Long distance

The idea behind these routes is to provide food for thought as well as specifics. All of the routes have either been tried and tested by yours truly or will be soon. There’s a limit to what one can do, naturally, so the routes can get much better with the addition of readers’ own contributions – with acknowledgements of course!

Route categories

Given the mountainous terrain in some routes like the Pyrenees I’ve suggested two distinct route types, ‘Fast’ (in red, naturally) and ‘Slow’ (green). I’ve done this for various reasons: I’ve met quite a few bikers out on the road not really having a great time because their bikes are just not suitable for the roads the are following. For instance a pair of guys riding Ducati 1198’s on the Tremp – Pont de Suerte section on their way west along the whole of the Pyrenees, asked me plaintively, “Is there much more of this?” Well, the simple answer way “Yes, lots along the way you’re heading!” The more complex answer, diplomatically speaking, was that they’d neatly by-passed the run through on the C1311 Tremp – Puente de Montañana, which I’ve seen quoted on several forums as being one of the best bits of road in Spain, if not the whole of Europe – it also happens to be road on which I ride to the Internet every day!

“The C1311 between Puente de Montanana and Tremp is the best road I’ve had the good fortune to ride, ever. Layout, surface, scenery – it has it all. If only it were longer!”

. . . and if you don’t believe me or this happy rider here’s the Video!

The other advantage of this method, if I may use the term, is that it makes a there-and-back-again trip more interesting. And in the case of the Pyrenees one can also avoid to an extent bad weather condition as one or other of the routes trend way from the highest mountains and passes.

Direction notes

These are given at the way marks. There are three categories of way marks:

–      labels with dots are nominal start/end points – I’ve tried to make these genuine’ destinations, e.g. Cap de Creus is the easternmost point of mainland Spain so I’ve ended the Trans-Pyrenean route, although it’s some way south of the mountains, or what’s left of them.

–      labels indicate nodes, where there is either a choice of options or where two routes coincide. Note that some ‘node’ way marks occur when this route coincides or interests with another route. For instance the Trans-Pyrenean will intersect with Pyrenean crossing routes at several locations. I’ve included hyperlinks to these routes rather than cluttering up the maps.

–      pins indicate either some information about the route or what seem as natural break points in a ride. NB I haven’t suggested timings or optimal distances, etc., it all depends on one’s style of riding – or bladder control perhaps!

Section notes

These are titled according to the towns or villages identified in Way Marks rather than road numbers, which have a habit of a) not corresponding to any known map, and b) changing without notice! Note that routes usually start and stop at label, i.e. nodal, way marks. Each section comes with a brief description of the road and terrain, etc., and any random notes that come to mind. To make the text less boring I use various other terms for these route types in the directions, such as ‘dual–sports’, for slow, ‘speedsters’, ‘roadsters’ and ‘tourers’ for fast sections, acting on the assumption that riders with hefty bikes, will tend to prefer less strenuous riding at least part of the time. But in all cases the rides are ultimately suitable for any type of bike, of course! General travel information, such as places of interest, worthwhile detours as well as hotels, campsites and restaurants are given along or near the route. Note that I never suggest wild camping sites – more than the job’s worth if you get busted for trespassing!

All sections are repeated as individual posts within the blog, together with their own Google map, so you can mix-and-match your own route. Perhaps the most useful this is for readers to contribute to the routes, either adding alternative sections or just a few notes; recommendations for digs and eats along the way are especially welcome!

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