At the same time as The Spanish Biker blog began a biking chum (a British guy based in Barcelona) suggested I check out the UK based Adventure Biker Rider magazine’s Forum, then in its infancy. This has a completely different ambience to the HUBB, being more ‘chummy’ and British, as well as being a useful resource for technical tips as, to be honest, as an ex-pat it’s good to feel ‘at home’ in company of one’s compatriots in a virtual pub – or maybe a virtual by-pass transport caff!
I’d already written a feature article for ABR based on a rally here in Spain when the owner/editor, Alun Davis, suggested I organise one of their very informal ABR rallies here. Although ABR events have to be free I guessed that riders coming all the way down here would want more than a few cans of warm beer and a morning’s ride, so we spent a lot of time – and money – checking, mapping and arranging hundreds of kilometres of trails in our ‘county’ here in the Catalan Pyrenees. We had a ‘base’ in a local camp site for another enterprise and almost before we realized it the first HISS Event took place in May 2012.
We say ‘Event’ as to us ‘rally’ signified a sports event or test, which is not what the HISS is all about – the acronym ‘Highly Informal Sojourns in Spain’ describes it fairly neatly but cheek out the HISS pages for more details – but in any event the idea took off from the start and by 2013 we held two events, expanding the HISS to a totally different area, namely the sierras around Teruel in Aragón.
The rest is history, as the saying goes, and having moved away from the ‘Official’ ABR rally template due to the need to recover our costs we came to realise that this was getting more than a hobby so in 2015 we registered The Spanish Biker as a UK based Limited Liability Partnership.
Since them the HISS Events have grown bigger and better – the Aragón event has 1,200 kilometres of amazing trails as well as guides to some of the best roads in Spain that run through and around the ‘territory’- and in September 2017 we held out twelfth HISS!