Pyrenees RB3 and RB22 in July

Discussion in 'Europe' started by PowerSlide, May 17, 2014.

  1. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey there,

    Just booked Portsmouth to Santander for the 9th of july and Saint Nazaire to Rosslare for the 30th.

    I'm planning to do Vibractions road book 3, a lap of Andorra off-road in the Pyrenees. It's a 500km route with about 300km of dirt. Then I'm taking a break for 5 days in Barcelona with the missus, she's flying in. The plan then is to do road book 22, Barcelona to Andorra over 250km's of dirt. Whoohoo! And then leg back to the ferry.

    Only slightly exited! :clap

    Anyone interested or going to be in the vicinity? :evil

    And if anyone has done this before, tips for places to stay, eat etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Gar
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  2. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    If possible, make sure to hit this road:

    GI682 Toss Del Mar to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Spain



    Tossa Del Mar is about 50ish miles north along the coast from Barcelona.
    #2
  3. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi there,

    In the summer I live a short way south west of Andorra, near Pobla de Segur.

    I don'y know many of the trails that you're doing but I' did a HUMM there so I've probably done a few of them.

    Conditions:

    poor visibility ahead in the forest and ravine sections, so watch out for other vehicles, especially convoys of French folks in 4x4s - thanks to Vibraccion guides of course! - and also lots of mountains bikers, including quite young kids!

    it's going to be seriously hot!

    Hazards:

    wild animals, especially boar which are becoming a big problem in that area and even worse close to towns and villages, and deer

    cattle, cows and horse roam free on the high pastures all summer, they're used to vehicles and won't budge - big problem in woodland if you come across them round a blind bend

    accidents/breakdown: there's very little mobile phone coverage even in some villages. So riding alone is a significant risk - locals simply don't do it.

    Accommodation: there are general guides to finding digs on my blog but a lot depends on what you're planning, camping, one base, move on each night, etc.?

    Some towns and villages are really nice, some a bit grotty as they are run down mill villages from when we used to have things like industry, manufacturing . . . :)

    What bike are you riding?

    Regs

    Simon
    #3
  4. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    PARDON THE CAPS, It just seemed to be the easiest way to respond.

    Thanks,

    Gar
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  5. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Gar,

    No worries about the CAPS, very clear.

    "I GUESS I'LL SEE HOW HOT IT IS."

    You're be talking 35º + around midday but 10-20º cooler at night. You really will notice this difference at camping so pack warms stuff for when your back at base, Your riding gear looks good. But be ready for summer storms that build up during the day and always have pull over waterproof to hand - this will be useful if there is a cold part of the day too.

    "HMM, I'M TRYING TO RUSSLE UP SOME PEOPLE TO GO WITH BUT YOU KNOW HOW IT IS. SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO GO IT ALONE."
    Yup, that's what I've done lots of. Maybe you should think of a rescue satellite thing. At least in July the trails are likely to have someone on them sooner or later. But look out for trails that are obviously unused ad just ride on the cautious side!
    Meanwhile I've just had a PM from two guys riding down this way at a similar time so I'll send them the link to this post - no promises more than that though.

    "I'LL BE IN THE REGION OF La Seu d’Urgell INITIALLY. RB3 IS A CIRCULAR ROUTE OF 3 OR 4 DAYS AROUND IT, SO I PLAN TO CAMP IN THE ONE SPOT AND RETURN HOME EACH NIGHT. FOR RB22, IT'S ANDORRA TO BARCELONA, SO I'LL TRY AND CAMP SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE, I HOPE, AND RETURN EACH NIGHT."

    Most of the campings near Seu d'Urgell and andorra are gross - just for caravans and bungalow types. But this one looks really nice - but as everywhere up there take a deep breath before you check the price!

    Otherwise I've been recommended the camping at Castellbo It's a bit off the beaten track for you, but in itself is at the centre of a large network of trails :)

    Can't comment about further down towards Barcelona unless I know which way you'll be going.

