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Old 02-12-2013, 01:33 AM   #31
The Spanish Biker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
Hi Simon,

I finally found some time to check out your link, there's lots of good information on your side, thanks! The Catalan HISS rally also sounds interesting, too bad I don't have time in May.

Pip
Hi Pip,

Thanks for your kind words - it's always good to know that folks appreciate the site.

That's too bad about the Catalonia HISS - have you thought about the Aragon at the end of September? The location is absolutely stunning and a big change from the Pyrenees!

Regs

Simon
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:27 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Spanish Biker View Post
That's too bad about the Catalonia HISS - have you thought about the Aragon at the end of September? The location is absolutely stunning and a big change from the Pyrenees!
I only crossed through the area on a bike trip in 2004, so I haven't really seen it. (my avatar is from that trip) But the Catalonia area is somehow more tempting to me. Anyway, September is usually also very busy here, too. We'll see.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:18 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
I only crossed through the area on a bike trip in 2004, so I haven't really seen it. (my avatar is from that trip) But the Catalonia area is somehow more tempting to me. Anyway, September is usually also very busy here, too. We'll see.

Ha ha - I didn't notice the Bull in the background! These 'Osbourne' bulls are getting pretty rare nowadays, although at one time they were almost a national symbol - for those that don't know the bull is a the trademark of the Osbourne sherry brand. After a law controlling roadside billbpoards and advertising most of them are just rotting away although I think one or two examples are preserved as a sort of heritage thing. My favourite is on the N2 in the Los Monegros desert - if you've got a coup,e of hours to spare take a look at Jamón Jamón, the archetypical film of the transition period - it's not only a brilliant film and was the debut of both Javier bardem and Peneolpe Cruz - whatever happened to them :) - but it's also very, very sexy - so I guess an 'Adults only' warning is required!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPKpXoYm_bI

Back to Aragon - too many people ride through the region not realising that in those distant, apparently featureless hills there is some of the most spectacular landscape Spain, or even Europe, has to offer - hence the Aragon HISS!

Regs

Simon
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:35 AM   #34
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Your opinion is appreciated.
Same goes for france actually.
I should probably get a michelin map of these areas
Yes. As a rough, very rough, rule, and being on a bike find the green areas on the map. Often represents elevation, which usually means trees and water. Also, unless you need to get from A to B as quickly as poss, avoid the 'A' 'autoroutes. The remaining 'N' roads are what autoroutes were before the autoroutes. Many 'N' routes were re-named as 'D' when the responsibility for Michelintheir upkeep was transferred to the departments and many are in good nick and relatively fast. Check the legend on the map and you'll see the difference between the symbols for different levels of 'D'. Michelin's website is viamichelin.com. The colors will show up there. The roads highlighted in green are the best scenery.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:38 AM   #35
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check out the link in my signature. It's a report on our trip from Belgium to the Pyrenees and back. Might give you a couple of ideas.
I probably still have the GPS tracks lying around, send me a pm if you're interested.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:46 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by duibhceK View Post
check out the link in my signature. It's a report on our trip from Belgium to the Pyrenees and back. Might give you a couple of ideas.
I probably still have the GPS tracks lying around, send me a pm if you're interested.
Thanks!
I'll give you a poke for the tracks, i could use some inspiration for some parts.
From the looks of it you've visited some stuff along the road. But i'll read the report first before i start asking :)
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:08 AM   #37
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You can check some photos and maps here : http://www.moto.gr/forums/showthread.php?t=89262
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:27 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Cretan View Post
You can check some photos and maps here : http://www.moto.gr/forums/showthread.php?t=89262
Thanks!
My greek is a bit rusty; and the same goes for google translate :)
But i'm sure it'll be of help
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:46 AM   #39
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I think i've got or main itinerary figured out.
The red and green being the route we'll follow. The blue tracks are additional but i really hope we've time to complete those as well. Red stops at andorra. The plan is to freestyle through andorra and get back to our red line.

Main:


The first two additions "gorges d'ardeche" and "cascade du ray pic":

  • viaduc des fades
  • besse-et-saint-anastaise
  • salers
  • puy mary
  • chateau de pesteils
  • murrat
  • roffiac
  • andelat
  • saint-flour
  • viaduc de garabit
  • pont charlemagne
  • pont d'arc
  • gorges de l'ardeche
  • burzet
  • cascade du ray pic
  • saint bonnet le froid
  • chateau de lavoute-polignac

I'm guessing we'll spot "puy de dome" from a distance. I'm going over the route again to make sure we don't miss out on any wonderful roads. Any input is more than welcome

Third "cathar castles / citadels" and "massive de canigoux"

  • Carcassonne
  • Château de Pieusse
  • rennes-le-chateau
  • chateau d'arques
  • chateau de durfort
  • chateau de termes
  • chateau d'aguilar
  • MAYBE mas llensou
  • MAYBE oppidum d'opoul et canigou
  • chateau de peyrepertuse
  • chateau de quéribus
  • chateau de puilaurens
  • molitg les bains OR villefranche-de-conflent OR Eus
  • MAYBE elne

Fourth "san juan de la pena":

  • san juan de la pena

looks nice, but also looks touristy and it doesn't look like there are a lot of roads around here. Anyone have any information on viewpoints looking out over this site?

Fifth "bardenas reales":

  • yet to find what the most important spots are here and how to get there

I have found some information stating that the main roads are accessible and open to light traffic. Some info on where we can and can't ride would be nice. I wouldn't like to be subjected to a cavity search on the side of the road

Sixth "cirque de gavarnie":

  • cirque de gavarnie

This also looks quite inaccessible. I've found trails leading up and into this POI but can't know for sure if we'll be allowed to ride that far.

I'm posting this because i hope it'll reveal anything that we'd otherwise miss or pass without ever knowing it.
Thanks for any and all info!

