Five weeks from UK to southern Spain/Portugal! Yippee

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
Have managed to wangle five weeks off from 14 Sept and planning a long tour. My longest ever. Plan is to cycle from Winchester, ferry to St Malo, and then through France (not sure if east or west of Pyrenees) then end up somewhere like Gibraltar/Seville/Faro for a flight home.

I will be camping mostly, plus warmshowers and a few friends along the way. I have a touring bike and most of the kit needed. I am replacing my very comfy Exped Downmat with a much lighter Synmat UL. I will have a few questions about current views on mobile data etc when away, cooking advice, and will post them when I have a mo.

I am fairly experienced at touring, but this will be a leap further in terms of full on camping. Views on Spanish stealth camping are of interest. I am hoping that French municipal sites further south will be open till 30 Sept, by which point I expect to be in Spain

All other comments gratefully received. See here for previous experience https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/directory/?o=1&user=julian
 
OP
jay clock

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
first stab at my CGOAB journal
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/julian2012
 

MarkF

Legendary Member
Location
Yorkshire
My view is that the Spanish interior provides ample and safe opportunity for stealth camping, I rode right through in June and wished I'd taken a mat.

The minor roads and even A roads (superceded by close autovias) are very quiet during the day, so at night, the possibility of being discovered and asked to move on from a private land roadside camp would be very small indeed. I saw a lot of picnic areas that looked like they had not been used in years, these would make excellent stopovers. Disused old structures are everywhere, farms, houses, castles and abandoned new builds are on the edge of every decent sized town.

My favourites would be under the old trucker roadhouses and petrol station canopies now closed (all business on the autovias) on the A roads and also........cemeteries. Don't laugh, I noticed that these are usually positioned away from the town/villages, quite, safe and well enclosed providing good shelter from the winds and good stable flat surfaces to sleep on...................
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Through France many of the 'camping municipal' sites will be closed by mid September, however we have found that means unstaffed and maybe no electricity, however as many of the loo blocks double up as the local sports field changing rooms they remain open all year, we stayed in quite a few closed ones and had all the facilities for free, even if it was only a good place to camp.
 
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jay clock

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
Through France many of the 'camping municipal' sites will be closed by mid September, however we have found that means unstaffed and maybe no electricity, however as many of the loo blocks double up as the local sports field changing rooms they remain open all year, we stayed in quite a few closed ones and had all the facilities for free, even if it was only a good place to camp.
Great tip! I used to live in France and the site next to my school was like that. If I have a water tap and ideally a loo I will be well happy. A new investment for washing etc when away is a bowl/bucket like this http://www.kidstravelclub.co.uk/image/cache/collapsible-bowl-500x500.jpg which will be good for a wash down with a sponge in the event of ample water but no shower.
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
Lucky boy JC!
I'm sure you'll have a great time!
5 weeks is a great length of time, when you don't have to feel that you're in a rush to get everything done.
 

chrtho

Well-Known Member
Location
Mancunia
Did a similar trip to the Algarve and back a few years ago. I found both France and Spain excellent for stealth camping - the only problem I had was getting soft aluminium pegs into the rock hard ground in Spain and Portugal. One disadvantage of a single-hoop tent - a free-standing tent would have made life much easier.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
Eating at Les Routiers in France can be enjoyable, large meals for not a lot plus occasionally interesting company. Just take a chequered shirt with you. Also Flunch is good value. Eat as much veg as you can for free :hungry:.

Instead why not go East to Istanbul and into Turkey, beautiful mountains and beaches?

Are you going to ride through the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain?
 
OP
jay clock

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
Are you going to ride through the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain?
Turkey a tad far 3200km in 35 days leaves little scope for delays/rest etc - I have also not done such a long tour alone so want to start with an "easy" route. shortest direct route is 2000km and I reckon I will do about 2700k. Aiming to do the French coast route then east of Madrid, head a bit west, to Cordoba then Sevilla
 

Dave Davenport

Legendary Member
Location
Hampshire
Sounds great, have only toured in northern Spain but (inspired by rich p) am already planning a three week Spain / Portugal trip for next summer. Given the choice I wouldn't cross the Pyrenees on the west coast, it's quite built up & busy with not much choice of route, haven't done the eastern end.
Heading north from Spain into France this year we crossed on the Col de la Pierre St.Martin, there's some nice riding either side on that route (CGOB journal nearly done). If you were inclined to a little subterfuge and don't mind lights out at 10pm, you could also blag some free lodgings in the Camino hostels too!
 

MarkF

Legendary Member
Location
Yorkshire
Turkey a tad far 3200km in 35 days leaves little scope for delays/rest etc - I have also not done such a long tour alone so want to start with an "easy" route. shortest direct route is 2000km and I reckon I will do about 2700k. Aiming to do the French coast route then east of Madrid, head a bit west, to Cordoba then Sevilla
Seville was the highlight of my trip, once the youngest has gone we intended to move to Asturias but Seville, wow, I am not sure now.
 
OP
jay clock

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
Sounds great, have only toured in northern Spain but (inspired by rich p) am already planning a three week Spain / Portugal trip for next summer. Given the choice I wouldn't cross the Pyrenees on the west coast, it's quite built up & busy with not much choice of route, haven't done the eastern end.
Heading north from Spain into France this year we crossed on the Col de la Pierre St.Martin, there's some nice riding either side on that route (CGOB journal nearly done). If you were inclined to a little subterfuge and don't mind lights out at 10pm, you could also blag some free lodgings in the Camino hostels too!
Cheers. I know the Col de la Pierre St Martin very well. I lived for a year in Oloron and skied there many times. I suspect I would be faster up the road on my bike than in my 1976 Renault 5 with an 845cc engine. The coast road on the eastern end is nice too plus it has the offer of a couple of free nights to recuperate at my bro's flat. See here for my write up on that route. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=1447&v=2M

I am going to review which way I go as I think I may have time to go east, but on a direct route basis it adds 600km to the journey.

Re the west, I know what you mean, but I was meaning a little inland. This route looks interesting.....? http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1655445
 
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