    "I'M ON AN F650GS WITH AN UPGRADED SUSPENSION. I'VE DONE THE BMW OFFROAD COURSE IN WALES A COUPLE OF TIMES AND AM JUST LOOKING TO DO A BIT MORE."
    Nice bike for these conditions, but you'll have to plan your fuel very carefully or take extra.

    A week in Barcelona with the Mrs will be the perfect antidote - Enjoy!

    Regs

    Simon
    PS there's another topic around here that talks about safe parking in Barcelona.
    #5
  6. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Simon,

    Thanks for all the pointers. I really appreciate the local knowledge, especially about the campsites, I'll check them out. Castellbo is actually the centre point of RB3 so it might be perfect.

    #6
  7. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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  8. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Simon,

    Thanks for all the tips. If you're ever heading to Ireland look me up.

    Not too much I can help you with here, but there's a lovely small camp site at Moli de Fornols, just west of Tuixent. This first stage of your trip down is going to be really touch,

    Well you gotta start somewhere, thanks for the warning. I've just inherited a satellite phone, hope I don't need it :norton
    After that I don't know the area very well but this camping near Calaf look great!

    It does indeed, I think I might be booking.

    an X-Country, only has 9.5 litre capacity so a serious problem until I got an X-Tank which has 6.5 litres more.

    X-tank looks the job alright :)

    Good man! There's so much to do and see in Barna that it's worth reading up - and there's much more to it than Gaudi!. I have a good friend who does guided tours based on the Spanish Civil War if you like that sort of thing.

    Not really my sort of thing, I do like a good walking tour alright. I like the look of the sidecar tours, the gps moped tour and some of the walking pub/food tours

    Your website is very interesting, you really get around :D
    Thanks, I really must get round to finishing my 2012 tour - I stopped to go to a village fiesta with a load of spanish biking friends - and I still haven't recovered :rofl

    Sounds like a tough break :D

    If you're bored I've some travel photos up here

    https://plus.google.com/photos/+GarrettDevitt/albums?banner=pwa

    Cheers,

    Gar
    #8
  9. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    Great riding to be had in the Pyrenees. Everything from fast mountain roads with amazing scenery

    [​IMG]

    To winding forest tracks

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    After that I don't know the area very well but this camping near Calaf look great!

    It does indeed, I think I might be booking.

    It does look good doesn't it - maybe I'll ride over and catch you there for a jar :)

    I like the look of the sidecar tours, the gps moped tour and some of the walking pub/food tours[/B]

    Yup, those sidecar tours look the biz - shame you don't get to drive yourself though :(

    If you're bored I've some travel photos up here

    https://plus.google.com/photos/+GarrettDevitt/albums?banner=pwa

    Amazing pix - you're a pretty active bloke - there is some amazing caveing in the Pre-Pyrenees, the largely limestone ranges from roughly the N260 southwards, plus world class hang gliding on the Sierra de Montsec - another trip perhaps.

    Regs

    Simon
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  11. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Nice one Rob, the Pyrenees certainly tick all the boxes:

    [​IMG]

    Regs

    Simon
    #11
  12. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Simon,

    It would be great to see a friendly face for a pint or two :D

    Great photos by the way. Really looking forward to this. Starting to hit the gym to get a bit fitter.

    Hey Rob, nice photos! I like the look of your bike too :evil

    Gar
    #12
  13. potus

    potus Adventurer

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    Sounds like a great trip, A small group of us are doing the RB5 the last week of June then riding back up through France to Roscoff. Planning to camp where possible....enjoy your trip

    cheers
    Mike
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  14. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Mike,

    RB5 looks like a great trip, the full Pyrenees traverse! Long trip too. You guys are going to have a ball! I'm looking forward to that trip report already! :rofl

    I've dropped you a pm.

