These are photographs from an April-May bike tour to Spain and Portugal. The route was planned by noticing that there are a large amount of scenic designated roads (per Michelin Motor Atlas) in Northern Spain and Portugal. You can piece together a beautiful scenic route; riding coastlines, mountains, and vineyards with almost no traffic. Maybe 90% of my route was deemed high quality euro touring.
I was on this tour exactly a month. I rode 27 of 30 days, probably over 2000km. About half the day, I rode, and the rest of the day, I would sight-see or do work related tasks online. As hotels are fairly cheap in this area, about half the nights were spent in hotels, but I carried camping gear (tent, pad, bag) on my bike, the remaining nights were spent at euro camp grounds. It’s nice to have your own choice at each destination; camp or hotel, depending on your current mood, needs, and the weather.
I carried only only a latex spoon, so all my meals were taken out. I don’t have accurate bookeeping of my trip expenses, but I estimate approximately two grand for a month, this includes my $800 RT airfare; Denver-Madrid-Denver. I probably spent $100 on prepaid Internet data charges with Vodaphone.
There have been a number of posts about keeping my gear lite. I have a rear trunk bag on my Richey Breakaway bike and I wear a small hydration-like REI Flash pack, no panniers for me. All my gear weighed 11 pounds total. This is light enough to ride comfortably in the mountains. I have decided that 10 pounds is the golden threshold for comfort and speed. Reaching this threshold weight does require a lot of gear research. Almost all touring riders I met had too much gear. Everything needs to be light-weight, multi-purposed and compact.
Next trip I think I can eliminate my Canon Powershot camera, camera battery charger, and USB upload cable with the new iPhone 4 (half pound lightened?). The iPhone 4G camera has a 5 mega pixel camera with a 5x zoom which is probably good enough for most trip photography. Many of the panorama shots were taken with the Pano iPhone app which stitches together multiple lined-up photos. This app really helps with the limitations of the cell phone’s crappy lens allowing you to capture wide angle vistas.
The biggest technical problem with my bike tour camping is not being able to recharge electrical devices from a tent site. In my case this means my iPhone; my only electrical device. I have been researching small camping solar panels. There are some promising solutions that would allow recharging while riding or from panels connected to your tent’s roof.
The second biggest challenge is finding a place to leave your bike box if you are traveling overseas. Upon landing, I had my bike tuned at the Bike Room in Madrid, they allowed me to leave my box at their shop, super friendly too.
The Google map below shows my route. The white placemarks show my overnights in hotels/pensions. The green placemarks designate campground overnights. I traveled from Madrid to Talavera and Bilbao to Madrid with my bike on the bus.
The kewlest phenomena about euro bike packing/touring is going lite and being able to be spontaneous and mobile. If you desire other Europeans tour destinations, check out my book Euro Tours.
Digital Michelin Maps
Virtual Travel Laptop
iPhone Data Plan Spain
iPhone Travel Blogging
Only Digital Travel Books
Travel with Google Voice
Goal0 – Portable Solar Products