Well, the walking part was due to mechanical failure, first time in several years of cycle touring 🙁
I started off from Huelva early, stopping at the ham shop to get a quick cheese sandwich, with the firm intention of getting the rear derailleur sorted out, but the shop didn’t open till 10 am and didn’t look too good anyway, although with hindsight I should have stayed!
The first part was crossing the estuary by a lovely bike path, I’m sure the twitchers would have loved it, a quick stop for a second breakfast in Aljarque foolishly taking a ‘shortcut’ over what turned out to be a sand dune – when will I learn 🙁 Later it was interesting pedalling alongside the water channels similar to the Maderian Lavadas especially their gigantic syphons to get across the many valleys
Just after El Granado my little mechanical failure occurred as I was dropping down on the front derailleur the rear derailleur cable snapped in the brake housing (so that’s why it hadn’t been working so well) causing the chain to leap up and wedge itself in the mechanism and I mean wedged! In the end i resorted to violence by kicking the pedal backwards thus freeing the chain & twisting the changer:-( I sort of twisted it back with my pedal spanner, cut the wire and wrapped it around one of the luggage rack screws suitably tensioned for the middle gear 🙁
Of cause I ended up walking the big hills especially the huge one after crossing the border where I had met the most miserable cafe owner to date. Cheered me up no end, not.
I eventually arrived at the Beira Rio hotel in Mertola to meet more miserable faces 🙁 The lady suggested a bike repair place in Mertola so I shot off there, only to find they now fix rotavators etc 🙁
Looking on Google I could see there was a bike shop in Beja a much bigger city and only 30 miles away so I booked a hotel, for tomorrow, near to the shop and hoped it wasn’t just an agricultural or kiddies bike place.
I decided to move on from Seville after one night, I’m just enjoying the biking in the glorious sun too much to spend time mooching around cities.
It took a long time & distance before I was in open country and quietish roads again. Today I was more careful which roads I rode on so as soon as I could see unmade roads I zoomed down on the iPhone and found a longer more made up road 🙂 I also found an Aldi so I could stock up on cereal bars which the Spanish supermarkets don’t seem to do.
Later a laden up touring guy came bombing past me 🙁 I decided to catch up with him to say Hi, I eventually did just about keep up and then lost him again. However, he stopped for lunch in Niebla so I managed to sit and have a very enjoyable chat with him. His name is Martí from Tordera in Spain, he’s cycling to Lisbon as well on his first long-distance trip, and he’s quick. However, he is going via the coast whereas I will be cutting the corner and going inland so I guess we may see each other there. After lunch, we cycled together, once I decided to go to Huelva too as that was the only place with hotels!
The Costa De La Luz hotel is OK a bit basic with an awkward shower, why have it pointing it across the bath rather than along it? but the city centre is close and surprisingly attractive.
A bumper biking day a bit like an Audax with over 91 miles covered a lot of it over incredibly poor roads & tracks with each massive bump making me think that some part of the bike will have been broken but thankfully nothing had.
I left Hotel Italia after a good breakfast wondering why Dutch girls are so incredibly tall & speak such excellent English. The first part of the route was along the river no lovely cycle path here just a gravelly track past an area like a favela and folks sleeping under bridges but eventually, I was humming along a decent road with lots of cyclists on the other side.
But all that came to an end along the minor road/tracks around Guadajoz where the top layer of tarmac has partially peeled away leaving an incredibly rough service 🙂 🙂 better if they just scraped it all off!
The last few days it’s been annoying me that I cant access the two highest cogs (smallest gears) on the rear cassette so I decided en-route to slacken the wire this cured the problem but then of cause I can’t now access the two lowest gears (biggest cogs) since I’ve now gone past the mountains I just left it.
Between Los Rosales & La Monta the route took me alongside the rail track on a dirt road with lots of dogs trying to get me 🙁 most effective treatment seems to be look them in the eye and scream f… off!! rejoining the now very busy A-8005 it made me think which is worse Artics or Dogs 🙁
Amazing to see the vast orange groves ripe for picking all the Olive’s now left behind strange how monoculture works.
I made it to Seville just before dark arriving at the Don Paco hotel in the centre just after 6 pm just in my T-shirt & shorts all the leg/arm warmers removed in the heat & sun, splendid riding weather.
Here is the Strava:
and Flickr, not so many Canon pics today and the wretched Flickr uploader still not accessing the iPhone pics!
Today I finally left the Sierras behind, dropping down 1800 feet to the beautiful city of Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir river amazing the bridge built by the Romans over 2,100 years ago!
I left the Los Castillarejos Apartamentos Rural late at 10.30, due to writing the previous blog post. Antonio had laid everything out on the huge breakfast table just for me. I also managed to say goodbye to my new found Dutch friends.
Zuheros is a gorgeous little town well worth a visit for the scenery & buildings then my route took me on the old olive oil railway line now made into the Via Verde De La Subbetica cycleway before hitting the regular roads again, the amazing thing is the roads are virtually car less so perfect for cycling! Everything was going well with no sudden departures down rocky slopes, until, a huge stretch of the road CO-3204 nobody had tarmacked 🙁 it was compressed limestone so no ruts but still halved my speed compared to tarmac.
Finally, I swooped down across The Roman Bridge into Cordoba and its magnificent buildings a true World Heritage Site, especially in today’s crystal clear warm sunshine.
I found the Hospederia del Atalia nestled in an inner courtyard next to the place where I had a giant ice cream 🙂 A beautifully renovated place right in the centre of town. The debate now is whether to stay another night to explore the cathedral/mosque tomorrow or just to ride onto Seville.
Here is the Strava:
and here are the Flickr pics from my Canon, Hopefully, the iPhone pics will get added once the uploader works.