    Have a blast :clap

    Gar

    #14
  15. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Gar,

    I've just got back from a 25 km hike in a wild sierra, sleeping on the very hard floor in a cave - and today I feel like an 80 year old - but there was 1,000 metre climb too and we had to carry enough food ant water for 72 hours :)

    [​IMG]

    OK, the cave was primitive but the bath was great - NB that's not my skimpy little black bra hanging up to dry !

    [​IMG]

    So I am really looking forward to a jolly bimble along the Pyrenees with a machine doing all the hard work.

    Am I right in guessing that the camping at Calaf will be your last stop before meeting up with your good lady in Barcelona - if so we could fix a date to meet there, that would make my planning much easier :)

    Regs

    Simon
    #15
  16. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Simon,

    Nice photos :D That's a very romantic little spot. :tough

    That's a fine tan you're working up too :)

    The current plan is to be at Camping de Castellbo from the night of the 13th to the morning of the 18th, then off to Barcelona.

    Not sure about the way back yet but I like the look of Moli de Fornols.

    Might be a bit too much to one end of the trail though. Have to find some time to look at maps.

    Gar
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  17. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Yes, it's an amazing place right enough. The reason for the trip is a bit bitter/sweet: we lost Lucky, our beautiful husky, a month or so ago after a fantastic happy and long life - fourteen-and-a-half is really old for a husky! - so this was the first excursion of the summer revisiting special places both for her and ourselves. Each time we spread a thimbleful of her ashes . . . sob sob right now. This probably sounds a) morb¡d and b) dumb for non-dog owner/lovers, but I reckon the rest of us will understand - apar from anything else we have some amazing trips ahead of us :)

    Hi Gar,

    It woud make more sense for me to pop up to Castellbö during your stay there - that way neither of us are too pinned down for time. If our bikes, fitness, skills, etc. match maybe we could have a ride out too :)

    Regs

    Simon
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  18. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Gar,

    Just remembered your best maps will be the 1. 50 000 'Mapa Comarcal de Catalunya made by the famous Catalonia Cartographic Institute

    Not sure about availability on the fair island of Ireland but you can get them direct from the ICC, or maybe cheaper from The Maps Man or certainly at Stanfords of London

    Regs

    Simon
    #18
  19. PowerSlide

    PowerSlide Adventurer

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    Hey Simon,

    They look good but I have Osmand on my phone which has excellent maps and I have the roadbooks. I think any more maps and I'll end up arguing with myself on the side of a hill :norton

    Really looking forward to this :D

    Still some ferkeling to do with the bike.

    Gar
    #19
  20. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Ha ha,

    You're dead right Gar - look at the mess I got into on our walking tour last week when four heads were definitely not better than one!

    [​IMG]

    Thant little wobble up the dead end valley under the cliffs cost us the trip - and some bumps, bruises and scratches! - so we had to walk the 'easy' way out to the refuge at the extreme east of the trail, where with extreme good luck the warden a) happened to be in - unusual on a Monday afternoon! - and b) was just about to drive down to the regional capital city and did a detour to drop us off at my car back at the beginning of the trail - saving is a €40 taxi ride - if we could have fund a taxi! You'll find that Spanish people are nice like that :)

    I'll bring m ICC maps and we can compare notes and share a few trails.

    I'm farkling too - trying to re-jjg my luggage for short ultra-lite trips, so meeting up with you will be great for me to test out my new set-up.

    Also looking forward to the camping at Castellbó - it's so close to home I wold otherwise not go there!

    Re: Fornols - there's no fuel whatsoever in the entire valley, your nearest would be at Sant Laurenç, Coll de Nargo, La Seu d'Urgel and Saldés. There's also precious little shopping either, just a bar in Tuixent that had a few bits and bobs. But in July the Fornols bar is open, it's seperate from the restaurant and ony half open out of July/August, but the bloke who runs the bar is really helpful and knoledgble about the trails there - at least if it's the same chap as last year :1drink

    Cheers

    Simon
    #20