Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Fighting the wind

By Stuart Lowe on

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Crescent moon and Venus in the pre-dawn sky

I woke before dawn. It'd be nice not to have multiple insect bites every day. I'm constantly itchy in new places. It'd also be nice if ants stopped trying to get in my tent and stuff overnight.

After a hard ride against the wind (which picked up overnight) I reached Rota in time for the 10am ferry. Except there wasn't a 10am ferry; it was Sunday. I'd forgotten. So I waited for the 11.25am ferry over to Cádiz. I got a coffee from a nearby cafe. The ticket office opened at 10.45 and it turned out the ferry was replaced by a bus service thanks to the strong winds (presumably due to Hurricane Ophelia). I can't take the bus replacement as that would be cheating. So I decided to miss Cádiz and push on against the wind.

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Windy Rota

The next hour or so after Rota I had a really tough time cycling into strong wind. It was like being in a sand blaster. I hoped this didn't continue all day.

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Cyclist statue. I don't know who this is.

I reached El Puerto de Santa Maria and found that that ferry was running. So I made it to Cádiz after all. It was cheaper too.

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Ferry over to Cádiz

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Cádiz

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Cádiz

In Cádiz I asked the Tourist Information Office for advice on cycling south out of the city. Then I found an open Carrefour Express and had lunch. I gave a homeless man one of the sandwiches I made. He turned out to be from Germany. He fed part of the sandwich to the pigeons. The bread was on the way to stale. I ate mine.

Time was getting on and so must I. Back into the heat and wind to find a mythical, bike-navigable, route south. Why are there so many motorway class roads all over the place? They are annoying.

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Leaving Cádiz next to the railway and motorway

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Looking back towards Cádiz

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Down this little side street

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Found a bike lane hidden between the tram tracks and the motorway

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Salt flats?

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It suddenly felt like another country as I crested a hill.

I hadn't gone 100km today but I had to stop. The next campsite finished its season last night. The next one after that was too far to get to in the gale before dark. The one I'd arrived at had a big closed gate though. I tried calling the number but a man answered it and when I couldn't speak in Spanish he hung up. Drat. What would I do? As I sat on the ground a car pulled up and opened the gate. I thought these people might work here. They didn't. They were campers too. Never mind. I would camp now and pay in the morning.

After putting up my tent and having a shower I discovered the reception was currently open. I handed over my passport and €10. I was official.