Cycling from Barcelona to Valencia
Cycling from Barcelona to Valencia was not as unpleasant nor as difficult as it was made out to be on various websites. I read tales of cycling out of Barcelona and “nearly dying” and “nothing worth seeing” but these false claims appear to be because those poor cyclists decided to stick to the main road on the coast, which probably isn’t a good idea.
Once I escaped the hustle of Barcelona, and had cycled the challenging, hilly terrain and busy (but only) road south to Sitges, I was safe in the hands of quiet roads, cycle paths and a wide hard shoulder with the fresh smell of Spanish pine-wood impregnating the air. I couldn’t wait to be camping in a forest again.
I pitched up just after Sitges in the corner of a field. My tent smelt a little musky – it hadn’t been used in well over a year. Luckily there were no decaying spiders to be found inside. Like a lot of Spain the ground was quite hard and rocky but my ground mat made sure everything stayed soft.
So far my new bicycle has been running quite well too, and I only dropped it once. Well, it actually fell over by itself when I was stealing oranges from an orchard. That’s instant Karma for you.
I woke up a few times during the nights because it was surprisingly colder than expected. At around 7’C I had to put my jumper on and get back into my sleeping bag (my £30 sleeping bag is five years old now – I think it’s had its time).
I continued south, following some main roads but there was enough room at the side of the road it was like having my own private lane. The only problem was sometimes there were a few stones and bits of glass at the very edge of the road. I feel this is quite common in Spain – and certainly for all the main roads I was on. I also, surprisingly, spent a lot of time on cycle paths, especially at the beach.
Cycling here is extremely difficult. I have to limit myself to one beach-front coffee per day, otherwise I would never go anywhere.
On a more serious note, the wind did pick up a bit later in the day which made things a little more challenging and would be a common feature for the next two days.
The forest camp site was a little better than the previous day. Even though three people spotted me, they never bothered me. In fact, I had a conversation with one of them and found out her brother currently lives in Glasgow. Small world!
The night was pretty windy too and for the first time I had to get up, at about 2a.m, and reposition my tent, making it more streamlined to better manage the force of the wind. It didn’t work that well and I still had a tent flapping off my face for most of the night.
Tired and with bread, cheese and banana for breakfast, I pedalled off across the Delta de l’Ebre, roughly the half way point between Barcelona and Valencia. The roads here are very quiet and ideal for cycle touring. And everything is flat too.
The terrain down the coast on the whole is quite flat, but occasionally the coastal road sweeps in and up the hills, which can be a lot of work.
Today’s camp site featured camping next to an abandoned house in the old orchard.
All the things I like about bike touring – sun, great views and amazing roads with no cars – filled my day. I left the coast completely and wandered over some hills in the countryside surrounded by orange trees and little Spanish villages. I climbed a huge hill with a castle in quaint Vilafamés.
That night I camped in another orchard. There appears to be a lot of them in this part of the world!
After a while I felt like I’d got the hang of things and which roads to take. My favourite day was following a single track road deep into the countryside and over 2 high passes at almost 1000m each, leaving me with some pretty amazing views. The roads were pretty amazing too…
And the camp ground was a soft one…
And then it was downhill all the way to Valencia…