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Offline greyhound81

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Northern Spain
« on: January 16, 2018, 04:45:41 PM »
Hello guys and girls, Im looking forward to going on a 2 week trip of Northern Spain in the summer. So ferry to Santander, and then a lot of biking on some great riding roads, and a few days of relaxation somewhere by the sea/mountains, ive already been reading about previous trips, id be grateful if anybody could share their Europe plans, or past trips, 
Watch my Scotland Trip here on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLGUEQClJow

Offline hotmetal

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 05:41:32 PM »
I did a similar trip on the Fazer Thou years ago. Santander, Burgos, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Barcelona, then the back way (mountains instead of tunnel) to Andorra, and home through France via Calais. It was a great trip, but make sure you've got something cool to ride in like one of the RST Ventilator suits. You need protection while riding but I made the mistake of wearing full leathers (with perforations but even so) and virtually boiled in the bag! Undersuits are also a good investment. The middle of Spain between major cities can seem like the Australian outback so keep fuelled up and hydrated.

Best to check up on the AA website what the latest regulations for driving over there are for UK bikes. I think the Spanish Guillermo Viejo (old bill haha) are fairly strict about a lot of stuff, including lame things like having GB on your number plate. Do not upset the Guardia Civil - they're a lot more bad ass than UK plod (or the regular Spanish cops for that matter!)

I would love to do that trip again on the Street with the riding kit I now have! I'm somewhat jealous I have to admit. Love the food, and the beer, and the climate, and the tarmac. I'd better add 'and the people' or "la Hotmetalina" will be giving me earache if she reads this LOL!

Not sure about Barcelona these days since all that business with the cataln separatists - I have heard some of them are pretty anti-tourist as well as 'anti-everyone-else-in-Spain' and will ignore you unless you speak catala. Maybe worth a bit of research if you had planned to enter Catalua. Then again, you'll be in Basque country to start with, and the food there is the envy of the rest of Spain so you might just be happy staying in the north which sounds like what you have planned.


----
2009 Street Triple 675R - future classic!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 05:46:10 PM by hotmetal »
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Bikes I've had:
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and some pedally ones as well!

Offline greyhound81

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 09:37:47 PM »
*Originally Posted by hotmetal [+]
I did a similar trip on the Fazer Thou years ago. Santander, Burgos, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Barcelona, then the back way (mountains instead of tunnel) to Andorra, and home through France via Calais. It was a great trip, but make sure you've got something cool to ride in like one of the RST Ventilator suits. You need protection while riding but I made the mistake of wearing full leathers (with perforations but even so) and virtually boiled in the bag! Undersuits are also a good investment. The middle of Spain between major cities can seem like the Australian outback so keep fuelled up and hydrated.

Best to check up on the AA website what the latest regulations for driving over there are for UK bikes. I think the Spanish Guillermo Viejo (old bill haha) are fairly strict about a lot of stuff, including lame things like having GB on your number plate. Do not upset the Guardia Civil - they're a lot more bad ass than UK plod (or the regular Spanish cops for that matter!)

I would love to do that trip again on the Street with the riding kit I now have! I'm somewhat jealous I have to admit. Love the food, and the beer, and the climate, and the tarmac. I'd better add 'and the people' or "la Hotmetalina" will be giving me earache if she reads this LOL!

Not sure about Barcelona these days since all that business with the cataln separatists - I have heard some of them are pretty anti-tourist as well as 'anti-everyone-else-in-Spain' and will ignore you unless you speak catala. Maybe worth a bit of research if you had planned to enter Catalua. Then again, you'll be in Basque country to start with, and the food there is the envy of the rest of Spain so you might just be happy staying in the north which sounds like what you have planned.


----
2009 Street Triple 675R - future classic!

