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Chapter 1-Bikepacking the Altravesur-Getting ready and getting to the start

You can see my YouTube on preparations here

So, all equipment sourced, I went for mid-range everything except the bike luggage. Packing the bike was next on the list, I couldn’t use my Evoc bike bag as I wasn’t returning to the start point. Halfords gave me a bike box, they like getting rid of their empties! Alas the first one just wasn’t the right depth, a large framed full suspension bike is pretty wide as well as long, and the box needed to be wide enough to get the two wheels alongside the frame. The second box they let me have was from an ebike that they had sold, ebikes are generally bigger. I spent a day cutting it down, re-closing it and ended up with a very sturdy, and as small as possible, bike box.

I’d packed and repacked the gear I was to take, twenty times, each time taking things out and sometimes adding something! But I couldn’t get down to just using the bike luggage. I’d have to use, and nearly fill, a large rucksack. When I unpack now, there isn’t much that isn’t used, just some emergency items, of which I’ve used two already, to make some additional tent pegs, needed for the strong winds. Clothes are down to a minimum, and as I write this, I have a wet set of clothes that I’ve just washed and am having to wear my long-johns and mountain bike jersey out into town! Basically, including long-johns, I have two sets of clothes.

I’ll do a separate blog and YouTube on my gear.

My flight to Seville, from Luton airport was effortless, as was getting a taxi from Seville Airport to my Airbnb. I’d booked two nights with a lady called Manuela. Manuela didn’t speak any English, so we communicated using Google translate and my little Spanish. She wasn’t going to be at her apartment until the next day, so a kind friend of hers, Juan, settled me in. There are two longer term tenants staying there too, Victoria and Emilio. Both Spanish, but both speak English, in fact Emilio is an English teacher. And they were a great help to me, in getting some things sorted. I met Manuela on the Tuesday night as she had returned from her trip, we got along fabulously and she was very helpful, especially when it came to disposing of my bike box and miles of bubble wrap!

The apartment was on the fourth floor of the block, it was easy to get the bike up to the flat, in its box, using the lift. I was wondering how I would get it down, as the stairs twist around the lift shaft and are quite narrow.

I spent my time at Manuela’s building Bay, my bike, fitting the bikepacking luggage to him, shopping for camping gas, and trying to find a local SIM card. I wanted a local one, I had heard Vodafone had better coverage, but trying to find a decent pay as you go package proved to be somewhat difficult, especially with the language barrier. I feel the sales assistants could have been more helpful, after searching for a couple of hours I returned to the first Vodafone shop I’d been in and bought the best of what they had. The sales assistant in that shop was more patient and helpful than in the other Vodafone shop!

Anyway, it’s a good job I did buy a local SIM as my O2 is playing up. I’m using two phones, one with the Spanish SIM and my ‘normal’ one with the UK SIM. I dropped my UK phone quite heavily whilst crossing a bridge, perhaps that’s why it keeps losing signal? Very annoying!