Sierra Nevada - Andalucia
I have been and ridden the road sections of that, defo dont do it in summer. We stayed here: http://www.vamoscycling.com/
Its great around there, very cheap food accommodation etc. If I were to do a tour/bikepacking like that I wouldn't bother with camping.
Plan is to go end of March. Figured campsites/b&bs might well be closed and will need to lug tent about with.
North side of the range looks abit more isolated for resupply but I've not properly looked into it yet if we do decide to do the loop proper.
Definitely remember reading someone's account of it who I swore was on here. Or at least maybe I got linked to it from here? Scottish guy/bike reviewer iirc I think right before the pandemic did the route. That was the original inspiration if it rings a bell with anyone?
Looking at my RWGPS heatmaps, it looks like it shares some of the route with the first edition Badlands route (and maybe Transiberica). Really nice riding. Always wishing for lower gear. :)
@carson rode it: https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/300060/?offset=25#comment13688729
Mentioned here: https://www.lfgss.com/comments/14117924/ and here too: https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/375384/?offset=75#comment16534626
Thanks for this. Will have a look at the Badlands routing - hadn't realised it started in Granada.
First attempt at a loop from Malaga.
Other option with a bit less off roading in the mountain range. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42051822?privacy_code=JUUP9Z6N3UIJfkcb
Thanks for this man. Think were just going to do an abridged version of badlands and tour it. I've just had the covid so looking forward to getting left for the vultures by @Netakure on some bleak desert.
OK, straightaway can I recommend looking into riding from Velez Malaga up to Ventas Zafarraya via A7205/402 roads and picking up the off-road GR7 that drops you in Jayena, and then going, still on the GR7, up to the top of the Camino de Cabra, and continuing on it to Albunelas and then crossing over Valle Lecrin to pick up the route at the foot of the Alpujarras, Lanjarron etc. This will be a huge couple of days but will be absolutely stunning.
I also wonder about getting all the way up to Bubion/Travelez and then dumping the elevation so quick without going over the top to Granada at that point. Please don't take this as anything but a friendly suggestion though, its just something to investigate
edit. a few pics here https://www.lfgss.com/comments/16807324/
Also, just to say there is a lovely train between Granada and Antequera and, from Antequera an exceptional route back to Malaga if you do the Camino de Santiago tributary route backwards. Or you could start with this and do your route, or a variation of it, backwards.
I really like the look of the bit between Felix and Turon on your route, I have ridden the road down the side of the valley into Turon, then around the resevoir back to cadiar and back to Orjiva and the first bit feels like you an in the middle of f-ing nowhere and very wild
Many moons ago when I was trying to be a fast cyclist I went to training camps down there, where I stayed at my mates setup http://www.sierranevada.cc in Velez de Benaudalla. Just wanted to chip in that the roads and climbs are absolutely stunning and very quiet in terms of traffic. You'll have a blast.
Yes I was also going to mention them, bumped into -forgot his name- last year when I was out there, extremely knowledgeable
Andalucía confirmed for being amazing for gravel cycling.
Bit of a blog with maybe some useful info for anyone in future, maybe not, idc. Intent was to do shortened version of Badlands in reverse starting from Malaga. Open to changing bits along the way as wasn't too precious about any of it really as I knew wherever we went it'd be great. Which it was, cant really go too wrong...
Fly to Malaga.
Build bike in airport.
Train to Eat Sleep Cycle in Malaga as other bike has been posted to them
Build bike in shop -much more civilized.
Meet good guy Jose in the shop.
Eat pasta & pedal out on the coast into a crap headwind and get the fear as it already feels hard. Road up to Competa - I wanted to cross a national park (Sierras De Tejeda) to make it more gravellly (sp?).
Grabbed staples of bread, meat and cheese.
Camped at Fabrica de la luz which has a little camping area by a stream which was ace as it was unexpected - had a toilet which was decadent.
Pillow has a slow puncture and rear derailleur doesn't shift properly.
Good day however only 1 beer consumed.
Crap sleep - leaky pillow is weak.
Savage climb from leaving the camp area. 2 km of seemingly vertical concrete slabs.
Mellow gravel mountain road which led to a not so mellow rocky loose push a bike.
Saw some wild horses, hoped they might kick me to death to avoid having to keep pushing bike.
"Descended" the bullshit peak by sliding bike down the path as it was unrideable on loaded gravel bike.
Nice mountain gravel roads eventually found down into Fornes after a bit of on the spot rerouting
Town was kicking off on a Sunday, the whole place was out for a wedding / church or something. Bar rammed, loads of people dressed up. Beers / Tapas consumed hurriedly.
Road down to the next town Jayena where it was abit more chill. Beers, food, fuck about setting up Luis's new head unit for a while
Gravel highway - insane perfectly coiffured gravel road down to the Sierra Nevada foothills I guess.
Road ride to Orgivia to setup camp late.
Ask for the bill at the bar whilst Luis has a shower, receive another beer in error. Will leave all further interactions with the public to him if I can.
Hard day. 5 beers consumed.
Consume more bread / cheese / meat - Tostadas are class.
Found a camping shop and got a gas canister - no 100g cans so had to carry the bigger one . Apparently rarer than hens teeth screw top canisters so feeling pretty smug.
Road climb to Trevelez - fairly mild but long few hours.
Massive bag of crisps and several beers in Trevelez.
Hundreds of hams hanging from the ceiling that I end up headering as I try to find the toilet. Stuff of nightmares that place for veggie / vegan.
The owner was a bit a of a legend and was giving me shit for my Catalunya patch.