Hah brilliant hot metal-actually Im thinking of a similar route, Ive never been to Barcelona, well actually Ive never been to Spain !
Los pickos de Europa sounds like its amazing for riding with the street triple

Good point about the kit,  Which il be checking out at the MCN bike show next month.
Flip open helmet at the top of the list,
Ive got a pair of cheap panniers, I may switch to a Kriega backpack and 20L tailback

Yeah lots to plan,







Watch my Scotland Trip here on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLGUEQClJow

Offline hotmetal

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 10:27:56 PM »
Yes definitely consider a mesh jacket at least. I'd put that higher up the buying list than a flip front lid.  I'm pleased with my RST ventilator which has armour and a wind/rain inner jacket for the UK part of the trip, but folds down to almost nothing and can be stashed in a pocket or tail pack while it's hot and dry.

Luggage wise I would advise you to consider tank bag and tail pack. Panniers are ok if you already have them but they make the bike wider. Having a tank bag is good for keeping valuable documents, sat nav, camera, spare gloves etc in and stuff you might want to access quickly en route, and might also take a reasonable amount of other stuff. The mild annoyance of lifting the tank bag to fill up every 120 miles is nothing compared to the grind and back/bum ache of wearing a rucksack for any length of time. It is literally a pain in the neck and arse! I only take a daysack for use off the bike really, or for very light items like gloves. For that purpose a 7 packaway Karrimor one from sports direct will fit in a pocket for camera, casual jacket, sun cream & sarnies. You will probably regret it if you wear a backpack with half your kit for the holiday in it whilst riding! I do own a bike rucksack - designed with a chest strap and suchlike to stop it moving, but whilst I might use it to go to work, there's no way I'd tour Spain wearing it.

----
2009 Street Triple 675R - future classic!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 10:34:00 PM by hotmetal »
_________
Play nicely!
Bikes I've had:
Vespa 150 Super, GPz500s, FZR600R, ZX6R, FZS1000 (x2), 2009 Matt Graphite STR
and some pedally ones as well!

Offline Ali-bear

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 10:26:30 AM »
I did a similar trip in May 2017, the short response is :028:
All the roads are excellent, its only around bigger towns and cities you get any traffic. If you use the Michelin maps (paper, on-line or via the app) you will find scenic routes marked with a green edging on the road.
The Picos themselves are very nice but all of the Cantabrian mountains offer great riding. This is the greener part of Spain so its not as hot as the rest, the flip side of this is you do get some rain.
I stayed in a town called Navia, then the middle weekend with my Mrs in Bilbao (she flew out) then finishing in Haro which is in the Rioja region. Somewhere else to consider staying is Luarca. If you are a serious foodie then San Sebastian is the best place to eat in the whole of Spain.
Book the ferry early for cheaper tickets. You could get the Santander or Bilbao ferry across then return with a long slog up through France to the chunnel.
One thing I would say is don't try to do too much in one trip. Spain is a lot more spread out than the UK and distances can be big. If you try to cover a lot of ground you will spend a lot of time on highways.

Offline greyhound81

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 02:26:26 PM »
*Originally Posted by Ali-bear [+]
I did a similar trip in May 2017, the short response is :028:
All the roads are excellent, its only around bigger towns and cities you get any traffic. If you use the Michelin maps (paper, on-line or via the app) you will find scenic routes marked with a green edging on the road.
The Picos themselves are very nice but all of the Cantabrian mountains offer great riding. This is the greener part of Spain so its not as hot as the rest, the flip side of this is you do get some rain.
I stayed in a town called Navia, then the middle weekend with my Mrs in Bilbao (she flew out) then finishing in Haro which is in the Rioja region. Somewhere else to consider staying is Luarca. If you are a serious foodie then San Sebastian is the best place to eat in the whole of Spain.
Book the ferry early for cheaper tickets. You could get the Santander or Bilbao ferry across then return with a long slog up through France to the chunnel.
One thing I would say is don't try to do too much in one trip. Spain is a lot more spread out than the UK and distances can be big. If you try to cover a lot of ground you will spend a lot of time on highways.

I couldnt agree more about doing too much on a road trip like this, I want to take it in and not rush it too much, thanks for the locations I will check them out. Ive got some experience touring in Scotland and the Far East, and Colombia of all places, but this will be the first time I will be taking my own bike abroad, that reminds me I will have to check my insurance documents, to make sure Im covered,
Watch my Scotland Trip here on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLGUEQClJow

Offline adiepage

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 07:08:55 PM »
HI.  Probably jumping in a little bit late on this but have been giving it some thought before adding my input since it may all be a bit outdated and specific.  Still, better to have said something that MIGHT be of interest than say nothing at all, I reckon.

