THE SALOMON WOMEN WILL TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS Participant Handbook

Written and prepared by Patricia Dawn Severenuk (trans.iberian /at/ yahoo-dot-com)

WHERE WE’RE GOING
THE SALOMON WOMEN WILL - TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS

Participants’ Handbook
WELCOME TO THE TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS!
Maybe you’ve never travelled by bicycle before. Maybe you’ve been out for a couple of afternoons every summer, and always wondered what it’d be like to take a multi-day tour. Maybe you’ve explored certain parts of Spain close to where you live, and you want to explore a part (or parts) of the country that you’ve never seen. Whatever your reason, you are warmly invited to join the Trans-Iberian Express, the first initiative to mark and document a national cycle touring route in Spain. I’ve no doubt that you’ve got a lot of questions about the project, and this short guide is designed to answer and address the questions and concerns that you may have. In this booklet, you’ll find information on the route, what you need to bring with you and other useful information that will help you enjoy the journey. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at trans.iberian (at) yahoo.com.

The Trans-Iberian Express is a cross-country route that has been designed to take advantage of some of Spain’s most beautiful and cycling-friendly infrastructure. From Irún, on the northern end of the Spanish-French border, to Tarifa, the southernmost point in western Europe, this initiative has been designed to give cycle tourists an alternative and an opportunity: to cross Spain from top to bottom by bicycle on a route that’s been designed with their needs in mind.

WHEN TO GO

Not everybody has the chance to take a month and do nothing but cycle. If this is your first cycling trip and you’re not sure what part of the trip would be the best for you, consider your abilities and strengths on a bicycle: Don’t have a lot of time? The two middle weekends – April 4th through 6th and April 11th through 13th – will be going through areas which are accessible by trains. The first weekend in April will follow the Tajuña River valley from Sigüenza to Morata de Tajuña; the second, we’ll be heading through the southern end of Quijote country into Andalusia. Not a big fan of hills? The terrain in Spain is not mainly plains: this is one of Europe’s most mountainous countries. For those who prefer plains, the section between Toledo and Valdepeñas is flat, without being monotonous, passing through vineyards and wildlife sanctuaries that lie under great blue-bowl skies. Another section to consider is the stretch going between Jaén and Osuna, in Andalusia. After a small climb on the Vía Verde del Aceite, it’s all downhill for two hundred kilometres on one of Spain’s longest rail trails. Or, on the other hand, do you love hills? There’s a reason why some of Spain’s best cyclists come from the Basque Country – the weather is generally mild, the hills are challenging without being murderous and there’s a deep-rooted cycling culture that’s the envy of cyclists living in other parts of the peninsula. While our route going inland from San Sebastian follows the Plazaola Rail Trail, the Basque Country is criss-crossed with secondary highways that provide stimulating, challenging riding.

See you on the trail! Patricia Dawn Severenuk
2007 Winner SALOMON WOMEN WILL – LIVE YOUR DREAM
TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS – Participant Handbook

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THE PROJECT: PLACES, PEOPLE AND SIGHTS
The Route: Moving north to south, the route allows travellers to discover a different part of Spain each week. During the first week (March 23rd to 29th) we’ll be going through the Basque Country and Navarre. The second week (March 30th to April 6th) takes us through the ancient kingdom of Castile, and after skirting around the south end of the Madrid region, we go through the plains of La Mancha (April 7th to 13th) before dropping down into Andalusia (April 14th to 25th). To find out more information about the route and where we’ll be each day, check out the Trans-Iberian Express blog (http://trans-iberian.blogspot.com). We’ll post information on the route in the form of downloadable PDF files (in Spanish and English) which give information on the route, where to eat and sleep, what to see… The Infrastructure: Riding with tons of cars which are honking and belching exhaust is no fun. That’s why the route has been designed to take you away from as much traffic as possible, using over 200 km of rail trails (Vías Verdes), back roads and trail systems, such as the Ruta del Quijote. There are a few kilometres here and there where the trails are not as well-worn as they could be, but almost all of the trail is composed of hard gravel-pack surfaces and asphalted surfaces of varying quality. As such, you’ll want to use a bicycle that allows you to manage both surfaces, such as a mountain bike or hybrid, with semi-slick tires. What to see: Even if you’ve visited or lived in Spain for a while, the Trans-Iberian Express is bound to surprise you. This route takes you through the Spain you always knew existed, but may not have had the chance to explore, including, such as up-and-coming vineyards along the Ebro River in La Rioja to isolated Roman settlements, from Moorish watch-towers embedded among spans of olive groves to ducal palaces built with the earnings of trade with the New World. The daily route sheets will provide visitor information, such as opening times and admission prices, for the sights along the way.
TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS – Participant Handbook

