When my friend Alan suggested that I join him on a day out testing one of the new routes for his guided motorbike tour business I jumped at the chance.
I was looking forward to discovering a part of Spain that I had never seen before, but without the pressure of navigating or researching the route. I had been intending to do some longer rides on my motorbike this summer so this opportunity ticked plenty of boxes for both of us.
This is one of the longer day rides in Alan’s portfolio and it certainly offers value for money. With more than 300kms covered and nearly 7 hours in the saddle on our circular ride I wasn’t disappointed.
Benefits of a motorbike guide
No matter what speed I rode at, Alan adjusted his speed to match mine, but with bike to bike intercoms I was confident that I wouldn’t get lost if we split up so I could relax. The intercom had the added advantage that we could chat as we rode along – although I’m not so sure that Alan appreciated some of my ear-splitting screams as some of the stunning scenery unfolded
Our day took us past several reservoirs and across a mountain range with tight corners and hairpin bends. We rode flat out across the plains and along river valleys. The sound of our exhausts echoed back from the tightly packed walls of the stone houses in cute mountain villages and we rode for miles without seeing any other traffic at all.
Despite the long day there were plenty of breaks built in and I never felt tired or uncomfortable. Because we had the intercoms it was easy for me to pull in whenever I felt the need to stop and take photos or for a drink of water – I simply stopped and let Alan know – although he normally spotted me in his mirrors anyway.
With coffee breaks, a picnic lunch and even a swim in some natural pools this was more than just a ride out on our motorbikes.
We discovered the perfect rustic restaurant with home cooked food in one of the villages high on a hill, however having already had our picnic in the shade of a pine forest by the side of a monastery we had to pass that lunch stop up. But the dishes coming out of the small kitchen looked and smelt very tasty so the restaurant has gone into the portfolio for future tours.
At one point two large mountain goats bounded across the road ahead of us; this was yet another reason to yell excitedly into Alan’s ear piece, and equally so when we found ourselves riding along among a kettle of enormous griffin vultures that swooped across the road between us at eye level (yes, the collective name for vultures in flight is a kettle!)
There was an added drama when a wasp got inside my suit during an ice cream stop. Much to the amusement of some locals who were sat enjoying a beer outside a bar, Alan didn’t hesitate to delve down inside the back of my trousers where it was crawling south. It had already stung me under my waistband and was crawling down my leg but I was afraid that if I dropped my trousers in the street it may have stung me again. I was yelling and trying to unzip myself as fast as possible while Alan heroically risked being stung himself as he scooped it out but he also had some anti-histamines in his pack which took some of the pain out of the sting.
Great motorbike rides
Several years previously, I had taken a motor bike tour when I was in Vietnam to explore the mountains near the Laos border and the Ho Chi Ming trail but that was a very different experience. That time in Vietnam I chose to ride pillion with my guide Nam, because I was apprehensive about riding and I wanted to enjoy the views rather than concentrate on the road and the traffic, however this day out with Alan in Spain proved that with a good guide up ahead of me it was possible to have it all.
One of the good things about riding with Alan is his flexibility. We crossed a bridge across a lake and I wanted to stop, stretch my legs and take photos – there was no problem. We passed a sign for a monastery which I fancied checking out so we took a detour – no problem. Riding past the imposing town of Morella and Alan checked in with me if to ask if I wanted to park and walk up to the castle. It was very tempting but as it’s on my list of places to visit with friends in the near future I suggested that we continue riding – no problem!
Towards the end of our day out we stopped for yet another cold drink and another choice. Alan’s comprehensive knowledge of the area meant that he could offer me a variety of routes back home. We could ride for another hour or so alongside the river Ebro or cut across the vineyards and olive groves as dusk fell. He told me that every route has these choices so that they can be adjusted on the fly, depending on the weather or the preference of the rider.
Time permitting, I hope that our next ride will take us up into the Pyrenees and Andorra before the weather gets too cold. If you’ve got decent bike gear it must be stunning up there in the late autumn or the early spring, but I don’t and I would just get grumpy so I need to go sooner rather that later. I’m also planning to really push my comfort zone and try riding off-road along some of the TET (Trans Euro Trails) which Alan also knows well having plotted some of the tracks for the Spanish linesman.
I would need a different type of bike to ride the TET but again, via Alan and his contacts I would be able to hire one.
The options are endless if you’re interested in exploring Spain on a motorbike.
- You can ride to your chosen start point on your own bike
- You can fly in from abroad and hire the best machine for your preferred terrain
- You can base yourself in one place for day rides or
- You can do a circle of Spain or Portugal, take a linear route into Morocco or anything else in-between.
If you’re interested in discovering Spain from a motorbike, drop me a line and I can put you in touch.
I loved my day out and I can’t wait for another opportunity.
Disclaimer: I received no payment for this article and all opinions are my own