I did a Northern Spain road trip a LONG time ago - I'm guessing it was mid-eighties - as a sort of 'pilgrimage' (it's a long story and a bit of an oddity as opposed to an odysse).  I did the trip with my father who, at that time, would have been well into his sixties and we used a borrowed CX500 Eurosport since my regular ride then was a GPZ600R.  Anyway, the reason for saying that is that the trip was less about seeking and taking great biking roads and more about seeking and reaching some beautiful places in Spain.  Back then the reaching of a number of those great places did mean using some great biking roads but that was before Spain benefitted from some huge EU funded road development programmes and many of the roads I might have taken automatically then are likely to have been diverted, demolished or just ignored and so may be difficult to find.  Nevertheless, I'll give you a broad outline and highlights of my route and leave it with you to consider the value of something you'll get for nothing - if you see what I mean.  :002:

From Santander we went first to Burgos - birthplace of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar "EL CID",an important historical figure in Spain's national history.  Burgos is (was?) a pretty place and worth the visit.

From Burgos we travelled down to Segovia.  Because I'd mapped out a route that avoided, where possible, major trunk roads our journey took us through a place called Turegano which has an astonishingly beautiful castle and church just a short walk from the main square of this lovely, quiet little town.

Segovia is much bigger and, of course, much better known.  Now a Unesco World Heritage site it is bustling and busy.  If you've ANY interest in historic architecture and building then you'll love the place.  If you haven't, you probably won't.  The Alcazar, the Roman aqueduct and the cathedral are just peerless, especially viewed against the backdrop of the Sierra de Gredos mountains.

We travelled on southward to Avila - another beautiful World Heritage site with the old town of narrow cobbled streets being surrounded by almost complete medieval walled fortifications.  From Avila we travelled to our primary destination for the trip - the city of Salamanca.  Now best known for its university, it, too, has some stunning historical architecture.  As a university city, though, it's probably more appealing to many for its youthful vibrancy rather than its dusty, ancient architecture.

We then turned north and rode across to Braganca in Portugal.  This was in the mid eighties and I did deliberately seek out minor roads but it still came as something of a shock to see - quite commonly in this region of Portugal - old women dressed entirely in black, walking behind a hay laden cart pulled by a donkey, usually with a young boy driving.  We saw such sights four or five times as we drove through this area and in one small village saw a group of women washing clothing under a water pump in a stone trough in the centre of the village.  Not something I'd imagine would be seen now.

From Braganca we used main roads to get to the Picos for a couple of days.  Two up with strap-on luggage did not exactly make for a sport-touring trip, especially on what was, after all, a 'maggot in fancy dress', but we made the most of our brief visit to the Picos, visited Potes and Covadonga before heading to the coast road for our return to Santander.

It was a 10 day trip timed to match the ferry schedule of the time and none of the daily mileages was huge but it was hugely enjoyable for a variety of reasons.

Many years later, I revisited pretty much the same 'tour', after my father had died, so that I could take my mother on the same journey.  On that occasion I did use a Triumph but, in deference to my mother's age, it was a Stag.  That said, my mother was quite happy, even in her eighties, to strap on a helmet and  ride pillion and was an absolutely brilliant passenger!

So, as I said, an entirely different viewpoint behind the tour of Northern Spain and one that might, perhaps, give you an incentive to broaden the scope of your travel plans.

Whatever you do - vaya con Dios, as we were told many times by friendly Spaniards.

Regards,

Adie

Offline greyhound81

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 12:08:12 PM »
*Originally Posted by adiepage [+]
HI.  Probably jumping in a little bit late on this but have been giving it some thought before adding my input since it may all be a bit outdated and specific.  Still, better to have said something that MIGHT be of interest than say nothing at all, I reckon.

