After 3 good days in Barcelona at Laura’s place, spent visiting, catching up in showering, catching up in sleeping and catching up in blogging, I switch on the muscle machine again to go until the south of Spain.
I have also cleaned my bike from the accumulated mud, in a more sophisticated way than usually (with a toothbrush) and I could still remove a significant amount. I tightened the bolts (some really needed), oiled the chain, etc. My bike feel good again, shiny black instead of brown, and my toothbrush found a second life, so everyone is happy. Almost everyone, my back didn’t enjoy the cleaning session.
I also have to change the oil inside the Rohloff internal gear hub. The maintenance of it consists only in the change of the oil every 5000 km. I have with me a kit to do it, but when I opened it, I realized that one of the small bottles had broken and the oil was spilled in the kit bag. I now need 2 kits, one for now, and one for later. Fortunately Barcelona has a shop dealing with this kind of gear, where Bicyclown and Heinz Stucke (100.000+ km for one, almost 50 years of cycling for the other) are familiar. The nice boss of Bike Gracia helps me doing the change and I can purchase another kit, so I’m good for at least 10 000 km now.
We put also more tension in the chain, which had already severely dropped since the last re-tensionning. I wonder how many millimeters I’ll make the chain longer before it breaks.
I finally leave Barcelona not along the coast, but with the latest advice, through Vallvidrera, on the hills. This gives me a nice panorama of the city.
I continue on a small and nice road, with exception of a bit of highway, until Cervalló. It feels good to know that the bike I’m sitting on is refreshed. I don’t go faster, but it makes a nice sound, and I feel just like after a shower that was long awaited.
Concerning the shower, I’d quickly need another one, because I’m sweating more for the same amount of efforts. I think it’s above 10°C during the day now, and it didn’t happen for a looooong time.
The road after Cervalló is not that nice. To avoid looking at the busy traffic, I have only the cement factories to distract me. There is an interesting system to prevent the motorists to overspeed when the limit is low and the road straight. It consists in traffic lights blinking orange, put in the middle of the straight segment of the road. Ahead of them, a sign warns the cars that if they are over 50 km/h, the light will turn red. It should work if people feel more guilty to pass a red light than to overspeed.
Everyone I asked told me that the road is feo, ugly, until Valencia, basically until I reach Andalusia. And ugly whether I take the coastal option or a bit more in the interior (unless I go west of Madrid along the camino of Santiago). That’s not motivating, but the Grenada and the Sierra Nevada in one week’s time of cycling are.
The road until Vilafranca Del Penedès is still ugly and busy. Despite not being very rectilinear, it’s a national road. There are many trucks for company and many quarries for scenery.
After Vilafranca Del Penedès, which could be a good starting point if I had exited Barcelona with a short train ride, I have the option to move on smaller roads, parallel to the coast, but 20-30km away.