Off-Road on the Ruta Vía de la Plata - Day 0

In three days time, on the 23rd of May,  I set on off on my biggest cycling adventure yet - a mega off-road trip on the Ruta Vía de la Plata. I'll be glad to get started because at the moment I'm feeling more than a little nervous. 

Last year I cycled the road version of the Ruta Vïa de la Plata. The route, that starts in Seville and heads north through the heart of Spain to Gijon on the north coast, also has an off-road version. After enjoying myself so much last year and persuading Cicerone that the route needs a guide, I'm putting some fat tyres on my bike and I’m going back to Spain for some serious off-road cycling.

Mingling with the pilgrims

The total trip involves 24 days of cycling and is about 1600 km long.  As well as the core route I'm also trying out the Camino Sanabrés. This leaves the main route about a day south of Leon and heads west to Santiago del Compostela. I'll then follow a road route I've put together, return to the Ruta and then head north into Leon and onto the coast. If the attached map works, it shows both the road and the off-road routes.

The trip looks amazing so why am I apprehensive. Two things are keeping me awake at night. Firstly I'm not sure how tough the route is and whether or not I've got the right bike and secondly I'm a little worried about the heat as May turns into June.
The ancient Ruta Vía de la Plata

My bike is my trusted Riley Gradient fitted with 650b wheels and 47m tyres. It's not a mountain bike, has no suspension so I'm relying on the route being non-technical. Most of the route follows a pilgrims route and last year we saw people on it using heavy touring bikes so hopefully I’ll be alright but fingers crossed.

Like a lot a people I've been bitten by the cycling bug late in life and have not accumulated years of cycling expertise. Desperate to reduce my skills deficit I've spent a day with Iain at Cranks in Brighton, a brilliant cycling charity, who patiently took me through the basics of bike maintenance. There were lots of things I was doing wrong and I now feel I know my bike a lot more than I did before.
In the Cantabrian Mountains

Also providing massive support is Marta from the Ruta Vía de la Plata Association. The Association, which involves towns along the route, maintains a brilliant website. Marta has been busy enriching my schedule, finding me places to stay and eat and organising a program of activities designed to help me see as much as possible.  This should all feed into the Cicerone guide which will be a lot more interesting as a result.
Heavy traffic in the Ruta Vía de la Plata

I'm going to try and blog as I go along but given the amount of cycling and the activities organised by Marta I'm not going to have a lot of spare time. If you’re interested in my schedule then you can see have a look at it by following this link.

1 comment:

  1. That looks fantastic John.
    You will have no problems, just treat it as a big adventure - nothing can go wrong and even if it does you will be loving it.