TWO WHEELS ON A BUMPY ROAD IN SUNNY SPAIN - DAY FOUR OF CARL'S TRIP
OFF ROADING DAY IS HERE
Another instalment of Carls' trip to Spain - this time he is off roading
After the usual morning routine Fran collected me from the hotel at 09:30 with the other guys already in the car and off we went for our first day of trail riding :0)
Trailworld Spain Andy was already there when we arrived making sure that everything was ready and while we were kitting up, the three wise men and Andy gave me some useful tips, dos and don’ts....most importantly to steer with my body by leaning and not to turn the handlebars too much. A final check to make sure that everyone was comfortable and we set off.
A few hundred metres and we were out of the town and on to the dirt tracks. We started slowly on solid dirt with a sprinkling of dust, however, as the group picked up speed and confidence we were taken to more and more loose ground and rougher terrain.
Because Andy knows the area so well, he is able to change the route at any time to whatever terrain you desire, normally covering 100KM+ per day, from tarmac right through to steep climbs covered in loose rocks.
So despite being kept on the easier trails to allow for my more mature companions, I still found it challenging and a nice change of pace from the previous days of road riding.
The AJP bike was great with a nice smooth power delivery. I found that I was mainly using third gear as the utility gear, rarely having to change out of it. This, along with the bikes being light as a feather, is one of the reasons Trailworld uses them as they found all the newer models from the more mainstream manufacturers were too heavy and unwieldy for novices.
If you ever get a chance I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go, don't just take my word for it, my colleague Jerry tried an AJP off road day at Trailworld's UK site and thought it was excellent too.
If the boot fits
In fact the thing I had the hardest time getting use to was the boots! Although happy they were nice and solid to protect my feet and ankles, I found myself fish tailing on a down trail rather than taking the turn like our guide did!
My first thought was "Why is the rear brake not working!" only to realise, after fish tailing for another 100yards, and feeling impressed that I hadn’t fallen over, that my foot wasn't on the brake pedal! No wonder it wasn't working...I made a mental adjustment for the additional weight of the boot and the rear brake worked like a dream! With my confidence, or is that ego, slightly bruised, I chickened out here and got off to turn the bike round as it was a fairly steep hill mostly consisting of loose stones by this point, and I knew that sods law would only have me fall over now that I felt I had it under control. My only regret is that I had turned the camera off just before we started down the hill.
Over the rolling hills
So on to more dirt tracks of varying difficulty mixed with the odd bit of tarmac between all the while soaking up the perfect countryside setting.
After a small rest stop to check on how everyone was doing and have some water, Andy offered some more riding tips, mine being to stand up more.
So off we went through more forests/woods/olive groves and over the rolling hills. If I was an artist I would have a requested a stop to paint a picture but I am not so video will have to do in my case (see the end of this article for links to all the videos).
By now we were going faster along the easier roads and only slowing down when we hit loose ground, tighter corners and streams.
Next stop was a local town for a cafe stop and I had a freshly squeezed orange juice – yes there are plenty or oranges around in that neck of the woods – you might almost say they grow on trees there are so many- none of that concentrated rubbish!
We covered a longer section of tarmac after this in order to reach our next destination, the bike performing superbly on this as well. Truly if there were any green lanes or opportunities where I live back home I would buy an AJP bike for the UK.
The trails did not pass without incident though as Sandy the eldest of my companions, hit a loose bit of ground causing him to leave the track briefly and upon dropping back into the rut lost his balance and tumbled over. Still, Sandy, being tough as you like, he was up in seconds and after helping him back onto his bike we were off again.
Next stop was "Embalse de Iznájar" the largest lake in Andalucía where we had another short stop to keep ourselves hydrated due to the heat, A dip in the lake was very tempting, but taking all the kit off was not, so we left that pleasure for another day.
After this was the long twisty dirt track back up the hill on our way to "Fuente Del Conde" for some lunch. Another meal with gigantic portions for next to no euros – what's not to like!
While we were letting the food settle in our bulging tummies, Andy asked what we would like on the return journey, the other guys being a bit worn out by this point opted for easier tracks on our way home.
Andy obliged by delivering a mixture of on and off road again, but mostly flat allowing us to reach a good speed but still leaving plenty to see on the way back to the lock up.
Feeling very satisfied, with the only down point being that Vic's hand had seized up (he would elect to skip the next day's riding), we were chauffeured back to our accommodation and I was invited to join the group for a pub quiz and dinner at a local bar that night.
Thankfully the area being a popular choice for expats, the quiz was in English and Fran was the question master, this along with the Alan informing me they came 2nd last year, I felt we were ensured first place however we only managed third, no prize money for us, bummer!
While we were there Andy showed me the amount of ground we had covered during the day - around 100KM. It certainly hadn’t felt like that far – miles fly when you’re having fun! In the bar Andy gave me some routes for my road day the following day, normally you would have a second trails day but my limited time prevented this.
After bidding my new friends farewell, unsure if I would see them tomorrow, I headed off to my hotel for some rest before my next long day of road riding.
Any comments, anyone wishing to congratulate Carl on his off road skill?
Just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is some film of the Off Road Day:
Off road day part 1
Off Road day part 2
Off Road day part 3
Off Road day part 4
Off Road day part 5
Off Road day part 6
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