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spain-09

Spain 🇪🇸

DOWNLOAD THE GPX TRACK

By downloading this GPX track you agree to these conditions - READ HERE
The trail has been put up by country based volunteers. The accuracy of the trail is not guaranteed, nor are the GPS co-ordinates. We do not represent or warrant that materials in the site or the services are accurate, complete, reliable, current or error-free. We cannot represent or warrant that the site or its servers are free of viruses or other harmful components. If you stray onto private land, apologise and get back onto the byway or trail. These trails can be shut or permanently closed at short notice under local law. Do not ride trails beyond your capability. If unsure, get off your bike and walk the trail first. Trail riding alone, especially on trails you do not know is really unwise. Wear the proper safety kit. Many country trails are rarely maintained. You will find ruts, holes, floods, treacherous surfaces and the occasional booby trap hazard deliberately placed by people who do not like motorcycles using trails. When you use the trails, you are on your own. You exercise your judgement in your own skills and your own navigation. All we can do is show you where some of the trails are, but this can change at a moment's notice.

Practical tips for trails you do not know;

1: Ride in at least a pair. If you fall with a motorcycle pinning you down to cold and damp earth, in the Europe we do not have to worry about being eaten by exotic carnivores (usually!) but exposure, hypothermia and shock can do a very effective job of killing you. Do not rely on the trails having a regular through flow of users to come to your aid;

2: If your riding companion cannot pick your bike up off you then get a lighter bike, a stronger riding companion or ride in a bigger group;

3: Trails can vary immensely. A vehicular right of way can be a rocky or muddy scramble;

4: Adventure bikes – especially on adventure tyres – can struggle with some trails. Do not just bowl into trails because they are on a map – they can be horribly technical and totally unsuitable for even fairly competent riders on light machines or experienced riders on bigger machines;

5: Stop for horses and kill your engines to let equestrians pass. A horse spooking at a bike revving will be likely to result in criminal charges if the police get involved and a motorcycle is a lot easier to control than a horse;

6: On the trails there will be free running dogs. Do your best to be nice to them;

7: Mobile phone coverage can be patchy on the trails. Do not rely on calling an ambulance – if you’ve got stuck, the emergency services are going to get just as stuck trying to retrieve you. That is if you can raise them by telephone;

8: Finally, obey the golden rule, which is don’t be a dick by unnecessarily annoying other country side users or letting ego outstrip talent.

ROUTE INFO

1Length of TET in country
3648km
2Expected time to cover TET in country
10 days
3Best time of year to ride TET in country
May-October

AVOID August if possible
4Entry point into country
Tapis (F/E)

Quebranta (P/E)
5Exit point from country
Calvos (E/P)
6Language(s)
Spanish, Basque, Catalan and Galician.
7Currency
Euro
8Emergency telephone number
112

This has English speaking operators and is available – at least in theory! In areas where there is no normal cell phone coverage, there is also an app – www.alpify.com - which is a satellite tracking system that once registered links you directly to the emergency services.
9Drive on the...
Right
10Laws regarding wild camping
There is a 1966 law that spells out rules for wild camping: “Article 46.1 of the order for July 28th 1966 states that, “Apart from tourist camp sites, no more than three tents or caravans may be placed at the same location, nor should there be more then 10 campers, nor may the camp be in place for more than three days. Tents and (caravans) within 500 metres of each other are considered to be part of the same group.” BUT in effect any camping outside of conventional sites is prohibited by subsequent local rules that vary depending on the regions (each of Spain’s seventeen regions has varying degrees of autonomy in making and imposing rules).

In practice making a bivouac is OK as long as one is sensible and heed certain universal restrictions and avoid overstepping common sense limits. The distinction between ‘camping’ and ‘bivouac’ is subtle - the term is used and understood in Spanish so if you are questioned say ‘vivak’ to explain your presence. There are a few simple bits of advice:

- make camp after 20.00 and be gone before 08.00

- your tent should be less than 1,2 metres high or better still a bivvy bag type

- your intention should be obviously a temporary shelter on your route and not just a cheap option to conventional accommodation

- cooking is OK as long as you use a genuine camping stove and never, ever, ever light a fire anywhere in Spain, no matter how sodden the land might look!

