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Trans España - Andalucía - Jaén

The northerly part of my trip through Spain I planned more or less on a day to day basis. For the southerly part I let myself by guided from a virtual bike route covering whole Andalucía, called TransAndalus or TA abbreviated. On the web page there are road books, tracks and fotos. There is a lively forum where I got help immediately when I had questions concerning the tracks. On the web site one can also maintain personal data like dates and evaluations.

My tour evolved from the following conditions:

  • there are two weeks left
  • I want to visit Granada
  • I have to fly back from Málaga
  • I want to explore as much as possible of the TA

The main direction of the TA is anti-clockwise and the road books and kilometers are counted in that direction. But it is possible to take the TA in the other direction, too. The TransAndalus is divided into several regions and each region consists of several sections (tramos). The map below displays my trip from Valdepeñas to Granada in red and the sections of the Jaen region in blue. For every section I have visited there is a marker (J1 to J5). Clicking on a marker opens a popup with a link to more details on the TransAndalus website.

The first day on the TransAndalus

I had found two arguments (read: excuses) to leave Madrid by train: firstly, I did not want to end up on a motorway again (like on the way into Madrid) and secondly, I wanted to save time to see as much as possible of the TransAndalus tracks. Therfore I take a Media Distancia train from Madrid which provides space for bicycles - one only has to book it in advance.

From Valdepeñas I take the CR-612 in direction south. There is little traffic and soon I cross the border to Andalucía. In Aldeaquemada I encounter section 5 of the Jaen part of the TransAndalus. Since I am driving clockwise for the next days I am going to follow the sections in reverse order. In the village there are two restaurants located at the main square of the town. I have lunch there and leave in the afternoon.

My TransAndalus ride starts in a hilly landscape and after a couple of kilometers a gate keeps unauthorized motorized traffic away. TA bikers are explicitly allowed to pass the gate. For the following kilometers I have to share the gravel road only with some hunters. Today is not enough time to finish the complete beat. Fortunately I can find a suitable camping place near a small stream.

Olive groves and hiking trails

Still in the morning I finish my first TA section which I really enjoyed. The next section starts with a small challenge: although nearly flat and running through olive groves, the roads are muddy from rain falls. The mud sticks between mud shield and tire. After a while this gets annoying, and I take the road up to Ciclana. The village compensates for the extra climb with a nice view.
In Beas de Segura already start the next section - number 3. The first part ascends on a paved road which later becomes a good dirty road. The following part leads down to the lake (Embalse de Tranco de Beas) on a hiking trail. It is quite steep and I get the impression that at least for this stretch the clockwise direction is much more convenient than the main direction.

The camping site has already closed, but I have luck: the proprietors are on the ground by chance and they let me stay over night. They even find a can of beer and some bread somewhere in a store room. During the night I share the complete camping site only with a tom cat.

Autumn and a night at a Refugio

I leave the camping place through the side entrance. The first kilometers of this day are next to the lake and foggy. After I have passed Hornos the sun comes out and a solitary, gently rising road brings me up to a nice viewpoint. There the route leaves the road, leads down and then follows a small stream. The cottonwood trees cause a feeling of indian summer. Have they only be planted to delight the eye of the traveller?

Section 2 ends in Pontòn Alto, and there is a last chance to grab some food. The next part is quite solitary and there will be no food supply. Over night I stay at a Refugio. It is very pleasant although the open fires have left a special odor and the waste disposal might have a second thought. The night is clear and dark, showing many stars.

La Sierra de Segura

Todays ride starts in the Sierra de Segura, a landscape which the road book describes as moon like. After a while the green comes back. And the mud. It is that sticky that it totally blocks my tires and I have to remove the mud shields. Together with a starting fever and occasional rain the fun factor decreases. When I finally reach paved road in the late afternoon, I had been thinking seriously about testing a suspension saddle. Nonetheless I have rated this section with 5 stars for its solitude and variety. By the way there is a nice map with the ratings.

To Granada on roads

In Pozo Alcón I had to stay for several days to get over a stomach flu. But the timing was good: it was raining much anyway and when I continued my ride the sun came back. From there I am not further following the TA since I want to visit Granada. It is about 115 km away - by car on the motorway. For me it will be about 150 kilometers. While I was first annoyed about that injustice, the day turned out quite enjoyable. Sunny, little traffic, nice landscape and the kilometers melting away. Nonetheless I do not reach Granada before darkness. A pity because I can only get a glimpse of the Sierra Nevada in the twilight.

From Granada I finish my Trans España with the final trip to Málaga.

Valdepenas_Granada_1.GPX (450 km, 5 Tage)