Sunday, 5 March 2017

"La bici no es el futuro, es el PRESENTE"

Will the future look like this? The present in Spain already does... abandoned buildings, old ones, new ones, abandoned building sites, abandoned roads, old ones new ones, some going nowhere, litter and fly tipping. Often it feels like something has suddenly stopped. Except there is new stuff and it is being used but the old and the unfinished gets discarded, thrown away, left by the wayside.
When we saw this picture it immediately made us think of Spain.
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The first day of cycling was nice until we got our first glimpse into planet vacance, la Costa Brava.
We had planned to follow the coast this time, to profit from the warm mediterranian climate and the bigger population along the coast. It was worth it for the warmth but it's as ugly and depressing as everyone told us. Never mind.

We met Fuet the dog, the first of many dogs during our spanish winter, and of course his lovely owners too, one of the first warm and friendly warmshowers hosts along the way.    
Our first wild camping - or is it parking? totally illegal in a tent in the paintball arena muito frio !!! We got caught out by siesta, as usual... and the wrong spanish time zone... it all takes a bit of getting used to here.
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Wonderful happy glorious welcome from the Cicloamics de Sabadell, after a tough tough cycle ride, mucho coche, muy horrible, we hate cars. Our first Masa Critica, with tiny little children, in the dark, leading the ride...  followed by a wonderful show, our first in Catalonia, Cicloamics are Go!
https://cicloamicssabadell.org/

This is fun! Dibuja y Pedalea!Get your pencils out and join in!
https://www.facebook.com/dibujaYpedalea/?fref=ts
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Lovely to see old friends from Bristol and meet Bosh and Truc their funny dogs.
Followed by Gina the big fluffy talking dog. Dinner with lots of cats and catalans. Molt be!

By chance, in Reus we meet Guillermo, one of many Argentinians we met on the way... and his solar panel powered bicycle. We'd heard stories about him in the south of France... He invited us into his house full of cyclists and we had traditional Norwegian friday tacos with norse folk Sondr and Charlotte. The Norwegians were wise to stay some extra days with Guillermo. We thought a little rain can't do us any harm. It didn't harm us but it was a big day with big, big rain, big hills. A beautiful ride through and up the mountains, into the clouds (this is where the really heavy rain starts...) Fortunately the day ended with a big feast, a warm house and a washing machine!!

We like this car eating monster. It was prowling on a round about, looking very hungry...
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A faint message on the tarmac of a broken road reminding us to remember nature, to pay attention and to not believe big businesses...( 'Shell knew': oil giant's 1991 film warned of climate change danger and then they tried to hide the facts )

On the rio Ebro we take our first winter break with Geode, ex urban cowboy, his wife Stephanie and their extended family of goats, horny Midnight, Boots and co, Prissy the dog and scottish Gordon and Jordan. For a couple of weeks we herded goats, made a kitchen sink, a standing stone, a happy birthday and lived completely off-grid. Fires and stars.
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Next stop no hot shower but a bucket of hot water it was heaven after a week of fire and goats.

Cycling into the night, lucky to find a beautiful wild camping spot.,or is it parking? Oh, no we're in a tent, that's not allowed. On the cliff top we enjoyed the plentiful shimmering stars and the glorious sunrise over the sea.
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Oropessa del Mar nearly killed us, saved by the gardener who sent us back down the steep hill to the vias verdes, all flat through the tunnel to Benicassim and then on to Castellon de la Plana. A super show in the park after a biketastic funfilled masa critica, plus dancing in the park to django jazz.

Castello en Bici rocks!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Castell%C3%B3-en-Bici/179512712067471




And everybody is talking about the Pitiusona, Criticona Masa Critica Interplanetaria. In Ibiza 2017!

The Eurovelo 8 out of Castello isn't getting approved because of the embarrassing prostitutes spoiling the view. Never mind the containers full of oranges being dumped on the side of the road... there's plenty of other embarrassments around. At least the prostitutes have an honest trade.
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Kekazo! Siete enanitos (grunon, feliz, dormillon, estornudo, timido, doc, tontin), dos perros payasos, una perra abuela potato eater, un mystico and tristan the wise. What a bundle of banana cabezas we spent christmas with! Our second winter break we labored hard in the fields built a royal deluxe compost toilet, ate brodo brodo brodo, had fun walking the dogs in the hills and met a smiling cliff.
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Our next ciclo amics we met in Torrent, close to Valencia Collectiu Soterranya, a very active and activist bunch  http://soterranya.blogspot.fr/
Leaving Valencia, no signpost anywhere we meet a cycling poet

I love my bicycle
poetry art ruedas
on the road again

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At dawn in the Albufera de Valencia forever cycling in circles and back again, a labyrinth of rice fields.
The wind is blowing us south to our next camping in yet another ugly deserted holiday village, oranges everywhere, we're stuck on the main road for most parts. In the harbour of Denia the boat to Ibiza was waiting for departure, soon to be filled with hundreds of cycling activist...

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El dia de los reyes, kings everywhere, the deserted holiday villages are turning into deserted holiday towns, the deserted holiday towns are turning into holiday cities, yikes.... Cycled round the back of the Mont Go, away from the coast we find very lovely little villages , peace and calm...up up up the hill to find our host in La Nucia. We're both splittering and splattering with a cold, struggling up that hill. Reward of course, beautiful views, a warmshower and a new friend.

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Yep, this is not the future this is the present...
   
We took the train from Benidorm to Alicante. We couldn't face cycling on the nacional all day, up and down the hills with lots of traffic... the train was easy, metro style ride on, ride of, cheap, great!

Masa Critica on Saturday with lots of cyclists, a little AC/DC dog in a basket and a show afterwards in a fun association, El Taller Tumbao.  We meet Fran and Yogi the dog. Fran is the cyclist to know here in Alicante. He's part of it all, Masa Critic, Conbici y Alicante Ciclo Turismo http://valenciacicloturismo.com/

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In Santa Pola we were touched by angels! The weather turned and we got offered to stay in a bungalow for a week, que vida bonita! We did two surprise shows en la asociacion cultural Millor-Art and in the Cycling Port http://www.cyclingport.com/
Went on a little excursion to Murcia, http://www.murciaenbici.org/ show canceled because of snow! In Murcia we went to see a little presentation about cycling in Iran. It took place in the Hospital de Bicis, taller loco, a bike workshop with a sense of humour! http://hospitaldebicis.com/taller/bicicletas/murcia 

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We left our little house in Santa Pola, cycling through acres of greenhouses  and golf courses, with africans on rusty old bicycles and rich white folk on golf buggies, feeding off of each other... what a weird world we live in.