Cycling Andalucia’s Almeria region is a fantastic experience. Our guides help you get the most out of it. While our ultimate guide and route guides (find them here) share things like our favourite routes, where to stay and when to go, this article focuses on our general tips for riding in this part of the world. We hope they will help you have an amazing time!

 

Pack wisely

1. Gearing. Double digit gradients are relatively rare here – but the climbs are long. Bear this in mind when choosing your gearing before your trip. If you’re planning on tackling the Velefique, you might find a 32t cassette handy, since the first four kilometres of the climb average at around 10%!

2. Pack enough spares. Even on the coastal strip, there aren’t an oversupply of bike shops (this isn’t Mallorca!). Head inland and it gets remote very quickly. Make sure you bring all the usual spares and, if you’ve got room, pack a few more besides. Our packing list should help.

3. Service your bike before you leave home. For the same reason as above! You don’t want to spend your cycling trip not being able to cycle!

Get route planning

4. Plan your routes. You can find links to all our firsthand route reviews within our ultimate guide to Almeria, here.

5. Get familiar with where you’re going. Should the worst happen and your Garmin and/or phone dies, it’s nice to have some idea where you are and where you’re going… as mentioned, this part of the world is sparsely populated!

6. Wondering what the road surfaces will be like? We found the ones on our routes almost uniformly excellent. If you find yourself pondering how this is possible, apparently it’s because the Spanish authorities give the utilities companies a six-month warning that they’re intending to resurface. It’s then up to the companies to do anything they need to do under the road while the new surface is being laid. After that, no major work can be done until the road is resurfaced next time. Novel!

Before you leave your hotel

7. This is an extremely dry and sometimes very hot part of the world. This makes hydration particularly important. We rode with two bottles each and refilled at petrol stations and cafes along the way.

8. Once you’re away from the coastal strip, you can sometimes cycle 20-30 km without seeing a shop or cafe. Ensure you are well stocked before you leave your hotel and stop when you see an opportunity to refuel.

9. Check you’ve got your basic repair kit with you. We had a front wheel puncture in a remote part of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park, but had inner tubes and gas cannisters with us to quickly get back on the road – we would have been simply stranded without them.

10. Even though this region has an amazing climate, bring a jacket. On some of the fast and longer descents (Calar Alto and Alto de Velefique), depending upon the time of year, you’ll need one due to the windchill.

11. Lather on the sunscreen. It gets hot here, really hot, and you need to avoid sun bun and sun stroke.

And finally…

12. If you can get a friend to come with you on your trip, so much the better. Then, if there’s a problem, there’s someone to help!

13. Never forget the essentials. Keep a small rear light fitted to your bike in case of sudden bad weather (or darkness…). It goes without saying really, but never leave home without money, ID and your telephone.

14. Familiarise yourself with the traffic laws. It sounds boring, but the rules of the road might be different to the ones you’re used to at home!

15. Watch out for the goats. We spotted quite a few, and while they’re generally good at getting out of the way, be on the look out!

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John Vicars

John Vicars divides his time between England and Spain and, together with his wife, clocks in around 10,000 miles each year searching out Europe’s finest roads. John loves to share his experiences (good and bad) from the saddle and has a particular loathing for double digit gradients, sub-zero temperatures and red traffic lights!

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