Testing a cycle route

My electric mountain bike

My electric mountain bike

A group from Ireland are coming here for a holiday in May, during which they would like to explore the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata, using electric mountain bikes. They have asked me to help organise this, with the sourcing of bikes to rent, accommodation and routes. I have recently acquired an ebike and, this morning, decided to try out one of the biking routes suggested in the Editorial Alpina guide. It describes the going as difficult and the time as taking five hours.
Planta Denver, Rodalquilar

Planta Denver, Rodalquilar

I started from my home in Las Negras and headed to Rodalquilar, where I went up through the village to the old gold mine processing plant, Planta Denver.
The old main road to the Parque Natural

The old main road to the Parque Natural

From here, I took the track inland towards Cortijo del Fraile. When the gold mines were operating and Rodalquilar was the hub, this was the main road into what is now the Parque Natural. The wide track was once well paved but is now covered with loose stones and today it is mainly used by hikers and bikers and there is hardly any motorised traffic.
Poblado Minero de San Diego

Poblado Minero de San Diego

I stopped to look at the Poblado Minero de San Diego. This little mining village, now in ruins, was set up by a British company early in the last century. The mines were closed at the outbreak of the Civil War but later reopened for a short time by Franco, when Spain was desperate for gold.
Countryside with the Sierra Nevada in the distance

Countryside with the Sierra Nevada in the distance

A little further on, the countryside open out and I could see in the distance the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada province. The track splits and I headed left for the Village of Los Albericoques.
The track from Los Albericoques to Las Presillas

The track from Los Albericoques to Las Presillas

There is not much of interest in Los Albericoques so I did not enter the village but turned down another, stony track towards Las Presillas.
Cortijo de las Presillas Altas

Cortijo de las Presillas Altas

DSC06063aSoon 1 arrived at Cortijo de las Presillas Altas.
The farmer and his flock

The farmer and his flock

Here the farmer was just setting off up the mountain with some of his goats.
Sheep and goats in the corral

Sheep and goats in the corral

More sheep and goats were left behind in the corral and ….
On guard

On guard

…. this rather mute dog was on guard at the front door.
The track down to Las Presillas Bajas

The track down to Las Presillas Bajas

I continued down to Las Presillas Bajas. The track deteriorated and it was difficult going avoiding rocks or trying to avoid skidding on sand but the scenery is spectacular.
Las Presillas Bajas

Las Presillas Bajas

I was relieved to arrive at Las Presillas Bajas where I could again ride over tarmac.
The sea from Las Presillas

The sea from Las Presillas

It was also my first glimpse of the sea since leaving Rodalquilar.
Ruins of the miner's houses in Rodalquilar

Ruins of the miner’s houses in Rodalquilar

I headed down to the coast road and made my way back to Las Negras but I stopped en route at the old mining village at the outskirts of Rodalquilar.
What a lovely avenue this could be

What a lovely avenue this could be

The government wants an investor to take over all the ruins and create a new tourist village. Nobody is investing this sort of money here at the moment and I think it would be a better idea to sell individual plots with ruins in phases to private buyers.
The ride took me just under four hours which included all the stops to take these photos.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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One Response to Testing a cycle route

  1. Wim Thys says:

    Very interesting blog wich I follow because we also leave in Las Negras. We bought the house from Lorenzo in the calle the Botavaro two years ago. We are Belgians and Ingmar is a friend of us.
    About your cycling tour: was it difficult with the ebike ? I am interested in hiring one sometimes but I have to look for a renter. Can you suggest someone?
    Thanks and hoping to meet you once.

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