menorca gr bikepacking adventure

Day one, started pretty stressful having to work a way of getting the bike built and dropping the empty bike bag off at the railway station. Where could I build it, how would I get around with a loaded bike and empty bike bag. After chatting with the air&b host and lots of Google translation she offered to store the bag there for me and I would return for my last night there, phreww big relief, sorted, and I could build the bike in her living room. I don’t think she understood what that involved but watched on with amazement, chuckling at my fumbling ways, as most people do when watching me do things, 40 mins later done, and time for breakfast, off down to local for a traditional, McDonald’s, breakfast along plama main road, in a traditional Spanish cosmetpolitan way mcd’s had provided a covered seating area along the pavement, sweet, so breakfast in the sun, only spoilt by a string of abusive texts, and a few that’s were welcome from friends. Breakie out of the way and thoughts turn to the route and getting out to a start point, back to the digs grab bike a goodbye to the host and I’m off, shite, have I got everything, run through everything in my mind, yes, OK let’s go train station. One set of concern dealt with onto the next the route, after badgering the information clerk 20 times and changing my route and destination twice due to availability of refuges along the route, I finally decided on the most northerly start and work way south, utilising the refuges as much as possible, 2.5 hour wait for a bus as no trians go where I wanted I load the bike in the underside of the bus, securing it so it does not roll around we are off. Once out of Palma and I see for the first time the mountain range I will be straddling and instantly my palms began to sweat, they look big and lots of them, with very steep sides, if karma exists for the shite I have pulled these last week’s then I have a feeling I am going to feel the pain going up and down these on a loaded bike. I think about doing the easier 222 and although it woukd be pretty there is no accommodation shelters or places to camp along the way, the police apparently are on their game on people camping along it so, screw it suck it up jules, don’t go up anything you woukdnt come down and all should be OK. So my next set of concerns are the shelters will I get a place in them? Is it pre book only as Internet states? What if it is, will I be able to find places out of the way to bivy? Anyhow arrival at the most northerly part of the island is the start of my journey and with fading light I get on it quickly only 6 k but I don’t know where the shelter is, put my foot down and hammer it out in no time, finding the shelter and getting a bed with no worries, another concern dealt with, drop bike and gear off and head into the town centre for a romantic meal for 1, spoiling myself tonight, Exped dried meals from tomorrow. Yay. Only concern now is karma and those very steep sided mountains. Peace to anyone who reads this crap #imaknob #ilovespain #hashtagbollocks

 

 

Day 2, really you want to read this dribble? Just look at the pics I probably would. What a mixed bag of a day, so last night karma is on my side as the place I end up having my romantic meal for one at happened to be run by a guy who is a Mountain biker and bike packer, I get chatting bikes and I tell him what I am planning he shakes his head and with concern in his eye brows tells me, no this is a bad idea, large sections are impassible by a loaded bike, possible with lots of effort if the bike is very light and can be carried on the shoulder for considerable distances over big rocks and up very steep inclines that require hands normally. Bugger so we spend the next 2.5 hours pouring over maps and working put a plan, that kinda ends in palma, top guy, so with trip planned and story’s told.whilst he runs his bar, I say my goodbyes and promise to report in at the end and depart a happy boy.
So this morming I ditch a load of papers associated with my original plan and head off to do the second section which he had waved his hand back and to and said could be done mmm kimda. So with the sun in the blue sky I head off, and it soons becomes apparent that whilst it says bikes can do the cr121 it’s ain’t going to be easy, before even hitting the mountains I have to scale sections of track which have been washed away and sty’s but doable I’m confident, then I hit the mountains and well it’s steep and boulder stewn, hikeabike it is, still doable, I continue on and instead of improving it deteriorates soon it’s a scramble with a bike, but it’s gotta end right!! I am then confronted by 3 guys on big downhill bikes, full face, pads everything, shit, for I know then it is only going to get worse, their eyes say frigging muppet, haha. For those who know Coed y brenin mbr imagine the very worst bits x them by 3 now load a bikepacking bike up with everything you need for a week and push it up 600m of it, constant, push apply brakes hold on, pull self up,.and repeat for 2 hours, nice. After 2 more 12ft sty’s and at 1.15 I had a full on COSH (collapse of sense of humour) a break a talk to myself on why I am here again, 2 packets of biscuits and I set off again, stopping when the beat of.blood pumping through my head gets really loud, waiting for it to subside and continuing. Eventually the saddle of the mountain is reached and the decent begins fortunately it is a lot easier going than the way up. I arrive at the first refuge at 2.15 am hour later than I expected and quick coffee and decide to continue on to the next,.huge decent down c221 camilar and then some tarmac I’m feeling good the stooge 
Stooge Cycles has been amazing as usual, I spent a good amount of time wondering why I brought the Norco when the stooge really is this good. So eventually I get to alvero and the light is fading fast I spot the mountain for which the next refuge is situated on top of.and shite it’s huge and steep, I head into town to try and find accommodation instead of heading up there,if the trail is anything like what I encountered today it would take hours to get up. After asking around in town amd trying airb&b&b I stumble on.a bar owner who speaks some English, bar owners here seem like the shizz and he springs into action ringing around, no one has anywhere, I wait to see of the airb&b get back to me, no show so bar owner asks neighbours if a apartment upstairs is available after waiting it becomes evident the owners don’t want to let it for a night. Karma once again is on my side and after extinguishing everything the girl at the bar says I cam stay at hers, mint the Spanish here are so helpful, and now I sit in another bar panning my ride tomorrow all is good and karma is been both good and bad today. Peace to anyone who is so bored as to read this utter rambling a of an idiot on a bike. #dontpverrideyourday#whataloadofcrap #spanishbarliferules