IN SOME PLACES EVEN A BIVOUAC IS FORBIDDEN:

- within 100 metres of the sea

- within two kilometers of military installations

- within two kilometers of a regular camp site (when it’s open I presume)

- listed historic sites

- in protected areas like national parks, natural parks, etc. (be especially aware of bird sanctuaries called ‘ZEPA’s, (Zona Excepcional de Protección de Avifauna).

11Trail riding and the law
‘Ley de Montes’ is the main law.

It restricts traffic to defined trails of no less than four metres in width

It prohibits traversing open country and features such as fire breaks and water courses

It authorises local authorities to make temporary restrictions in circumstances such as periods of high fire risk (this can occur in winter as well as summer!)

It specifically requires that ‘sports’ or competitive events require special permissions and insurance policies and/or cash deposits to indemnify third parties, etc.

It stipulates a ‘generic’ speed limit of 40 kmph

It states that all vehicles must be ‘street legal’ with a specific requirement to have all documentation available for inspection. (In practice this can also mean street legal according to Spanish rules, so trail bike owners should have two mirrors, a chain guard and a ‘reasonable’ silencer with some regional rules specifying silencers adapted for fire prevention. This suggests that a forest warden patrol, who have ‘police powers’, may use this to prosecute a rider with a non-standard exhaust in the absence of noise measuring equipment!)

The ‘Ley de Conservación de los Espacios Naturales’ empowers the regions to enact their own rules regarding access to nature reserves and other protected spaces (National Parks (Parques Nacionales) are excluded from this devolved power) and, once again, the regions have a diverse interpretation of these powers. For example both Cantabria and Navarre are extremely restrictive whilst Catalonia is ‘open’, allowing, almost encouraging, motors to pass through reserves albeit on given specified trails. In fact it is often easier to navigate in these areas since as long as you don’t pass a ‘No Entry’ sign you can’t get lost!

As well as the nationwide rules for motor transit in Spain, each of its seventeen Autonomous Regions has the right to amend these with their own regulations. The regions vary considerably in their implementation of these rights with some merely reiterating the generic rules while others tend to overstate the obvious.

The table below describes the most important additional regional rules and is derived from the website of AMVER (the Spanish trail riders’ association). The TET Spain has been divided into sections corresponding with the Regions allowing easy cross-referencing.

It is worth taking these rules seriously as the fines can be severe. For example, up to €6,000 in Catalonia for being at the head of an oversized group (€600 for each of the followers too) and up to €30,000 for more serious infractions such as not getting permission/insurance for a ‘sporting’ event.

REGION MAX NO IN GROUP MIN ROAD WIDTH MAX SPEED NOTES
ANDALUSIA (A) - - - -
ARAGON (A) 5 - 30kph Minimum 30 minutes between groups
ASTURIAS (AS) - - - -
BASQUE COUNTRY - - - -
CANTABRIA (CA) - - - -
CASTILLA-LA-MANCHA (CM) 3 4m 30kph CM1, CM2
CASTILLA-LA-MANCHA (CM) 3 4m 30kph CM1, CM2
CASTILLA Y LEÓN (CL) - - - CL1, CL2
CATALONIA (C) 7 4m* 30kph C1, C2
EXTREMADURA (EX) - - - -
GALICIA - - - G1
MADRID (M) n/a n/a n/a M1
MURCIA (MU) - - - -
NAVARRE (N) 10 2m 40kph N1, N2
LA RIOJA (LR) 5 - 20kph LR1
VALENCIA (V) - - - V1
Each Region has an agreed ‘Initial’ that corresponds with secondary and tertiary roads that are under their management. NOTES:

CL1: specifically allowed to ride on drover’s trail routes, i.e. Cañadas Reales

CL2: specifically prohibits footpaths

CM1: ‘sports’ vehicles e.g. trial and enduro bikes and quads prohibited except for specifically authorized trails

CM2: specifically prohibits non-standard lights, etc.

C1: limit to 4 cars

C2: private landowners may allow traffic on trails of less than 4m

G1: motor vehicles are prohibited on forest trails or any that are not listed on the ‘road’ network

M1: all ‘public’ access to trails are totally prohibited to motors!