Finally on badlands route I think.
Gravel down to Murtas - see a warning sign about bulls and get the fear. Luis is faster so I will certainly be the target. Tuck red t shirt dangling from seatpack into seatpack...
Escape the gravel to a road section - see a big reservoir - level looks low, Spain on fire this year I guess?
Murtas be dead, no shops / bar open. Spirits be low.
Murtas gravel descent was spicy, no idea how badlanders cycle up it.
Descend to Berja - too tired to care about the novelty of the plastic scene in front of me.
Ice cream restores life in Berja. Hotel booked, no regrets. Pizza and kebab chips scoffed.
No beers consumed.
Another hard day but amazing. 2 beers only, too tired to drink.
Wake up refreshed but burned to fuck as forgot to apply cream to tops of my hands.
Leave Berja - after Tostada and a challenging toilet / no paper standard in the cafe.
Small road to the gravel section that we'd fretted over as it looks like the end of the world on komoot.
Get to doom section and realise it's amazing, long but amazing and pretty mellow.
Get to top and realise burned some more as obv hot af.
See the plastic sea, amazing but a bit shite if you need to work in them greenhouses I guess.
Descent is obv amazing. Gravel scalextric track all the way down to a river bed
River bed is hot af, see some chad gravelistas - noone looks like they are having fun.
Climb up to Felix for beers & fried squid. Hot AF.
Road climb up and gravel / mtb down to Gador. Buy more sun cream and decide to push onto desert to camp
Stop at services for a can / scran.
Tabernas desert has 3 gates, 1 was open. 2 were not. Really need 2 people to get around / over them. Why has desert got a gate? Nuclear dumping ground? Hunger games arena?
Loads of signs saying private, ignore.
Get the fear that some sniper / drone is going to take me out so keep pushing on with the mindset that we might need to ride straight through.
Luis gets to use his badman light which helpfully will make it much easier for any desert raiders to pinpoint our position.
Becomes apparent in no condition to ride straight through. Find camp spot mercifully off a section of trail that looks like a footpath rather than gravel road. Everywhere else would have been impossible before the 3rd gate.
Setup camp - just mat on floor.
Marvel at stars
Wake up and put up tent as started to read about desert tarantulas after i felt something on my face.
Beers, 2 inc 1 can.
Finally get to use my fucking stove / gas that been lugging about for coffee outside
Cycle through Tattoine, bizarre place. No Jawas spotted.
Hard going through the section after the train station - energy sapping cycling on dried up river bed.
Road to Gergal after desert for massive tostadas
Shop in Gergal to buy lots as planning another wild camp. Buy 3 litres of water to schlep up the mountain.
Road climb up to the observatory - bin off the off road bit to the observatory actual as cba / hot af.
Get to cycle along the top and sort of bummed out that it's all big massive farm land area? Wasn't expecting to see anything up here tbh.
Gravel road is turned to dust in many parts, so dry.
Bin off the route as hadn't planned on doing Gorafe desert section so descend to a zona acampada.
Descent is incredible but fuck it up and descend too far so need to climb back up a bit.
Get to camp spot.
It has water.
Lament carrying that extra water all that way.
Eat all the scran we brought from Gergal.
It's fucking cold at 1600m elevation
Huddle around the stove for warmth before getting into tent for a cold camp.
Wake up thankfully. Cold af. Wear all my clothes.
Tent slightly frosted
Hurriedly pack and hold coffee for warmth.
Descend in the early morning sunshine to defrost. Coffee at Charches, lovely wee village with small dogs running about causing chaos.
Plan to take it easy today as pretty tired and we are just making it up as we go along now.
Gravel route down towards Gaudix
Cycle down a dried up riverbed, turn back after 1km as it's impossible to cycle.
Arrive in Gaudix, many beers.
Hatch plan to do Veleta, leave bags somewhere and try and get to top sounds nice.
Find glamping spot..book it.
Hot af road ride in headwind. Stop at petrol station for additional beer.
Climb up to a massive reservoir
Look down it and feel a bit unwell
Final push to Guejar Sierra which is off road.
Saw some cats, gave chin scratches.
Glamp & beers
Read about how the ride from Guejar Sierra is absolutely horrific
Beers 8, I think?
Probs too late but there's this thing...
Slower climb. 5km of shite straight up. Why is this road even here.
Mellows out onto nice road, closed to traffic. Pleasant.
Briefly consider an offroad foray
Continue onto get chips at the barrier
Pass the barrier, snow.
Too much snow?
Beers & BBQ
Next day bus back to Malaga - dont pay for €12 bike bag, €1 roll of cling film is fine.
Malaga is jumping, saturday, football on, some religious holiday, flypast from the Spanish red arrows
Pack back at Eat Sleep Cycle
Many many beers
Nice trip, would go again.
Bit disappointing to not get to top of Veleta but still longest climb I've ever done.
Arkose did well, I poorly fitted the rear derailleur and only got the bike mechanic I brought along with me to look at it on the last day..
Full frame bag is the tits
Jack Rack was solid
Managed to snap the alpkit stabilisation rail annoyingly
1 set of pads on the hope's replaced
cargo net around the seat pack is amazing, so useful.
Bit disappointing to not get to top of Veleta
Oh you totally missed out... the views are stunning.
Anyone done it?
Considering the whole loop starting/finish in Malaga with a train no doubt involved somewhere along the way potentially as we only have 7 days. Or taking in the southern section of the route and just cutting across to Alicante.
Did a ride when in Malaga in November with the gf and keen to get back as it was great!