When the leaves start drop­ping you know it’s time to point south. So we’re off to sunny Spain, Y Viva Es­pana…


An­dalu­cia: where to ride, eat, drink and gen­er­ally have a very nice time in­deed.

When most peo­ple think of An­dalu­cia, they fo­cus on the roads around Ronda – es­pe­cially the A397. If you are rid­ing it, stop at Venta El Madroño at km marker 26.4. It’s just a small white­washed build­ing with red ter­ra­cotta roof tiles and plas­tic chairs out­side, but it’s the bik­ers’ place around here. Re­lax and ad­mire the view, be­cause the ser­vice is some­times a lit­tle slow. These lush green moun­tain ranges are a far cry from the deserts to the east.

Talk­ing of which we have the only desert in Europe. Cross it from west to east on the N-340A, start­ing at the Mini Hol­ly­wood theme park and pass­ing the well-known Cir­cuito de Alme­ria. It’s a fast blast of a road, with epic views, like the gorge around the town of Sor­bas. Turn off to the right just af­ter the cir­cuit en­trance for de­li­cious cor­ners on the AL-102, or ex­plore north on the A-1100. Stop for a rest at the Cir­cuito and have a look at the Cuevas de Sor­bas (Sor­bas Caves). Or en­joy a spot of Spaghetti West­ern nostalgia at Fort Bravo in Taber­nas.

Typ­i­cal Span­ish food is served all around An­dalu­cia. It’s very fa­mous for tapas and cheap for Europe. Twin great food with great rid­ing in the south of Sierra Ne­vada: the Alpu­jarra area. Stop at Trevélez and look for Restau­rante Piedra Ven­tana. For 12 eu­ros you get a starter, main course, dessert and drinks. En­joy the Ja­mon Ser­rano legs hang­ing from the ceil­ing.

An­dalu­sians love to drink wine and eat tapas and stay out on the streets un­til late. Con­se­quently, the nightlife in Sevilla is mag­i­cal, but Malaga and Granada have great am­bi­ence too. Big cities are ex­pen­sive to stay in, how­ever, and there’s a size­able dif­fer­ence be­tween kip­ping in a hos­tel (30 eu­ros) and ho­tel (100 eu­ros).

Sierra is the Span­ish for moun­tain range. It also could be the Span­ish word for mo­tor­bike fun. Rid­ing over the Sierra de Fi­labres from Vele­fique to Bacares is fun for ev­ery­one: sports, tour­ing bikes, or Har­leys. It’s the AL3102 and it cov­ers 10km of sub­lime curves on per­fect as­phalt. It’s ac­tu­ally the only part of the Vuelta de Es­paña cy­cle race that’s rid­den twice – that’s how ex­treme its road de­sign is. Stop at a lit­tle sign with Mi­rador del Pe­dre­gal writ­ten on it. Here, all the curves lie right at your feet and it’s one of the best photo op­por­tu­ni­ties in the world. An­other beau­ti­ful sierra is El Tor­cal, just south of An­te­quera. Here, the moun­tain views haze away in ev­ery di­rec­tion, but be care­ful with the sur­face on the road around it. It doesn’t al­ways pro­vide the best grip. Want a roller­coaster road? The A7000 be­tween Malaga and Col­me­nar de­liv­ers. It’s nar­row, twist­ing, and fea­tures two full­blown 360-de­gree curves as it winds up the moun­tain­side. Both cor­ners are left­handers and start with a tun­nel, where the cor­ner exit is cross­ing above you. Sight line can be re­duced by the trees lin­ing the side of the road, so it’s not a place to ride fast, es­pe­cially when you throw the odd cy­clist into the mix. But ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these two cor­ners is worth it. Stop at the Mi­rador de Malaga and look back to­wards the coast for an epic view.

My favourite road lies to the north of An­dalu­cia. It’s the C0-6410 From Vil­la­harta to Po­zoblanco. It’s a sin­gle-lane ad­ven­ture stuffed with curve af­ter curve of rid­ing plea­sure. And the best thing? No traf­fic. There is next to no chance of bump­ing into po­lice on this gem, but the po­lice are cool all over An­dalu­cia. They like bik­ers, but you bet­ter be­have. They don’t

try sneaky tech­niques such as he­li­copters but you will find radar around the vil­lages near the coast. There’ll be warn­ing signs.

Cruise along the Mediter­ranean on the A5107. Start at Mo­jacar and ride south to Car­bon­eras. The road kisses the beach here, with views only a lit­tle di­luted by the odd mega ho­tel. From Car­bon­eras, take the AL-5106 through Agua Amarga and turn left at Cor­tijo Los Malenos. This lit­tle short­cut looks like a proper road to nowhere, but it’ll spit you out in Fernán Pérez. Then it’s south to Ro­dalquilar, Isleta del Moro and San Jose. The route pro­vides beau­ti­ful views, es­pe­cially rid­ing down to­wards Isleta del Moro. Keep on go­ing along Playa Mon­sul and Playa Gen­oveses at the end of San Jose: it’s a gravel road but the scenery of the two beaches is fan­tas­tic.

Great roads and a plate full of tapas at the end of a day’s rid­ing. What’s not to like?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.