Monday, July 16, 2012

Head to the Hills!

In this hot dry summer weather in Spain, riding a motorcycle up into the mountains is one of the best ways to cool off. Javivi from Morata suggested we take our little subgroup out on an excursion to Valverde de los Arroyos for lunch on an all-day ride with our small-cylinder friends (125cc) and anyone else interested in a leisurely ride.
In the end there were 12+1 of us with only one no-show, not a bad turnout rate for my tiny Moterus group. The bikes came in all sizes and shapes: Colgao had just picked up his brand new Honda Crossover the day before and was just starting to break it in.

El Chiri was on a Pan-American I knew I had seen before--it turns out he had bought it the week before from another rider we know, Juan_Revi, so I was glad to see it in the right hands. Chiri is a curiously frank and yet warm and affectionate giant of a man, a good friend to have at your back.

The roads winding slowly into the foothills of the mountain range curve their way north through the province of Guadalajara. It looks farther on the maps, maybe because there are so few towns and villages in this area. Gasoline is an issue with only a couple gas stations in the rural region, so fill up in Espinosa de Henares or be prepared to walk!

Tamajón is a town about half way up. Sleepy, pretty with some nice stone buildings.The portico of the church is quite nice to see in such good shape.

And a short walk into the town takes you to a lovely Renaissance palace and a rural hotel set on a pretty town square, very Castille if you ask me.

Palacio de los Mendoza (Tamajón), 16th-17th century

Country Inn/ Guesthouse

Plaza Mayor de Tamajón

Plaza Mayor
We drove on up and had a drink in Valverde de los Arroyos, where all the old houses have been rebuilt and fitted out with all the mod-cons and everything is in tip-top shape.
We had 5 women bikers in our group, not too usual. Here were three of them:



And yours truly:


Lots of gorgeous roses and hydrangeas in the town, time to stop and smell them.  Mmmmmm!

Paco, whose wife's family is from one of these villages, suggested lunch in Villares de Jadraque, where the prices are about half those of Valverde. It was worth the ride.
After lunch Paco and I ventured for a swim in the reservoir of Alcora, very refreshing. The other 11 chickens did not, and most regretted it later when we scrambled back up the rocky cliff to the bikes.

We refuelled again in Espinosa and then cut across due east to Jadraque and stopped to gaze at the valley and the castle of El Cid:
One Reason to Love Biking in Spain

Another Reason

Castle? What castle?

The Balita Roja in the Lead!

Our last stop was in the town of Hita, quite historic and unassumingly charming.
The Plaza Mayor de Hita

Bikers when they're not riding

The trip was a success: no one got hurt (Chiri and his pillion Peque123 tipped over on a sandy access to the reservoir but no real harm done), we had good riding weather, not too hot, everyone had a good time. I enjoyed meeting a couple of new people (Corso, Rubén, Ani, Peque123). And it was wonderful fun to ride with such excellent bikers: Javivi, Fjc Paco, Mafi, El Chiri, Yyoli, Ramsés, Roberto, Colgao).
Let's see what Javivi comes up with next for the autumn.

Monday, July 2, 2012

NASA and Royal Enfield in Conjunction


Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
  • 1 Grammar a word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (e.g. and, if).
  • 2 an instance of two or more events occurring at the same point in time or space.
    Astronomy & Astrology an alignment of two planets so that they appear to be in the same place in the sky.

This second definition was our mission on Saturday as four of us Bulleteers in Madrid took out our bikes and rode into the mountains to see a curious alignment of old and new.
Our group was the traditional three (Pedro, Juanma and yours truly) with a new addition: Guillermo was taking his newly acquired and repaired Indian Bullet 500cc (2004) out on its maiden voyage on the roads. Both he and the bike did swimmingly, a pleasure to ride with them.

Winding curvy back roads, well paved and seldom traveled by cars took us through forests of Mediterranean pines and groves of encinas (holm oaks) under a gorgeous blue early summer sky. 

When these cyclists showed up, they too wanted in on the conjunction:

We decided to celebrate this scientific event by having a vermouth up at the Cruz Verde, a major biker bar on a mountaintop near Madrid. The Royal Enfield Bullets got plenty of well deserved attention, as usual!
This is Guillermo's Bullet:

 And here's Pedro's classic:

we were all home by lunchtime as planned, ready to face the week ahead and looking forward to the next trip.