Middle of the Road: Spain for the Intermediate CyclistAlex Timon and Kelsey Knoedler
Cycling vacations are perfect for people who are looking to get in some miles in the saddle to connect to the countryside and stay active but who aren’t looking to ride hard from sunrise until sunset. To narrow it down even further—Spain is the perfect destination for intermediate cyclists searching for this perfect balance. And we’re here to tell you why.
But first thing’s first—let’s make sure that you’re in the right category. You are likely an Intermediate cyclist (or Weekend Rider) if you agree with the majority of these:
- I exercise on a regular basis
- I ride 20-30 miles or participate in another aerobic workout a few times a week
- I like an occasional challenge but still like to enjoy my vacation and relax
- I can ride for three hours at a comfortable pace
- I am comfortable riding ten miles an hour for three hours
- I am comfortable climbing or descending a hill for a half mile to a mile
- I have an overall knowledge of a bicycle and feel comfortable in the saddle
- I like both flat and rolling terrain with some short, steep climbs
- I go for a short ride once a week and a longer ride every weekend
Now explore with us the top reasons why Spain is perfect for the intermediate cyclist:
Your average pro cyclist may be willing to train in the most torrential of weather extremes, but if you’re an intermediate cyclist—you likely don’t want to have to worry about rain and wind or severe heat. Spain is an ideal destination for cyclists who are looking for sunny skies and mild temperatures. Visit Spain in May, June, September or October for temps in the mid-70s to low 80s. It’s the perfect destination for spring or fall travelers looking to escape the brisk and breezy weather at home and warm up those bones in the Spanish sunshine.
Spain is home to some incredible cuisine, but is not so cream-and-butter-heavy as some of its neighbors. It’s great for pescetarians or anyone who loves seafood. Spain is really into their seafood, and they don’t mess around with it. It’s simply cooked a la plancha—just a little bit of salt on a hot plate with maybe a drizzle of green sauce (olive oil, garlic and parsley). Spain also produces a huge amount of eggplant—well known for lowering bad cholesterol. The tapas culture is great for American cyclists who like to graze on different things, and tapas also mean slower eating for a healthier meal. In a nutshell—you’ve got lots of healthy options but can also indulge in some world-class cuisine—perfect for the middle-of-the-road cyclist who’s looking for both!
If you’re really into food and want to take your Spain cycling adventure to the next gourmet level, try our Costa Brava Chef on Wheels Bike Tour with Seamus Mullen!
Spain is well-known for hosting professional cyclists for training all year round. Costa Brava and Mallorca are popular training grounds, and Andalucia is becoming more and more populated with pro cyclists. So there’s lots of great cycling, and a wide-spread cycling culture. That being said—Spain is special in that it has lots of varied terrain. In Mallorca, for example, you can find a perfect variety of hills mixed with flatter terrain for intermediate cyclists to spend some time challenging themselves and then spend some time coasting and relaxing on easier routes. After a week on a cycling vacation, cyclists are usually surprised to see how quickly they become stronger in the saddle. And if you cycle in Spain, it’s great to have the option to start out a little easier and then push yourself with extra mileage and more hills as your vacation goes on.
Many intermediate cyclists are accustomed to quiet roads at home or are fit people who haven’t spent a lot of time on the bike and on the road. The perfect thing about Spain is that there are virtually no cars on the road. As long as you’re outside the city, you’ll barely see a car the whole day. It’s a great destination for people who are good cyclists but who may not be totally comfortable with traffic—for people who just want to go out there and ride and have a carefree experience. Because there is a huge cycling culture in Spain, the drivers that you do meet are respectful to cyclists. By law, cars must overtake a cyclist like he’s a tractor—with at least 1.5 meters of distance.
More to Offer
If you’re an intermediate cyclist, you’re likely searching for the perfect balance between the cycling aspect of their holiday and then all the rest. And Spain has got that. A cycling trip to Spain isn’t just about the cycling. The bike trip is just a catalyst for opening your cultural mind to Spain which is, unfortunately, often overlooked and underappreciated.
Mix it up
Spend the mornings riding great routes in Spain and your evenings exploring all that Spain has to offer. Dinner in Spain doesn’t start before 8:30pm, so you’ve got a long afternoon for relaxation and exploration. An outrageous amount of the world’s treasures find their home in Spain—from architecture to art—but they aren’t well known. Spain is the last frontier between Europe and North Africa, so you’ll see a lot of the North African Moorish architecture as well as traces of the Sephardic culture. It’s an incredible hybrid culture unlike anywhere else on earth.
Photo by www.SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr
Or combine your cycling vacation with a visit to a larger city to see the sights. One of the greatest things about Spain is that it’s extremely accessible. You can split your trip in half and spend a few days in the cultural hubs of Sevilla or Barcelona and then see the real Catalonia or Andalucia on a bike. Cycle in Catalonia and then head to the South of France. If you’re cycling in Rioja, there are great flight connections to and from Bilbao from the UK, and Bilbao is a new, modern, art and cultural center of Spain with great gastronomy and worth a visit. End your cycling trip in Anadalucia and head to Granada or over to Portugal or dip your toes into Africa with a visit to Morocco.
Okay, so this one isn’t cyclist-specific, but I have to mention it. Spain is home to some of the warmest people in Europe. The Spanish are such an exuberant society—with a more vibrant feel in the south and a more reserved culture in the north, but still equally as kind. There’s a special kindness—an openness and optimism. It’s like an invitation. The people invite you into their homes and their hearts.
Photo by Ángela Capitán
Are you an intermediate cyclist looking for the perfect balance for your next cycling holiday? DuVine invites you to join us in Spain for your next cycling vacation. We offer three Weekend Rider tours in Spain that are perfect for the intermediate cyclist. Explore our Costa Brava 6-Day, Costa Brava 4-Day and Rioja Bike Tour Itineraries. Or check out our Mallorca Bike Tour—perfect for ANY level cyclist.
CATEGORIES: DuVine Style