 

Day 3
Another round of sunshine and punishment. Only read if you are one step from self abuse and need something to focus on, at any other stage crack on with life even coration Street has to be more interesting than read this, right!!! I’m onky writing it because I have nothing else to do and tonight’s refuge is a good hour from the bars. OK so last night worked out real well, the sweet girl who put me up I realised this morming had given up her own bedroom, although I slept on the floor anyhow so could have slept anywhere in the apartment. I woke this morming to banging around and not wanting to believe it was time to get up,having only got to sleep at 2.30, I scrambled up thinking she would want me out if she was going to work, packed bedding and gathered all my bags, entered the living room and my guest was snoring away on a matress on the floor, TV still playing. I got bike out down the stairs as quietly as I could, had I know it wasn’t her I would have stayed and slept longer, doh must have been neighbours. Anyhow I left her some money what I woukd have paid for the refuge and took note of her address to write and say thanks again. So I’m off after a quick breakfast at a local bar. Today I have to go over the mountains to get to the coast, via the soller col pass, everyone who viewed my route last night sucked air in and made the international sign for up, yeah I was concerned after about 2 hours I arrive at the Base, eat some biscuits and drink a load of water, I watch as quite a few Road bikers whizz past from the col and I suck it in and head off, I had been worried about how hard this could be having heard peoples responses but it was not anywhere near as bad as I expected taking nowhere near as long as I thought, road bikers I seen on way up and down all greeted me, one even offered me water at the top, the last few days roadies had not said hello or anything so maybe these had respect for me doing it on a adventure bike. The stooge 
Stooge Cycles did exceptional again proving itself as capable on tarmac as on trail, however it did develop an annoying squeak from crappie avid brake that sounded like family guys Peter griffins laugh. So with the col nailed I began the decent and took in scenery and the beautiful sound of plus tyres humming and hope hub clicking, sweet meant I was moving quick without any effort. I so wanted a cornish pasty and fizzy traditional lemonade but know this wasn’t going to happen. I hit soller at lunch time and enjoy some food, no pasties though. After lunch I have 2 options take the nice easy Road via soller port to the refuge or take the Cr221 the guy at the bar had said not possible, but really as he done everything shall I try and see if he was exaggerating, screw it Cr221 it is, what a fecking knobhead I am, why do I do this all the time, “nope you can’t do that” OK thanks and then I do it, stupid does stupid is. It’s a mission starts again okish, yeah it’s a hikeabike over shimmy rock path, but if this is how it is I can hack it, it gets worse and worse to the point where it’s lift the front wheel, apply brakes, pull self up and repeat shite shite shite, this goes on over a hour and a half, eventually I get to the top and the track levels off to what I expected the Cr221 to be all along, idiot, then when it starts to go down it reverts to the same as on the way up, why didn’t I take the road, after riding as much downhill is I could I eventually arrived at the refuge soaking wet dripping in sweat ? frustrated and passed with myself, I had imagined a grassy decent to the refuge that I could have taken some nice big sea shots from, didn’t happen. I check in drown a litre of water and sit on the bench outside with a ice cream, type 2 fun for sure, a quick shower and hydrate my Exped food and a wonder down to the cliff edge to eat it overlooking soller port whilst the sun goes down, sweet, peace and happiness. So despite pushing my loaded bike up and over and back down a Mountain and getting to ride up and over a pass that is the type that top gear would travel to a good long day of sun and stupidity. #nomorepushingmybikeupanddownmountainsfornoreson

