Fairly uneventful day today – I started out following the gorge out of Ayna, which had a tricky bit of singletrack at one stage, but then was back in rolling hills and on tarmac. Today marks the time I really do leave the mountains and start to move into lower hills and plains. I saw many small hamlets which had been deserted, but the land was still being farmed: It was lovely rolling countryside and I cycled through miles of orchards again – almonds & apricots mainly. Also had a couple of entomology and geology moments (see video).
I stayed over in Hellin, which is a fairly large town compared to the places I have been in recently. It has 3 bike shops! I haven’t seen a bike shop since Niguelas (and even that was in the next village). So it was like a flood after a drought. They are;
- Bicicletas El Hellinero, on Calle de Ramón de Campoamor,
- Gembike Racing on Calle Poeta Mariano Tomás
- a new one (don’t know it’s name) on Carratera Murcia
I went to Gembike for help with my cassette, which had come loose and to replace the spare link I had used when my chain broke. They were very helpful, had loads of kit, and were the first place I had ever seen which had one of those boards for hanging tools, with the shape of the tools behind, AND had all the right tools hanging in the right places!
I stayed over in a hotel called Reina Victoria, where the manager was a keen cyclist too. He showed me to his patio where I could clean my bike and within the bounds of my limited Spanish, we discussed the problems with my freewheel and cassette. If you’re a biker, this is the place to stay.
Check out the video diary below.