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Chapter 6-Bikepacking the Altravesur-Los Barrios to Jimena de la Frontera

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On the Wednesday morning I was to leave, I’d decided to set-off around 9am. I thought I should go and buy a spare chain link before leaving Los Barrios, I do have one, but it turns out it’s the wrong one. And after Sean's chain breaking I thought it best to have one. I don’t know why I brought the one I had along, I knew it wouldn’t fit, I am such a weirdo! I made my way to Runbaik, but it didn’t open until 10am. What a pain, I had to wait around for an hour, so spent it in a café just opposite the bike shop, who made me an excellent Café con Leche with Soya milk! It was rather pleasant just sitting there in the sunshine!

Whist I’ve been riding this route, I’ve been in contact with three people on Whattsapp; Jen, a lady that is bike touring, not specifically the Altravesur, but in the region I’m in. Currently she’s staying in Ronda for a few weeks, she tends to stay at homestays such as Warmshowers or Workaway.

Then there’s Sean, he was a few days ahead of me on the route but had broken his bike in the mud after all the rains, just before Jimena. He had flown from New Zealand to do this and was en route to a family gathering in Ireland, so he had a tight time-frame. After breaking his bike, he pushed it to Jimena, got a taxi to Ronda, and held up there for a few days. In fact, he met with Jen whilst he was there, which was nice. Then he needed to get back to Valencia to collect his bike box and catch his flight to Ireland. That was a saga in itself, usually the trains allow bikes, but due to some breakdown of a train carriage or something like that, he wasn’t allowed to take his bike on the train. After a lot of frustration, he eventually got a bus from Ronda to Malaga, then an overnight bus from Malaga to Valencia. What a palaver! I wonder what is going to befall me after all this!

The third person I’m in contact with is Tom Phillips, he rode the Altravesur in February, an excellent time window, before the winds and the rain! Although cold, it is the best time to go.

These three people have been a great help, when I’m stuck, when I need to know how, where or what, there’s someone to talk to. For instance, I wouldn’t have known about the terrible mud after the heavy rains if it wasn’t for Sean. Which is something I’m having to contemplate now, whilst typing this I’m in Jimena, and it’s been raining heavily for days.