Accommodation: Remember that each participant is responsible for the costs of his or her own food and accommodation. Each day’s route sheet will provide you with a list of accommodation options, and we’ll list options for all budgets, from campsites to luxury hotels. In most places you probably won’t need to make a reservation. Reservations are highly recommended in smaller towns, where there aren’t that many places to stay, and if you prefer to stay in youth hostels (in Irún, San Sebastián, Pamplona, Toledo and Jaén) rather than hotels Food: Eat, eat, eat. And when it doubt, take it with you. Most of the towns we go through will have some kind of food shop where you can stock up on eats before heading out. If you have any kind of restriction on what you can eat (lactose intolerance, vegan/vegetarian diets), it’s worth bringing any special foods or ingredients with you. Outside of the larger cities (San Sebastian, Pamplona, Madrid and Jaén) supermarkets will have a basic selection of food but since vegetarianism has yet to take root in Spanish culture, you’ll need to have some kind of backup food available in case you’re not able to find any meat-free protein sources. Getting to and from the ride: Leave your car at home! The Trans-Iberian has been designed with public transport in mind. Participants who choose to start in the northern half of the peninsula will find it less expansive and less stressful to take buses to cities like Irún , San Sebastian, Pamplona, Logroño or Burgos. Buses to these cities leave from Madrid’s Avenida de América bus station and are run by the Continental-Auto bus company. Note that you will be required to check your bike in as freight (a €5 surcharge) at the Facturación and be at the bus fifteen minutes before the bus departs (so don’t leave it until the last minute); it’s worth printing out the information page, and taking it with you to check in, just in case the person working the Freight Desk isn’t aware that the rates have changed. http://www2.alsa.es/portal/index.asp?MP=36&MS=109&MT=0&lang=en) If you’re beginning the trip in central Spain and Madrid, trains are the best option to get to Sigüenza, Aranjuez, Alcázar de San Juan, Valdepeñas and Jaén. RENFE, the state train company, has recently changed its rules for taking bicycles on those Those who decide to do the Andalusian leg of the trip may find it easier to use bus services to Córdoba (two regional trains daily connect the city with Puente-Genil).
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PACKING CHECKLIST
To make sure you don't run out of the house without everything you need, print out two copies of this checklist. Use one to check your possessions as you pack, and take a spare copy with you to guarantee you don't forget anything while you're on the road.

BIKE EQUIPMENT
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IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU GET YOUR BIKE CHECKED OVER AND TUNED UP BEFORE STARTING ON THE TRIP.
Ziploc (or similar) storage bags, to keep everything dry and compressed! Helmet Cycling Gloves Cycling shorts (at least 3 pairs) Cycling shoes Regular shoes for street use Bandana T-shirts or jerseys (at least three) Underwear Socks Tights, legwarmers or water- and wind-proof pants Windbreaker Reflective vest or bright windbreaker (for visibility) Rain gear Reflective band(s) Warm polar fleece or sweater Toothbrush and toothpaste Sunglasses Sunscreen Soap and shampoo Liquid laundry detergent (to wash your clothes at the end of the day) Toilet paper Aspirin/ibuprofen Bandages

Panniers Handlebar bag Route sheets for the day’s ride (available at the starting point for each day or on the Trans-Iberian blog (http://trans-iberian.blogspot.com) Headlight and taillight Snacks (PowerBars, nuts, fruit) Bottles to hold 2L of water

BIKE TOOLS
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CLOTHING and PERSONAL CARE
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Tire patch kit (2) Set of tire levers Pump Allen wrenches and screwdrivers Chain lubricant Inner tubes (2)

 Tent  Sleeping bag  Sleeping pad  Bungee cords  Nylon cord (for a wash line)  Laundry pegs  Small and medium-sized pots  Plate, bowl and cup  Eating utensils ** Can openers are optional, since most tins in Spain use pop-tops.

CAMPING STUFF

Better to pack too little than too much! We’re not going to be traveling in really remote places, and won’t be more than a day away from a city or town that has a grocery store, an auto mechanic or a bike store. STILL LOOKING FOR THOSE ODD LITTLE BITS OF EQUIPMENT? Check out the Trans-Iberian Tuck Shop on the Trans-Iberian Express blog.
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TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS – Participant Handbook

THE NOT-SO-FINE PRINT: Hints and tips to keep you happy and safe while you’re riding
 If you can only do ONE thing to prepare for the trip… make sure that you know how to perform basic maintenance on your bike. Before you start a trip, you MUST know how to change a flat tire, prevent and solve chainsuck, take care of your drive train and make minor adjustments. This isn’t to scare you or make life difficult for you – it’s to make sure that you’ll be all right in case something happens on the road. Your local bike shop or cycling group can put you in touch with organizations who offer maintenance course. Each participant is responsible for his or her own accommodation. Neither SALOMON / AMER SPORTS nor the organizer of the Trans-Iberian Express assume responsibility for providing or paying for accommodation for any of the participants. Ride in a safe, courteous manner that respects the other users of the roads or trails that we use. Remember – it’s not a race! There’s no need to push yourself any harder than you want to go. Eat before you’re hungry, and drink before you’re thirsty. Trust us – it’s hard to enjoy the ride if you’re suffering from low blood sugar and/or dehydration. Don’t feel guilty about stopping by local bakeries and shops to re-fuel while you’re on the road. Cycle touring is a great reason to try all those regional specialties you read about in guide books…. Everyone has good days and bad days when they ride. Please remember, though, that keeping an open-minded, positive attitude at all times goes a long way towards guaranteeing that everyone has a good time. Read the route sheet every morning and familiarize yourself with the route, so that you can know where we’re going and can plan ahead for any navigational or geographic challenges.

