Road Morph pump with gauge, chain wear measure, Mammut multitool, rubber mallet

Spares: Puncture repair kit, chain lubricant, grease, 2 x gear cables, 2 x brake pads, 4 x brake blocks, 2 x Fibre-fix spokes, chain, 2 x inner tubes, 2 x rim tapes, assorted nuts & bolts, zip-ties

Camping gear: Jack Wolfskin Bike n' Hike tent, 2 x 2 metre plastic sheet, Thermarest Ridgerest mats, Wynnster Superlite 1500 sleeping bags, head torches

Clothes (per person):  Waterproof jacket, waterproof socks, long-sleeved thick cycle top, thin long-sleeved cycle top, 2 x short-sleeved cycle tops, 2 x cycle shorts,  2 x base layer shorts, cycling tights, socks, cycling shoes, cycling gloves, bandana, trainers, flip-flops, underwear, swim suit, t-shirt, zip-off trousers, fleece, shorts, sunglasses and lenses, helmet, baseball cap

Personal: Toothbrush, floss & toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, deodorant, soap, after shave, talc, sun-cream, tissues, razors, small mirror, comb, manicure set, travel towels, lip salve, Vaseline, glasses & disposable contact lenses, First-aid kit

Technology: Camera & charger, 'phone & charger, Netbook & cable, SD cards, bike computer, shaver & plug, spare batteries

Security: Cable locks, D-locks, Pac-safe document/money bags, high visibilty vests

Other: Bike water bottles, Sporks & plastic bowls, small plastic chopping board, line & pegs, travel sink plug, ball of string, needle & thread, washing up liquid, clothes washing powder, microfibre cloth, French phrase book, novels, notebook & pen, diary, highlight pens, maps, compass, documents & money

This Trip's Journal Entries:

