La Unión

imageAt the tail end of the wet weather, but still a grey morning we decided to recce cycle routes to La Unión. There are a few options, but, also the chance to take in some serious unwanted hills, which for us as non-cyclists are better left until we have got a bit more experience. I think we have sorted a route with a few alternatives that will be challenging enough for us, and also found a place where we can get a good coffee and some tapas.

While we were there we booked a tour of Parque Minero for next Thursday. We first wanted to do this after a cycle trip through the abandoned quarry in the area last year – another epic adventure.

First bike ride

Well that’s the first week, always a busy week getting setup. It flies by.
The first bike ride this trip. Apart from sore bums, necks and wrists, it was very enjoyable and a good chance to remind ourselves of some of the local geography. 31k done in all with a coffee stop at about 27k (Los Nietos). Dos Café con Leche grandes for a mere €2.20 – it must cost that much just for the contents.

Getting into gear

Lesley’s gears have always been a bit clunky and sometimes slip. I missed out on all things to do with bikes as a youngster, I seemed to get into motorbikes and cars from an early age but never learned the basics with bikes. With a bit of research on youtube I made a start, I didn’t expect to still be at it several hours later, but, I feel I now have a good understanding of how they work and Lesley reckons they feel the best they have ever been!

I might have a look at what’s involved in doing a full service now, watch this space.

Portman to La Unión

IMG_6940Lesley suggested a bike ride today so we set off for Portman. Mostly main roads passing the renowned and exclusive golf club “La Manga”. Into Portman is a long uphill trek which at its’ peak has panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the start of the steep descent into Portman. The countryside here is not pretty, many years of quarrying has left many scars as the minerals have been mined from the ground; it has also left Portman beach contaminated from the effects of this industry. As ever, from the destruction of the hillside, the creation of challenging and prolific off road cycle challenges have been born.

We were at sea level and whatever we did we had a big ride up. After some thought and discussion Lesley convinced me that we should explore the off road track. There was a map at the start showing a 6 – 7 km route to La Unión. It looked steep but then so did all the alternatives.

IMG_6944It wasn’t long before we realised the true nature of the challenges that lie ahead of us. Not only was it technically challenging from a riding point of view, but there were many choices of route, no more maps and someone thought it was funny to destroy the few finger posts there were. The only option was to rely on our vague sense of direction. Fortunately we didn’t make too many errors but it was certainly more challenging than we expected.

There weren’t many people on route but near the summit we did meet a couple who didn’t understand our Spanish and asked if we spoke English. They were from Sweden and spent about 5 months a year here but they were uncertain which was the route to take to La Unión.

IMG_6958Dropping off the top we soon hit a concrete road and, brilliantly, a small coffee shop. The Spanish definitely know how to make a café con leche. The reason for the road was that the old quarry buildings and mines had been converted into a mining museum. They joined all the points of interest with a road train which we saw full of school children.IMG_6965




IMG_6973Into La Uniónand we caught the train to Los Niétos, €2.70 for the two of us. We had a final stop for lunch at Mar de Crystal before finishing the ride home.

The Strava app kept turning itself off, but I’m guessing the cycling was somewhere around 25km and over 500m of climb.


The new Ferretería (Cabo de Palos)

New building is just down the roadFelt like starting the day a little differently today so instead of a run we decided to get the push bikes out and cycle into Cabo. We made our first trip to the ferretería in Cabo. It is an ironmongerists heaven. Restricted ourselves (myself) to buying a few bungees to hold my boards onto the trailer, but in the words of Arnie, I’ll be back!

This picture is the old premises, it’s now housed in a new building, lots more space and easier to navigate.