Day Off – My Bike!

After entering Spain I cycled for 19 days and covered about 1700km without a day off!

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In need of a break, the Missus came to join me and we spent a week camping in Arrien. A great beach for swimming located at the end of the metro line from Bilbao. Having arrived a couple of days before her, my first day off felt strange. I had become addicted to the daily routine of pedalling lots and finding some where new to stay each night.

Whilst the Camino Norde is more challenging with many hill climbs and long sections of busy national highway, there are so many perfect little roads twisting through lush green mountains and the end of day swim in the ocean makes it all worth it.

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My bike has been performing excellently. About 3 years ago a friend sent an email to say she was clearing her shed and there were some free bikes on offer. At the time my bike had just been stolen from outside Brighton train station (they cut the lock) and needed something for the commute. A Scott Barracuda chromoly frame and 26″ wheels. It had been her birthday present so I guess now the bike must be about 15 years old!

I eventually saved up and brought a new one (Gary Fisher 29er) but kept Scott running. The Scott has always been known as Scott. I think it’s customary to name long distance tour bikes and I guess this one has naturally named its self prior to being a tourer. The Missus always asks how Scott is doing.

The main reason for taking Scott and not Gary is strength. Chromoly being stronger than aluminium for the frame and the 26″ wheels being less likely to break than the 29er’s (700c). In tests I really noticed the aluminium frame flexing even under light load and the wheel hubs on the 29er often became loose after heavy off road riding. 29er’s are great though and with a few upgrades would have been faster, more comfortable and capable of the challenge. I also think Scott is a bit less appealing to the bike thieves.

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