 

 

Day 4 in the big up and down island. So I have a hour and half to wait for the refuge to open, that’s my excuse for writing this crap. My day of laughter and joy started at 3am, sharing a small room with 20 odd other people chances of one of them being a snorer was high, unfortunately for me it was the guy in the bed next to me. I was rudely awaken at 3 by a sound similar to someone dragging a bag of rotting timber over a corrugated roof, great. Although I’m used to sharing dorms with guys this muppet was a snoring legend, I stuffed everything I had at hand over my head but it didn’t drown the racket, right headphones in Ricky geves show, always sends me off, no even though I.maxed the volume I could not drown his shite. So I lay there and finally at around 5.45 it subsided and I began to doze, ace at least a few hours sleep. At 6 an alarm goes off 3 beds down, tw#t and guess what it’s 1 of the snorers mates and the 3 of them are up, obviously wanting an early start. Real switched and considerate guys hadn’t bothered to ready there bags last night, no pack them at 6am when everyone os trying to sleep, 30 mins later they leave the room and the last one out is generous enough to gently amd slowly close the door behind him, even though everyone was now fully awake. #ankers. So I drag myself up and get in the shower I am not a happy boy, kit bagged and bike packed I’m off into the port for breakie. Sit on the harbour and enjoy the morming sun. I know today os going to be another tough one, I have 3 choices 1 do as the guy in the recommended and head back into Palma via bus and then go along the coast road. 2 drag my bike back over the Cr221 I came from yesterday or 3 go along the coast road that the bar guy had said I will not make as the roads are narrow and vehicles and busses take people out on it regularly, and it was full off big climbs. So given the options and the levels of my own stupidity which do you think dumb arse bozo took, dur 3 of course, I look at the map and think the contours don’t look so bad (1:7500 scale) it will be fine, and if a bus takes me out at least I went doing something rather than rotting clogged arteries. All went well I topped out at what I thought was the main climb of the day within a hour and a half, I lost some height and then gained some, this is OK, when I heard a vehicle coming from behind and the road was narrow I pulled in and over. Then after some dias town or something I was feeling confident then I began to climb and climb, it’s gotta end right? (this is going to be the most used thought for this trip) after about 8k it started to go down, needing to drop some fat kids at the pool I called in at a cafe. I had a lemonade and waited until my legs stopped to tremble. From here I had 2 choices to the next town and site of my nights refuge 1 go around the valley I could tell from the map I would be climbing 100m or 2 go the coast route where I could not work out the height gain. I am a idiot of course I took 2 and ended climbing around 400m. At the top I encounter another couple of.roadies lycra clad looking on is dismay as the haggard guy on a fully loaded bike tops out, haha close your mouth buddy, flys a plenty here, I chuckle and soak up the downhill, switchback after switchback I crave my xt brakes and vow to ditch these pieces of shite upon my return, so I arrived in town and the refuge is locked up shite, after a couple of attempted calls on my piece of crap phone I head into town and try ringing no.amswer, a email, thank God I have Internet access and all is set for 4pm. Off to the spar for lunch, garlic mayo, bread, salami, pastries and carton of orange allow less than 5 euro ace, and so I sit here in this beautiful square writing this dribble of yet another day in the life someone that does not seem capable of taking the easy option, anyone would think I like it but I really dont, I just don’t know what comes over me#iseemsreallygoodattakingthehardpath #lovemystooge

 

 