  1. We've decided what bikes to buy October 3, 2010
  2. Still waiting November 7, 2010
  3. My new bike arrives November 30, 2010
  4. The first run December 8, 2010
  5. The route is plotted! January 5, 2011
  6. It's taken two days to pack the bikes for a trial run! February 8, 2011
  7. And we're off......... April 2, 2011
  8. Day 2 Loja to Almedinilla - 57kms April 3, 2011
  9. Onward and upward - Day 3 Almedinilla to Valdepeñas 49kms April 4, 2011
  10. Day 4 Valdepeñas to Jaen - 36 kms April 5, 2011
  11. Day 5 -Relaxing in Jaén April 6, 2011
  12. Day 6 Jaén to Arquillos 83 km April 7, 2011
  13. Day 7 Arquillos to Villamanrique 77 km April 8, 2011
  14. Day 8 Villamanrique to Pedro Muñoz 123 km April 9, 2011
  15. Day 9 Pedro Muñoz to Tarancón 82 km April 10, 2011
  16. Day 10 Tarancón to Sacedón 81 km April 11, 2011
  17. Day 11 Sacedón - Rest Day April 12, 2011
  18. Day 12 Sacedón to Sigüenza 104km April 13, 2011
  19. Day 13 Sigüenza to Soria 113 km April 14, 2011
  20. Day 14 Soria to Yanguas 52 km April 15, 2011
  21. Day 15 Yanguas to Estella 96 km April 16, 2011
  22. Day 16 Estella - Rest Day April 17, 2011
  23. Day 17 Estella to Erro 81 km April 18, 2011
  24. Day 18 Erro to St Jean Pied de Port 54 km April 19, 2011
  25. Day 19 St Jean Pied de Port to St Vincent de Tyrosse 78 km April 20, 2011
  26. Day 20 St Vincent de Tyrosse to Parentis-en-Born 104 km April 21, 2011
  27. Day 21 Parentis-en-Born to La Teste de Buch 60 km April 22, 2011
  28. Day 22 La Teste de Buch to Montalivet-les-Bains 131 km April 23, 2011
  29. Day 23 Montalivet-les Bains to St Georges de Didonne April 24, 2011
  30. Day 24 St Georges de Didonne to Surgéres 97 km April 25, 2011
  31. Day 25 Surgéres to St Michel-en-l´Herm 71 km April 26, 2011
  32. Day 26 St Michel-en-l'Herm to Les Sables d'Olonne 65 km April 27, 2011
  33. Day 27 Les Sables d'Olonne to Machecoul 71 km April 28, 2011
  34. Day 28 Machecoul - Rest Day April 29, 2011
  35. Day 29 Machecoul to Guémené-Penfao 90 km April 30, 2011
  36. Day 30 Guémené-Penfao to Monfort 86 km May 1, 2011
  37. Day 31 Montfort to Chateauneuf 73 km May 2, 2011
  38. Day 32 Chateauneuf to St Malo 18 km May 3, 2011
  39. Day 33 St Malo to Portsmouth (by boat!) May 4, 2011
  40. Day 34 Portsmouth to Salisbury 81 km May 5, 2011
  41. Day 35 Salisbury to Swindon 82 km May 6, 2011
  42. Day 36 Swindon to Banbury 90 km May 7, 2011
  43. Day 37 Banbury to Nottingham 128 km May 8, 2011
  44. Day 38 to Day 45 Nottingham 73 km May 16, 2011
  45. Day 46 Nottingham to Spalding 78 km May 17, 2011
  46. Day 47 Spalding to Brandon 97 km May 18, 2011
  47. Day 48 Brandon to Woodbridge 88 km May 19, 2011
  48. Day 49 Woodbridge to Harwich 35 km, Overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland May 20, 2011
  49. Day 50 Hoek van Holland to Briesbosch 95 km May 21, 2011
  50. Day 51 Biesbosch to ´s-Hertogenbosch 60 km May 22, 2011
  51. Day 52 ´s-Hertogenbosch to Roggel 88 km May 23, 2011
  52. Day 53 Rest day in Roggel 42 km May 24, 2011
  53. Day 54 Roggel to Landgraaf 77 km May 25, 2011
  54. Day 55 Landgraaf to Aubel 54 km May 26, 2011
  55. Day 56 Aubel to Trois Ponts 68 km May 27, 2011
  56. Day 57 Trois Ponts to Wiltz 67 km May 28, 2011
  57. Day 58 Wiltz to Esch-sur-Sure 16 km May 29, 2011
  58. Day 59 Esch-sur-Sure to Montmedy 84 km May 30, 2011
  59. Day 60 Montmedy to St Mihiel 94 km May 31, 2011
  60. Day 61 St Mihiel to Domremy-la-Pucelle 86 km June 1, 2011
  61. Day 62 Domremy-la-Pucelle to Vesoul 137 km June 2, 2011
  62. Day 63 Vesoul - Rest and cycle repair day June 3, 2011
  63. Day 64 Vesoul to Beure 85 km June 4, 2011
  64. Day 65 Beure to St Point 78 km June 5, 2011
  65. Day 66 St Point to Morges 68 km June 6, 2011
  66. Day 67 Morges Rest day June 7, 2011
  67. Day 68 Morges to Neydens 86 km June 8, 2011
  68. Day 69 Neydens to Valliéres 47 km June 9, 2011
  69. Day 70 Valliéres to Novalaise-Lac 65 km June 10, 2011
  70. Day 71 Novalaise Lac to le Sappey-en-Chartreuse 48 km June 11, 2011
  71. Day 72 le Sappey-en-Chartreuse to Villard-de-Lans 57 km June 12, 2011
  72. Day 73 Villard-de-Lans Rest day June 13, 2011
  73. Day 74 Villard-de-Lans to Die 86 km June 14, 2011
  74. Day 75 Die to la Motte-Chalancon 50 km June 15, 2011
  75. Day 76 la Motte-Chalancon to Sault 75 km June 16, 2011
  76. Day 77 Sault Rest day June 17, 2011
  77. Day 78 Mont Ventoux (1912 metres) 52 km June 18, 2011
  78. Day 79 Sault to Montfrin 105 km June 19, 2011
  79. Day 80 Montfrin to Montpellier 96 km June 20, 2011
  80. Day 81 Montpellier to Pezenas 59 km June 21, 2011
  81. Day 82 Pezenas to Lézignan-Corbiéres 91 km June 22, 2011
  82. Day 83 Lézignan-Corbiéres to Durban-Corbiéres 36 km June 23, 2011
  83. Day 84 Durban-Corbiéres Rest Day June 24, 2011
  84. Day 85 Durban-Corbiéres to Céret 88 km June 25, 2011
  85. Day 86 Céret to Llança 82 km June 26, 2011
  86. Day 87 Port de la Selva June 27, 2011
  87. Day 88 Port de la Selva June 28, 2011
  88. Day 89 Port de la Selve to Palafrugell 103 km June 29, 2011
  89. Day 90 Palafrugell to Santa Coloma de Farners 61 km June 30, 2011
  90. Day 91 Santa Coloma de Farners to Espinelves 41 km July 1, 2011
  91. Day 92 Espinelves to Manresa 74 km July 2, 2011
  92. Day 93 Manresa to Les Piles 60 km July 3, 2011
  93. Day 94 Les Piles Rest Day July 4, 2011
  94. Day 95 Les Piles to Vilanova de Prades 48 km July 5, 2011
  95. Day 96 Vilanova de Prades to Móra d'Ebre 70 km July 6, 2011
  96. Day 97 Móra d'Ebre to Fuentespalda 74 km July 7, 2011
  97. Day 98 Fuentespalda to Benassal 85 km July 8, 2011
  98. Day 99 Benassal to Onda 79 km July 9, 2011
  99. Day 100 Onda to Altura 46 km July 10, 2011
  100. Day 101 Altura Rest Day July 11, 2011
  101. Day 102 Altura to Buñol 88 km July 12, 2011
  102. Day 103 Buñol to Jarafuel 73 km July 13, 2011
  103. Day 104 Jarafuel to Jumilla 107 km July 14, 2011
  104. Day 105 Jumilla to Caravaca de la Cruz 84 km July 15, 2011
  105. Day 106 Caravaca de la Cruz to Huescar 82 km July 16, 2011
  106. Day 107 Huescar to Huesa 74 km July 17, 2011
  107. Day 108 Huesa to Iznalloz 110 km July 18, 2011
  108. Day 109 We're home!! Iznalloz to Colmenar 138 km July 19, 2011