It had been a hot week, not only in Spain but all across Europe with 40-degree temperatures across France and many other areas. Taking this into consideration an early start was called for to get some long-awaited biking in. Waking in the early light at 05:30, setting off on a bike ride was the last thing on my mind however I had promised myself that after a couple of months off it was about time to get back on the horse so to speak.
Wheeling the Bandit out into the cool morning air I started to question my choice of Frank Thomas XTi mesh jacket and summer gloves but knowing the likelihood of 36 degrees to come later the thoughts were quickly dispelled and the Bandit fired into life. It always starts first time with a small application of choke and then I give it a couple of minutes to settle down before heading off.
No longer based in Senija on the Costa Blanca, we have moved to Parcent a little further inland in the Jalon Valley I am now a very short distance from Coll de Rates which is a favourite with bikers on a Sunday morning. This would be the direction I would take, however, I saw no other bikers on the twisty uphill sprint to the viewpoint at the top, a quick snap later and away over the hill towards Tarbena and Callosa d'en Seria. This area is lovely in the early morning you just have to watch out for farmers getting a jump on the day and heading out on their tractors
Past the Fonts de Algar, a popular tourist attraction in the heat of summer, on past the Guadalest motorcycle museum and through the mountain village still climbing and heading inland the weather is cool and the roads are quiet. I have stopped at many cafes and bars along this section of road over the years, there are a few good ones for bikers that do superb bocadillos and cafe con leche on a Sunday morning however today I had a plan in the back of my mind to go all the way to Venta Teresa at Carrasqueta for a coffee and then to Barnie's in Benidorm for breakfast if time and the heat allowed.
Following the road from Guadalest to Alcoy, the road is an undulating twisting rollercoaster ride climbing and falling along the valley wall. Just before Alcoy I turned left towards Alicante avoiding the motorway and heading for the smaller N road instead which takes you under the motorway bridges. and near to the old railway line, I cycled a few years ago. After just a few miles it was left at the roundabout towards Xixona and back towards the coast but not before climbing again over the mountains and down to Venta Teresa for a coffee.
After a lovely cup of coffee and a little bit of chat with the owners of the long-running establishment, it was down to San Juan near Alicante before the blast along the coast to Benidorm and my much deserved breakfast at Barnie's. The N332 along the coast between Alicante and Benidorm gives some good views of the coast but is relatively boring compared with the mountain roads in the early part of the trip. However early in the day when they are quiet, they are still fun, just watch for the speed cameras.
After a superb breakfast at Barnie's in Benidorm, it was time to head back along the coast to Benissa and then inland to Parcent in the Jalon Valley. I have ridden this road so many times the bike could probably manage on its own. There are some lovely views and some great twisty sections however it was starting to heat up, and home was calling. Just before Benissa, in the distance, I spotted a sports bike rider waiting to pull out on to the main road. As I got nearer the rider remained still and I realised it was in fact sculpture outside an art gallery.
Pulling in to the carpark and snapping a few pictures of this piece the owner/artist Georgie Poulariani came over for a chat. I had seen his work before, as a local artist, pictures of his work occasionally appear on facebook etc, my favourite being a superb lion sculpture. The motorcycle is actually a comission for a customer who has a collection of bikes and is of her riding her Kawasaki. it is not complete but looked stunning in the bright sunlight. Check out Georgie's work on his Instagram page or visit the gallery just outside Benissa on the N332.
Finally riding back through the Jalon Valley with a smile on my face and the sun on my back, it had been a great way to spend the early hours of a Sunday morning and I still had most of the day left.