N1: motors are prohibited on fire breaks and forest access trails

N2: specific exclusion zones: all nature reserves, trails on the Camino de Santiago (Eng: The Way of Saint James)

LR1: forbidden to ride trails after dark

V1: awaiting confirmation …

Please note that this information is provided for your information and guidance but its completeness and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Each rider is advised to ensure the abide by whatever national and regional regulations are in force at the time they ride.

12Bike events on or near the TET
Spanish Royal Motocycle Federation calendar: http://www.rfme.com/web/calendario

MC Piston Rally: last week in September

The Spanish Biker's HISS Catalonia: second week in September

Ruta de los Penitentes: Mayday holiday weekend


ROUTE OVERVIEW

Spain occupies about 80% of the Iberian Peninsula, which has an average altitude of over 600 metres and is almost entirely mountainous. It also has a wide variety of environments ranging from the hot, dry ‘Mediterranean’ zone in Catalonia to the wild Atlantic coast of Galicia in the far North-west (a place I like to think of as like Galway with garlic!) ranging through near desert regions, badlands, etc. not forgetting the ‘Alpine’ landscapes of the Pyrenees where the TET enters from Spain and passes through Andorra.

The present TET Spain traverses three major mountain systems, the Pyrenees, the Cordillera Cantabrica which runs along the north coast and includes the famous Picos de Europa and the Penibaetic System down in Andalusia which it crosses on the final leg to the Straits of Gibraltar having taken a detour through Portugal. Surprisingly perhaps, the wettest part of Spain is in these southern mountains with the Sierra de Grazalema having an average of 2,153 mm of rain a year.

As well as climate variations according to its regions (Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean). Spain has extreme weather patterns, sometime suffering years of drought and very severe winters, and also local weather phenomena. For example it’s not uncommon for over 60 mms of rain to fall in less than half an hour – sometimes more than twice this! - or for the temperatures to vary around 25º in a single day! These conditions have a very considerable impact on the trails with deep ruts, exposed boulders and washouts occurring even on well used and maintained trails – so riders have always to be prepared for the unexpected.

Along with this environmental diversity Spain’s cultural and political variety is notable. Of its seventeen ‘Autonomous Communities’ fifteen are on the Peninsula of which the TET traverses seven: from east to west – Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja, Castilla-Leon, Galicia and Andalusia. Each region has varying powers to generate their own local laws and including regulations controlling motorised access to trails. Both these and the ‘generic’ rules controlling access to trails are summarised on The Spanish Biker blog and to make it easier to plan the TET Spain is split according to these regional boundaries and the regions’ names are included in the file titles.

Most of rural Spain is very sparsely populated and the TET aims to pass through these regions - not only for their natural beauty and the possibility of riding unhindered by any ‘traffic’ – actually that can be rather worrying! – but also to bring newcomers, and to an extent their money, to areas where the warmth and generosity of the locals seem in stark contrast with the wildness and drama of the landscape and the harshness of the climate …


WHAT NOT TO MISS

Tapas: especially the regional specialities:

Catalonia: Embotits - a range of dried mountain sausages served with pa amb tomaquet (country bread smeared with garlic and tomato and dressed with the finest olive oil)/Castilla-Leon: Morcilla de Burgos - a black pudding including rice which crisps up nicely when sliced and fried a la placha/Galicia: Pulpo Gallego (fresh octopus from Galicia’s rich coastline cooked in spicy paprika based broth and served in slices on special wooden platters)/Andalusia: Serrano ham is available all over Spain but an unsurpassable treat is jamón iberico de bellota made from the indigenous, semi-wild, Iberian black pigs that are fed on a diet of acorns in the vast estates of dehesa scrublands in deepest Andalusia. / Regional Wines: the exciting ‘new’ reds of Somontano grown in the shadow the Pyrenees in Aragon, the rich highly traditional reds of La Rioja that are matured for years in ancient, oaken barrels or the fruity Albariño whites from Galicia – and, perhaps the ultimate sybaritic treat to accompany a platter of jamón iberico de bellota, a glass of chilled fino sherry sipped in a shady patio while the southern sun bakes the pavements in Huelva province – not for nothing is this region called Spain’s ‘frying pan’ …