Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Rain in Spain

Here it comes. Let's hope it lasts long enough to water the plants. And let's hope everyone is careful on the road, especially on the white pavement paint for crosswalks and all that slippery stuff.

Here's a pretty row of bikes. Which one is mine? Let's see...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Born to ride, ride to eat

08.00h Breakfast:

Homemade orange and raisin brioche (dough made in the Thermomix)
11.30h Aperitivo:
Vermouth, garlic potato salad, beef stew
There's a whole website  for bikers who like to eat.  It's a wiki type collection of reader-recommended and rated eateries all over the USA. I think there's room for this here in Spain. Shout-out to my friend Pedro Garcia for the heads-up on this site!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Madrid's 4 Towers

I took a quick spin to El Pardo as the sun was going down, those fantastic clouds over the skies of Castille like an El Greco painting. Good moment for a picture.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Like a pig in...

I dropped by Motos Mazarías yesterday afternoon and Ruby showed me the new Royal Enfield leather jacket and helmets.

But even cooler is to wear it while sitting on the new Desert Storm Royal Enfield Classic.

In fact, it was so cool, even passers-by came in to have a go:

Is that a gorgeous bike or what?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Missing Maranchón

The idea was to ride my Bullet up to the unsuspecting town of Maranchón, birthplace of my friend Pedro García, and take a surprise pic in front of his old house or something like that. So I planned my route, scribbled it out professionally on a napkin and took off on the bright Sunday morning, leaving Javi in peace to do get some work done at home.
Unsuspectingly and unexpectedly, my first directions fell through as I found that Exit 53 on the N-II freeway was blocked off due to construction work. So on I went and exited to Brihuega, where I had a walk around to check out the old town.
Brihuega (Castilla-La Mancha)

I just bought some great cheese here.
 There was a butcher's shop open, with a curious poster in English announcing an award-winning local cheese from the Cheeses of the World competition, so I went in and bought some. Very nice. It will go great tonight with a glass of that red wine from Almansa.
Good stop for motorcycles

There were several bikers at the outdoor terraza (above) where I parked the Balita Roja, but they were on big fast Japanese bikes in colors matching their leathers, and paid no heed to an old fart like me on a crazy old bike like mine.
So I tucked into a media ración de ensaladilla all for myself:
Ensaladilla rusa: basically an excellently done potato salad

Time to wing it from here. I wended my way out of Brihuega and into the wilds towards the young Tajuña and along skimpy back roads through Budia and Durón, where I stopped for lunch. They had paella just made, so I had that.
Paella de marisco

The restaurant is also great for bikers. It has a lot of place to park, it has an outdoor dining area and a barbeque grill they light every weekend "unless it's snowing really really hard" (said the owner). Worth a return for the grilled lamb chops.

I had to forgo on the wine since I was driving and had no time for a siesta.

Back on the road, I headed south through the Alcarria region, to Sacedón and then to Buendía and on south before turning off onto an amazing back road to head back west to the region of Madrid.
La Balita on the corner of Nowhere and Nowhere

Vistas with Balita

The way home lies ahead

The way I came

In the end I had a nice ride and still got home by 5pm or so. But it would be more fun to do with one or two others. Next time I'll let people know. Readers?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Organic Wine at Vinos Ambiz

While talking to Fabio (of Vinos Ambiz) over lunch the other day, he mentioned that he's considering opening a space in his winery and making it easily accessible for bikers on routes through this great wine region of Madrid.
Fabio's wines are 100% natural, ecological and organic and are getting quite a following. Some of his vineyards are in the lush river valley of the Tajuña, not far from Carabaña. Bikers know this area for its beauty and simplicity and the appeal of its back roads: little traffic if any, gently sinuous curves, vineyards and olive groves, the river, the karst hills, small towns, and all in less than a half-hour's ride from Madrid.
I'll keep you updated on developments as they unfold.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wine Club

I confess, I've gone all chic on you. I've taken that ultimate vow, even surpassing same-sex marriages: I've joined a wine club. ENOLOBOX, from the nice people at (no idea who they are, actually, but I'm ready to be polite until further notice.
Got the first box in the mail the other day:
Pillín checking out the bouquet
 Three different bottles for 23.95 euros. They guarantee that the price of the box of 3 wines is more than 30% less than their joint retail price. This one contained 3 wines from Castilla La Mancha, but from very different areas (it's a big region in Spain).

Wines from Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)
I popped open the Laya from Almansa the other day. OMFG. Really nice, and for less than 5.75€. A garnacha and monastrell blend, smooth, milky, not at all rough or sharp, full of hidden flavors. I get prunes, apples, pears, coconut. It has that malolactic quality I'm really liking these days.

Any other bikers out there who like to pop the cork from time to time? Must be somewhere!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ciao, Mafi! A route to Pastrana

I founded my little group (Por Madrid en 125cc ('Around Madrid in 125cc') at when I  bought bought my first scooter and found that the big boys had their biker clubs but there wasn't anything on for us lightweights who despite our cylinder size still wanted a piece of the action (which sounds more Freudian than it is, I hope).
So I founded the group on the hopes of meeting other bikers and taking modest trips around the Comunidad de Madrid. But no one signed up. I sold my scooter, got a motorcycle license, bought my Bullet. And suddenly there were 10 people in the group. Then 20. Now 40-something. And while some do have 125cc scooters or motorcycles, some have some pretty powerful bikes but they like to go out with us anyway. Javivi has a gorgeous BMW 650 for instance and is a great guy to travel around with, so he's co-manager of the group.
Javivi going over the route plan

One of our favorite members is Carolina (nick: "Mafi"). She's on hard times and has to sell her bike and move back to her village in Valencia, so we organized a ride for her before she leaves.
Mafi, Ana and Alicia

Mafi and Javivi

Destination: lunch in Pastrana, the old capital of the Alcarria region of Spain, where the famous Princesa de Éboli lived in her palace there and was under house arrest by King Phillip II for the rest of her life.

The restaurant for lunch was a big success (Mesón Restaurante Moratín):
Pimientos rellenos de bacalao

Morcilla de Burgos
And main courses:
Roast lamb


Shish kebabs
And the company was excellent as usual:

And so were the home-made desserts:
Rice pudding

Chocolate fudge cake


Lemon mousse

Cuajada (curds with honey)

We had a nice walk around the old town:

And saw something new:
And something old:
1958 Moto Lube 125cc

Looks ok to me!
The route back was great, through the untravelled off-roads between vineyards and olive groves, the Tajo River flowing nearby.

Mafi, we wish you all the best back in your village!