If you’re riding with others and everyone rides at a different pace, the easiest way to meet up with your friends is to arrange to meet at either the first church or the first bar in the next town. Even the most humble hamlet will have at least one of the two (and if you need to re-fill your bottles, ask for the church – the town fountain is almost always near it.) Cycle touring in Spain is still a relatively new phenomenon. Don’t be put off, offended or unnecessarily frightened by stares: many times, it’s just that the other person is astounded at the thought of someone traveling on a bicycle. As master photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “You can’t take a picture of a memory.” When in doubt, get your camera out. (Just remember NOT to take photos of police officers or military installations, and to avoid offense, ask permission before taking photos of older people.)

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What’s THAT called?
Here’s some basic bike vocabulary you might find useful:
tire...................................................rueda /cubierta (on the outside) inner tube ...................................................................................... llanta handlebar...................................................................................manillar seat .................................................................................................... sillín chain............................................................................................. cadena spoke ................................................................................................ radio pannier ..........................................................................................alforja screw ............................................................................................ tornillo water bottle ...................................................................................bidón to adjust........................................................................................ ajustar loose .........................................................................................flojo/floja Can you help me with….?...................... ¿Me puede ayudar con…? I think my ________ is:.......................................... Creo que el/la está - broken/bent/rusty ......................... roto/a, doblado/a, oxidado/a I think I need a new…................... Creo que necesito una nueva…

TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS – Participant Handbook

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THE SCHEDULE
Sunday, 23 Mar.: Irún to San Sebastián Monday, 24 Mar.: Andoain to Lekunberri Tuesday, 25 Mar.: Lekunberri to Pamplona Wednesday 26 Mar.: Pamplona to Estella Thursday 27 Mar.: Estella to Fuenmayor Friday 28 Mar.: Fuenmayor to Haro Saturday 29 Mar.: Haro – REST DAY Sunday, 30 Mar.: Haro to Atapuerca Monday, 31 Mar.: Atapuerca to Salas de los Infantes Tuesday 1 Apr. : Salas de los Infantes to Burgo de Osma Wednesday 2 Apr.: Burgo de Osma to Retortillo de Soria Thursday 3 Apr.: Retortillo de Soria to Sigüenza Friday 4 Apr.: Sigüenza to Brihuega Saturday 5 Apr.: Brihuega to Estremera Sunday 6 Apr.: Estremera to Aranjuez Monday 7 Apr.: Aranjuez – REST DAY Tuesday 8 Apr.: Aranjuez to Toledo Wednesday 9 Apr.: Toledo to Tembleque Thursday 10 Apr.: Tembleque to Alcázar de San Juan Friday 11 Apr.: Alcázar de San Juan to Valdepeñas Saturday 12 Apr.: Valdepeñas to Aldeaquemada Sunday 13 Apr.: Aldeaquemada to Úbeda Monday 14 Apr.: Úbeda to Jaén Tuesday 15 Apr.: Jaén – REST DAY Wednesday 16 Apr.: Jaén to Luque Thursday 17 Apr.: Luque to Puente-Genil Friday 18 Apr.: Puente-Genil to Osuna Saturday 19 Apr.: Osuna to Coripe Sunday 20 Apr.: Coripe to Ronda Monday 21 Apr.: Ronda – REST DAY Tuesday 22 Apr.: Ronda to Cortes de la Frontera Wednesday 23 Apr.: Cortes de la Frontera – Alcala de los Gazules Thursday 24 Apr.: Alcalá de los Gazules to Zahara de los Atunes Friday 25 Apr.: Zahara de los Atunes to Tarifa 25 km 50 km 55 km 60 km 65 km 30 km 60 km 60 km 70 km 75 km 50 km 45 km 85 km 60 km 40 km 70 km 65 km 65 km 48 km 75 km 55 km 70 km 75 km 45 km 55 km 80 km 35 km 65 km 70 km 50 km

is a new initiative to create the first dedicated cycle tourism route to cross the Iberian peninsula. For five weeks during the spring of 2008, cycle tourists from all over the world are invited to take part in the 1,780-kilometre journey which winds through central Spain. The trail passes through some of the country’s most beautiful regions, following historic trails and joining many of Spain’s existing green tourism trails. For more information, write us at trans.iberian@yahoo.com, or follow the route online at http://trans-iberian.blogspot.com.
TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS – Participant Handbook

THE TRANS-IBERIAN EXPRESS

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These distances are provided as a guideline only. Exact distances will be provided on route sheets, which will be provided in (in English) on: http://trans-iberian.blogspot.com
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