Sunday, May 08, 2011

Cycling in Spain - and stuff ....

Living in a mild climate next to the sunny Mediterranean, cycling is a year-round activity.

At weekends the clubs are out dashing up and down the coast road for miles and miles. During the week, people with time off, or the idle not-so-rich like us, get to go out in their ones, twos or threes.

Chillin' (and cyclin')

It's more than five, or six or seven, or something, years since we started cycling - again. When I say again, I mean Partner, as my cycling in my youth was limited to round and round the garden and up and down the drive. With the exception of university - where I cycled part-way around Sefton Park, and Amsterdam when I nearly ended up in the canal due to a lack of skill with back-peddling in order to brake - my road cycling has been zilch. Oh, there was the tandem with Partner, but most of that was done on an old railway line along the east coast in the UK.

Here is the link to the start of the torture machines entering my life.

The bikes rescued from the skip were perfect and we cycled happily along tracks and I graduated to the road. We cycled further and further in each direction.

One day I was struggling back home and a road cycling group whizzed past. 'Venga con nosotros!' they said - 'Come with us!'

'Ojala,' I said wearily. 'If only.'

But months and months and years and years brought results, and one day we set off for a town 20 or so kms up the coast. Flat tyre within the first few kms. Partner pumped it up and I cycled like mad until it went down again. We did this about three times until we got to the first town where we could either buy a new inner tube or fix the existing one and check it with water. Can't remember now - I just remember cycling like mad to get to town!!

Well, lo and behold, further up the coast - there was another puncture. When we got to our destination - yes, yet another one. We had stopped for a drink at a bar so went back to ask for some water to fix the third puncture. Once sorted, we sat and ate our cheap-skate sandwiches brought from home while looking at the sea.

I should say that a group of cyclists had offered to help when we (aka him) were sorting the puncture. We said no thanks. This was the incredibly famous Sean Kelly and some members of an Irish cycling club (Banbridge? - it began with B anyway) who were staying in the area and taking blind people out on tandems.

Now, pay attention. Because although we shot past them as they cruised idly down the non-cycling promenade - they overtook us on the road. But!! We beat them!! Yes, we beat Sean Kelly and clubmates back into town :) But only because we knew the short cuts. Still, I need to say that, because it has to be one of my most famous cycling achievements ever.

In fact, as you do, I was looking things up on the internet today, and it seems you can go cycling with Sean Kelly in Majorca for lots of euros. I don't think so. Because after we joined up again and had a laugh about us beating them, we cycled happily down the promenade together. Cyclists can be nice people with no side. Even when they are world famous.

Which brings me to last week. The cycling is not going too good. My pal Sean would def beat me now. That horrid green slime that Partner insisted on sticking in the tyres to avoid punctures doesn't help. It drags me back, I swear it.

But I bounded personfully on the bike, full of enthusiasm and fitness after my GibGym exercises (no not Gib Gin, that is another story). Off we sailed - or cycled - down the railway track, the going was good - and downhill.

We joined the road. The road is long and endless. My poor little legs struggled to push the wheels round. Nasty bike didn't want to go anywhere. Nasty wheels would not go round. I kept stopping and moaning about the slime.

I checked the brakes weren't sticking. I spun the front wheel. Good as gold. I was about to spin the back wheel ... 'I did all that,' said Really Fit and Fast Cycling Partner Laughing His Arse Off. 'You won't get a puncture with the slime in there.'

I got back on. Reluctantly. Bumpety bumpety bump went the back wheel. I jumped off in a flurry. Looked at the back wheel and it was absolutely rotto. The tyre was totally flat. No puncture with the horrid green slime???????

We weren't far from home. We argued on the side of the road and walked the bikes home.

As the cycle ride had not turned out too well, we climbed in the Landy to go geocaching.

This was a very nice drive. Great directions to the cache - we normally get lost trying to drive to this fortress, and - good co-ordinates. As it clearly wasn't my day, I left the glory of finding the cache to someone else.

He found it!!

The tower

Arabic archway

Approaching La Fortaleza

Then we went to look at the new Holy Week (Semana Santa) museum. It was closed, they were still bringing back all the images - idols? - following the processions over the Easter holiday. Maybe next time. Still, a good cache, and all in all a good morning.

The church of Santa Maria - now home to the Holy Week museum

Might even manage to get rid of that horrid slime out of my tyres soon - it soooo slows me down. And clearly doesn't prevent punctures at all.


James said...

Hope all of you are okay after the earthquake.

Thanks for a great story. We used to bike and need to get back into geocaching. My brother-in-law just rode a century last week. He is looking into riding in others around the region (Colorado).


Ashleigh said...

Wow! Cool story...why are you getting so many flat tires??? Is this common in Spain? HAve you ever read a book called It's not about the Tapas---Spain on Two Wheels or something like was very interesting...