Monday, July 22, 2013

Bilbao by day and North Coast night ride

 Spent the day in Bilbao although still feeling on the brink of heatstroke with the 90+ degree temperatures and a body which had acclimated to consistent 40°, wind, and rain in Iceland.
Met up with an old Basque friend of Monica's, a wildlife/fish biologist who now spends his days surfing, climbing, biking, and evenings partying. Still working on his PhD dissertation two years after leaving Alaska,"It is hard get any work done. The waves have been great and There's a awesome party every night."   Just Relax! It's the Basque way.  

A Modern master piece with a skin of titanium;  Seeing Frank Gehry's Guggenheim has been on my bucket list for over a decade.  Took more than a few  titanium lust shots with my Merlin. 


Dual lane bike path, with clear separation from auto traffic.

The day slipped away, and our goal of being on the road by 7:00 pm to reach our goal of Sopelana Beach by a reasonable time was pushed back to 9:00 pm due to drawn out  conversation  with Pablo, some vino tinto in the park, and our first flat of the trip.  We had managed to ride for a week through volcanic debris and razor-sharp obsidian shards without a problem, but one day cycling in the city resulted in the first flat of the trip. There are worse places to change a tube; Serenaded by a Vivaldi  Concerto, we relaxed in the shade enjoying a gelato and café cortado.

 Fully embracing the Spanish lifestyle, "don't rush, just relax and enjoy, it is the way of the Basque" Pablo had lectured earlier that day. Our goal wasto be on the road by 7 PM but we didn't end up leaving until 9.  I wasn't in a hurry forgetting that the sun actually went down at this latitude.

Being on the road for a month, I put together a tool kit would provide the necessary fixes for a variety of problems, while minimizing bulk and weight. Tool kit: Crankbros multi tool, S&S coupler spanner wrench, compass, presta valve adapter, leatherman, misc hex bolts, spare brake and shift cables, P-clamp,  gorilla tape, sewing kit, heavy duty thread, Ti tire levers, zip ties, spare buckle, Tenacious Tape, Lenz road pump tube patch kit, chain lube, lithium grease for S&S threads, Phil-wood waterproof Grease, pen, and paper.
Thankfully only needing to patch a tube today and the gorilla tape to fix the quick release that self-destructed in Iceland.

Once getting the bikes sorted, I was excited for nighttime biking, for the first time in almost a year I saw the stars in their full glory and ad a chance to test out our dynamo headlamps.

Snacks on the road to save time.

Industrial sunset; our route out of the city took us through lesser traveled sections of the city for tourists like ourselves; Another advantage to touring on bicycle seeing the other facets of Bilbao, industrial park, small neighborhood concerts, government housing high-rises.


Biking through the cool darkness of the night was enjoyable, I'm glad we took our time leaving the city.  The ride was an interesting variety urban pavement, ancient cobble stones, and dirt single track on the coastal bluffs, arriving to make camp near Sopelana Beach around 2:00 am, fell asleep to the sound waves promising a cool reprieve from the morning's inevitable heat.

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