Cycling the Ruta Vía de la Plata

2021 on the Ruta Vía de la Plata.

Shout-out for a cycling adventure.

Are you the type of cyclist who likes to reward exercise with great food?  Would you rather sleep in a palace than a tent? Do you like to mix sightseeing with people watching? Do you enjoy sharing a journey with fun people who have similar interests?  If you answer "yes" to all of the above then you might want to join me in 2021 on a Ruta Vía de la Plata (the "Ruta") cycling adventure.

The at the start of the Ruta Vía de la Plata

Working hand in glove with Spanish experts, I've just finished writing the first English language guide to what, in my humble opinion, is one of world's best cycle routes. 

The Ruta crosses the expanse of Spain starting near the south coast in Andalucian Seville and finishing at Gijón on the north coast.  Its origins date back to Roman times and it has been in constant use ever since particularly, after the reconquest, by pilgrims heading up to Santiago de Compostela.  It’s generally easy cycling and providing you're happy to spend around 5 hours a day in the saddle can be completed in a fortnight.  Follow this link to get an idea of the sort of cycling the trip involves.

The Ruta connects amazing places.  You will visit 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites,  see every style of Spanish architecture, and take what amounts to a crash course in the country's fascinating history. That history has produced an intensely rich cuisine with elements from Spain’s Muslim and Jewish heritage mixed with ingredients brought from the ‘New World’ all brought up to date by a generation of brilliant young Spanish chefs. It also means you get the chance to stay in  Paradors, a uniquely Spanish institution where an ancient palace or castle has been lovingly restored and turned into a classy hotel.

The guide, when it's published later in the year, is designed to help every type of cyclist with every size of budget. You can do the route fast with road bikes, or at a more leisurely pace and follow what are essentially agricultural tracks deep into the Spanish countryside.  You can stay in cheap accommodation designed for pilgrims or aim for the best in town and stay in a palace.

I've been asked by lots of people to help them design a holiday and was even asked by a group to join them on a trip.  Encouraged by this I now want to find out if I can assemble a group of cyclists to share a trip with me in May 2021.

It would be my sort of cycling. The route would include the best and most beautiful bits of off-road cycling (the "dehesa" landscape in May is a flower filled cycling paradise) with empty roads and each day's cycling would finish with a leisurely lunch - mid-afternoon, the best time to eat in Spain.  A highly selective tour of the cultural highlights (2 hrs) would, for those interested, follow a siesta after which a beer and tapas in the Plaza Mayor would round off the day. 

At this stage I'm just trying to find cyclists who might be interested.  I know exactly what's involved in making a self organised cycling trip through Spain work and it would be fun to try and put this knowledge to use with a larger group of people.

If you're interested, please email me at amithefirst@gmail.com or leave a comment on my blog.

Update December 2020

Needless to say 2020 has not been a good year for travelling or even for planning trips.  Still a number of you have had the confidence to express an interest in cycling the Ruta next year.   We now have a group and a departure date (May 13th) but the pandemic means that the trip might still not be feasible.  The final decision on whether to go ahead will be taken in early February when we should know a little more about how quickly vaccinations are being rolled out.  

The guide, by the way, has also been a victim of the pandemic with the Cicierone delaying publication until the autumn of 2021.



12 comments:

  1. Love your blog, In the past 3 years I cycled the French 2017the Norte 2018and the Portuguese 2019, this year I was supposed to cycle Camino de la Plata but cause Coronavirus...........I’m interested on your invitation on sharing the 2021 trip.
    Stay safe
    Francesco

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    1. Hi Francesco - great to hear from you and thanks for your interest. I have 2 positive expressions of interest and another 2 who are possible. Definitely a ray of sunshine in otherwise stormy clouds

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    2. Hi Francesco

      Would you mind sending me your email address - we now have enough people to start talking about this further

      John

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  2. Hello John, I've become enamoured by your blog. I love cycling and this 14 day adventure in
    Spain sounds fabulous! I am very interested and could possibly bring a friend. I'm now ordering my own Reilly Gradient as I've become leery of road riding. Love the idea of cycling through the countryside
    Cheers Domenic

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    1. Hi Domenic

      Great to here from you. It really is a great trip and so pleased you're interested in joining me. I'm starting to pull together a group and will be in touch with everyone to see if we can make it work timings wise.

      When you order your bike you should let them know you've seen my blog. Mike Reilly is a lovely guy and it would be great to make the connections.

      Best wishes

      John

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    2. Hi Domenic

      Would you mind sending me your email address - we now have enough people to start talking about this further

      John

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  3. Hi John,
    Just read your trip report and it brought back some good memories. In 2011 I cycled scross Spain....but with no plan Flew into Bilbao, cycled the coast to Santander and then headed SW. I must have picked up the N630 before Salammnc, what a great road that is!
    I do it your way next time, I thought it was best to head south towards the heat, but the head winds were incredible and lasted for days. Oh, June is too late to set off, it was 40c heading into Seville.
    If it's of any interest to you, I reatiend info on all the hotels/bars/rooms I stopped in.
    Regards,
    Mark

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    1. Hi Mark, Nice to hear from you. Interesting point about the wind, I must admit I never noticed a wind which usually means it's pushing you along. Seville is definitely a hot place, a long way south and on the coastal plain. Heading north you climb nearly 2,000 feet on the first day and it makes a difference to the heat. May though is the perfect month I think. Please send any information you have on accommodation, a good recommendation is always helpful.

      Thanks for your interest.

      Best wishes

      John

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  4. Hi John, wishing you the best for the Christmas holidays.
    Here in Canada, the Covid vaccine is just being rolled out to the Health care professionals and the long term senior citizens. Our PM spoke today and informed that all Canadians should be vaccinated
    by Sept 2021.
    Since my chances of being vaccinated before May 13, 2021 are slim, I would willingly accept postponing the Ruta cycling adventure to Sept/Oct 2021. Lots of time to cycle prep, get vaccinated and ultimately avoid the summer heat & crowds. Btw, I got my Reilly Gradient and custom built up a real beauty!
    Cheers, Domenic

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    1. Hi Domenic

      Glad to hear that you've pleased with your Gradient, I can confirm that it's a bike that loves travelling through the Spanish countryside. You may well be right as far as progress on vaccinations go although the UK gov are saying that the "at risk" groups could all be done by April and that includes everyone over 55 (which definitely includes me).

      By the way I don't have your email so haven't been updating you on plans. If you're definitely interested could you send me your email address.

      Best wishes

      John

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  5. Love the idea. Alas legs not up to it-yet! But are you not now setting up as a Tour Guide Company?

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    1. Hi Roger

      Do you think your legs will ever be up for it?

      Not setting up a Tour Guide Company but always open to offers.

      Best wishes

      John

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