I did a Northern Spain road trip a LONG time ago - I'm guessing it was mid-eighties - as a sort of 'pilgrimage' (it's a long story and a bit of an oddity as opposed to an odysse).  I did the trip with my father who, at that time, would have been well into his sixties and we used a borrowed CX500 Eurosport since my regular ride then was a GPZ600R.  Anyway, the reason for saying that is that the trip was less about seeking and taking great biking roads and more about seeking and reaching some beautiful places in Spain.  Back then the reaching of a number of those great places did mean using some great biking roads but that was before Spain benefitted from some huge EU funded road development programmes and many of the roads I might have taken automatically then are likely to have been diverted, demolished or just ignored and so may be difficult to find.  Nevertheless, I'll give you a broad outline and highlights of my route and leave it with you to consider the value of something you'll get for nothing - if you see what I mean.  :002:

From Santander we went first to Burgos - birthplace of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar "EL CID",an important historical figure in Spain's national history.  Burgos is (was?) a pretty place and worth the visit.

From Burgos we travelled down to Segovia.  Because I'd mapped out a route that avoided, where possible, major trunk roads our journey took us through a place called Turegano which has an astonishingly beautiful castle and church just a short walk from the main square of this lovely, quiet little town.

Segovia is much bigger and, of course, much better known.  Now a Unesco World Heritage site it is bustling and busy.  If you've ANY interest in historic architecture and building then you'll love the place.  If you haven't, you probably won't.  The Alcazar, the Roman aqueduct and the cathedral are just peerless, especially viewed against the backdrop of the Sierra de Gredos mountains.

We travelled on southward to Avila - another beautiful World Heritage site with the old town of narrow cobbled streets being surrounded by almost complete medieval walled fortifications.  From Avila we travelled to our primary destination for the trip - the city of Salamanca.  Now best known for its university, it, too, has some stunning historical architecture.  As a university city, though, it's probably more appealing to many for its youthful vibrancy rather than its dusty, ancient architecture.

We then turned north and rode across to Braganca in Portugal.  This was in the mid eighties and I did deliberately seek out minor roads but it still came as something of a shock to see - quite commonly in this region of Portugal - old women dressed entirely in black, walking behind a hay laden cart pulled by a donkey, usually with a young boy driving.  We saw such sights four or five times as we drove through this area and in one small village saw a group of women washing clothing under a water pump in a stone trough in the centre of the village.  Not something I'd imagine would be seen now.

From Braganca we used main roads to get to the Picos for a couple of days.  Two up with strap-on luggage did not exactly make for a sport-touring trip, especially on what was, after all, a 'maggot in fancy dress', but we made the most of our brief visit to the Picos, visited Potes and Covadonga before heading to the coast road for our return to Santander.

It was a 10 day trip timed to match the ferry schedule of the time and none of the daily mileages was huge but it was hugely enjoyable for a variety of reasons.

Many years later, I revisited pretty much the same 'tour', after my father had died, so that I could take my mother on the same journey.  On that occasion I did use a Triumph but, in deference to my mother's age, it was a Stag.  That said, my mother was quite happy, even in her eighties, to strap on a helmet and  ride pillion and was an absolutely brilliant passenger!

So, as I said, an entirely different viewpoint behind the tour of Northern Spain and one that might, perhaps, give you an incentive to broaden the scope of your travel plans.

Whatever you do - vaya con Dios, as we were told many times by friendly Spaniards.

Regards,

Adie

That sounds like an amazing adventure! taking all that on board my plans, thank you- did you say you did the same trip with your mother in her 80's? that is quiet something,

Oh i just figured out triumph stag is a car- haha- still brilliant story
thanks adiepage



Watch my Scotland Trip here on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLGUEQClJow

Offline adiepage

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Re: Northern Spain
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 04:54:59 PM »
>> That sounds like an amazing adventure! taking all that on board my plans, thank you- did you say you did the same trip with your mother in her 80's? that is quiet something,

Oh i just figured out triumph stag is a car- haha- still brilliant story
thanks adiepage <<

You're very welcome.   Yep, the trip with my mum was in a four wheeled Triumph, but she was still a willing motorcycle pillion passenger even into her early eighties and would probably have agreed to using the bike if I'd asked!

Hope you have a very safe,enjoyable and rewarding trip - and that we get to hear about it afterwards!

Adie

 


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