Cycling the Costa Blanca should be a brilliant experience. Here are some tips to help you make it unforgettable for all the right reasons!
For route suggestions, downloads and everything else you might want to know about Costa Blanca cycling, read our comprehensive ultimate guide to cycling Calpe and Costa Blanca!
1. Fitness. The best part about cycling the Calpe and Costa Blanca region are the inland mountains. The flat routes are around the coast where there’s more traffic, so you’re probably going to want to head for the hills.
As ever when cycling in hills/mountains, you’ll enjoy it more if you arrive with reasonable base fitness. Of course (part of) the purpose of being there is to build on fitness, but it will be more fun if you’re not doing it from a standing start.
2. Hiring a bike. If you want to hire a bike, you’ll need to book ahead, especially in high season for cycling, which is March to late April/mid-May.
3. Gearing. Whether hiring a bike or bringing your own, we’d suggest a compact chainset, or semi-compact at the least. It will give you flexibility on some of the fiercer gradients (a semi-compact up Cumbre del Sol was hard-going!).
4. Mechanicals. Check your bike before you tackle the mountains. Service/get it serviced if you’re at home and check your bike thoroughly if you’re hiring.
5. Pack wisely. The coastal towns all have bike shops but they’re few and far between in the hills. Plus even the bike shops in the main resorts may not stock exactly what you need if you forget something (we speak from experience…). Bring spares in case you have a mechanical. Check and double-check you’ve got everything before you leave home; our packing lists should help.
6. Fuelling. Make sure your packing includes enough water bottles and gels/bars/electrolyte tablets that you’re used to (our suggestions are here). Not fuelling properly won’t do you any favours and could be dangerous.
COSTA BLANCA CYCLING ROUTES
7. Routes. Use our route guides to help you plan your routes before you visit. Our ultimate guide to cycling Costa Blanca contains lots of ideas and information on what to expect. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for and you’re confident you can manage it. If you’re with a group it can be tempting to leave route planning to someone else, but it’s sensible to know the route, just in case you get split up/someone is ill/Garmin stops working etc.
8. Siestas. The Spanish take their siestas very seriously. Shops are open Monday-Saturday 9:30/10am to 1:30/2pm and 4:30 to 8pm. Shops may be open on a Sunday in tourist areas, but don’t rely on it. Out of town supermarkets are the exception to the rule: they’re generally open Monday to Saturday 10am to 10pm without a siesta.
9. Re-fuelling en route. In the countryside, shops are few and far between. Small villages are more likely to have a bar or restaurant. If you’re relying on one of those to re-fuel, check opening times before you leave. Also don’t assume you’ll be able to get something to take away. A sit down meal is more likely. Our route guides give some ideas for places to refuel along the way, but you’ll want to check serving times before leaving home.
10. Cold. You can cycle the Costa Blanca region throughout the year, but it won’t always be super hot, especially if you ride into the mountains. Between November and February you may well hit a cold snap and you’ll certainly want to take enough warm weather kit. Even when it’s warm, it is likely to be much colder if you’re in the shade or at the top of a mountain.
11. Hot. Conversely, July and August are likely to be very hot and sunny with little rain. Pack lots of sunscreen and water bottles. You’ll also want to plan your rides to be back by midday.
12. Highway Code. Take a look at the Spanish highway code before you set out.
13. Cash. Carry more cash with you than you would normally; most small bars in the villages in the region will not accept debit/credit cards and if you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s almost no chance of finding a cash machine!
14. Heat stroke. In summer, be conscious of the risk of heat stroke. Wear sun cream and drink plenty of water to reduce the chance of heat stroke.
15. Group rides. If you can, it’s a good idea to ride with a friend or group. That way if something goes wrong, there are people there to help you out. The bike hire section of our ultimate guide lists some of the group rides offered by bike shops in the region. At a minimum, make sure someone knows when you expect to be home and where you’re planning on riding.
Been cycling on the Costa Blanca and got some additional tips? Please comment below!