T
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:41 PM   #40
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Bardenas Reales

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyvdv View Post
Fifth "bardenas reales":

[pic removed]
  • yet to find what the most important spots are here and how to get there

I have found some information stating that the main roads are accessible and open to light traffic. Some info on where we can and can't ride would be nice. I wouldn't like to be subjected to a cavity search on the side of the road
So I've done some recon for you ...


When entering the park coming from Tudela, you'll pass a tourist office where they hand out maps of the area and give tips on where to go and where not to. If you don't go in, you will still find a map signpost with the road layout a few hundred meters further. But (in the rain season) you may end up in spots like this:


I learned later that they had been marking that part as impassable on their handouts ...

Most of the roads inside the park actually look like the one below, except for the one heading out of the park to the north which is slightly rougher.



Being a natural reserve, most tracks are off limit for bikes, often even for hikers. They put enough signs to ensure you won't get lost.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:53 PM   #41
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great! thanks

what exactly is the rain season? hope to god it's not June
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:03 AM   #42
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Hi Pip,

Great images taken over the last few days by the look of it!

The northern 'spur' is well worth the ride, I usually enter and exit that way, then ride the circular route around the air force target range - yup definitely a no-go zone :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyvdv View Post
great! thanks

what exactly is the rain season? hope to god it's not June
There's no rain 'season' as such, but April and September are unsettled, just luke the rest of Europe - but the Bardena Blanca - note that it's one part of a bigger region/reserve - is usually 'sheltered from rain.

But being Spain when it does rain . . . and especially in July and August always be careful of thundery weather, which is often very violent.

Your worst problem is wind, however, when there's a high in the Bay and a Low in the Med. you get a terrible 120 kph wind there called the Cierzo, and the only thing in its way for hundreds of kilometres is you, so if you see warnings on the weather reports, believe it!

Regs

Simon

PS Pip - are you here now? My HISS trail rally in the Catalan Pyrenees further east starts Sunday/Monday. PM for details if you're interested
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:47 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Spanish Biker View Post
Hi Pip,

Great images taken over the last few days by the look of it!

The northern 'spur' is well worth the ride, I usually enter and exit that way, then ride the circular route around the air force target range - yup definitely a no-go zone :)
[...]
PS Pip - are you here now? My HISS trail rally in the Catalan Pyrenees further east starts Sunday/Monday. PM for details if you're interested
Thanks!

The north track was fun to ride, I backtracked once I'd left the valley behind to explore the other half of the circular route. It seemed like there was an interesting smaller track leading down into a small canyon just north of the famous mountain needle, but with the heavy rains it was pure mud.
I just found a map of the roads on their website. From what I saw, everything but the blue and red roads is off limit.

Those photos are a few weeks old and I'm back home, sorry. That said, Lleida is 1,022 miles from here, so it would be a great opportunity for an iron butt.
You'll hear from me by Friday if I get a cabin fever ...
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #44
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I failed to state the obvious. Great shots!
I've put the blue roads into my itinerary just to be sure. The information desk at the park will probably have brochures with the same roads marked on them.



The second track starting at the road going from "Valarena" to "Tudela" isn't marked on my map. I'm guessing it'll be obvious once we get there.
How about viewpoints? Are there any places to camp or stop with a great view over this place? I think i saw some shots taken from "sanctuario de sancho abarca" that overlooked the whole domain. Would be nice to enjoy the view before we go in and after we come out of this place.

Hoping it doesn't get too rowdy out there. One of us has never confidently rode gravel before :)

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Old 05-16-2013, 02:01 AM   #45
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Thanks to both of you guys, you've sent me searching for more stuff than I knew about! The situation of the Sanctuary does seem to have panoramic views over both the Bardena Blanca (white which is the desert bit) and Negra (black, which is forest) so you get the best of both worlds.

Spanish users of Wikiloc are a brilliant source of routes:

The first route is a bicycle trail but looks to me like it would al be 'legal' because it's not in the park itself - well at least I don't think it is!

Secondly this route takes in the Bardena Blanca but on less well known trails. The author claims that all the trails are legal but I can't comment on that. It joins the main 'circular' route and as far as I recall every one of the junctions keeps you on that trail with prohibition signs. But I think I might just have to toddle over there soon to make sure . . . it's almost on my way home from my Pre-HISS reconnaisance trip to the mountains of Teruel in early June!

So, Tommy, when in June to you reckon on being there?

Note that the route doesn't take the northern 'spur' that Pip reommends - me too! I'm not absolutely sure but I think you can connect that spur with the western trail - see the map in Pip¡'s link to the Bardenas site - by following a trail that runs just outside the park's boundaries, parallel with the main road from Carcastillo to Melida (NA126) or otherwise just take that road to make a round trip.

Camping is difficult near the Bardenas. There's a camp site just north of Ejea that is one of the 'resort' type that I don't usually like much. But in this case probably worth it! In any case the restaurant looked good when I checked it out a few years ago, so maybe that's a good option - it's very close to the park..

Ejea is an important service town for the big agribusiness there and I think it has lots of cheap 'commercial' hotels. But otherwise it's not very interesting.

If you wanted to add a bit of culture check out Sos de Los Reyes Catolicos, which is a historic 'city' with lots of hotels - OK, it's touristy but none the worse for than once in a while - and that's not Benidorm touristy!

On the subject of the trails - unless it's wet you could ride an Electra Glyde with slick tyres on these - you get used to the gravel, it just feels a bit like having a slightly flat rear tyre. But do stop to look at the scenery, those sink holes are lethal!

Some piccies on the way - my Wifo connection is being blasted by thunderstorms!

Pip, shame you're away from the region - question, why did you leave the German weather here when you left?
Regs

Simon

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