Mountain accidentally biked over and digs for tonight, lessons for next comedy bikepacking adventure bigger scale map and GPS. Accidentally biking or pushing loaded bike over mountains is not the shizz, it ain’t rad or remotely funny at the time any how

Day 5 uneventful day, just great weather, great riding, beautiful place, wonderful people. Lesson of the day “Walish” (the Welsh accent). So headed off this morning an entirely Road day to get to my next stop andratx or something, I knew there was two big climbs but couldn’t work out how big. Woke to a message informing me that despite being pissed off by snorer the night before and vervallisng it to fellow travellers in the refuge, I had in fact spent the night snoring ? haha funny not funny, sorry!!! ( ¡Lo siento!Judith Bojertt) anyhow headed off and smashed the first half of the route in no time, onto the second and what I thought to be the last mountain of the trip. Within 10mins of ascending the Peter griffin squeak turned to a grind and scrape, o no pull over after taking the wheel off, initially I thought bearings had gone in the hub but fortunately after putting Exped specs on figured our it was return clip in the caliper had dislodged and gone into pads. Easy fix rip it out, guess now woukd be a good idea to set the front brake that’s not been working, doh. Brake sorted and off, up and over, got to the top and got to see the ocean in the distance from a really sweet spot, decided now all the climbing was over and the end was in sight I would for the first time this week have a lunch. Stopped on a pile of rocks overlooking a valley chambered out or pinnacle and ate my sandwiches. Back on the bike and believing all the climbing over o head towards the coast only I to fild there is one more mountain ramge I need to cross again. Nailed I head into my place for the evening at 1.30pm and with loads of time spare decided to bike down to the port and end the north to south trip with a dip in the sea, meet up with girl running the gr221 and finishing today and go for a paddle and watch the sum go down, sweet. Off to airb&b and host is hosting a thanksgiving meal for his friends and invites me to join them, sweet sticks a lager iny hand, which turned to several, what a ace day, they were all really hospitable and found me well jules haha, endorphins, lager, good people, new friends and sunshine perfect combination for happiness, #whataaceweek

 

Day 6 and the hardest because I know it’s the home stretch and my last day riding in this paradise. Especially difficult as met loads of really nice multi national people last night at the thanksgiving meal, all telling me how wonderful living here is. Thank you Vincent Hoonings for being a most excellent host and welcoming me to a wonderful meal with your amazing friends. But home I must go, a easy stretch today just 52k along the coast with only 860m of incline, easy chilled one, starting in andratx and heading down to the port, my mind thought about how easy it woukd be to just bike day after day and if funds permitted would I do it, I think yes without a doubt, again I have no real ties, I have a job I enjoy and is rewarding, but to what end is it?!!! #|~~ as my mind drifted I lost track of were I was on the map and took a wrong turning 3k later and 120m the road ended, doh, about turn haha, right back on track and the coast is beautiful there’s some real money here, and you can see why, the houses look like something iron-man would live in. Range rovers, etc fill the drives. As I bike East I eventually start to see and feel a change in the vibe of the places, they become more touristy and tackie, the people go from healthy looking people to withered and generously girthed, I start to encounter British people all week I have not encountered any, Germans mainly, but now they come thick and fast. As I get to the outskirts of magaluf my distaste for this part of the island grows, it’s smells and is litter and rubbish Laiden, it’s run down and scummy. As I ride I think about daffy words from the beach about parasites and chunkier Charlies, bars such promoting scum are everywhere and I’m glad I never even in my wildest clubbing days frequented anywhere like this. Up north the guy who helped me re plan my route laughed at the English and magaluf (or tagaluf as it’s know here as it’s the English girls are easy to tag, which I am guessing is like the UK tap). I had to see it for my own eyes and it was everything that I expected and the total opposite to the rest of the island. Biking on after a few more ports the money started to drift in again and as I hit Palma I witnessed the scale of the boats and yaughts, there were thousands of them, some as big as pocket battleships haha. I was told last night at dinner about how the island is wealthy and why because of the sea and yaughts the rich come here, when I seen the scale I was shocked. It’s no wonder they have contained the tasteless brits to a small sector they would not want that type messing with where the money comes from. So I head into Palma and sadly put my bike in its bag and await tomorrow’s flight, gutted, until next time it can rest.

 

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