[NSR] A week in Spain with a rental bike
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Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:06 am quote
The topic seemed to arouse interest from several MV members, so I'll share a short report here.

I spent the week 15 in Spain with a rental bike.

First, I had no previous experience on renting a bike in Spain. I've been in Spain many times, both for holidays and business. I don't speak Spanish as such, but manage a few words.

I have one personal limitation what comes to bikes: I'm a shorty. I also have a bit of bad shoulder... and some smaller issues with my back and wrists... so I'm comfortable only with a quite neutral riding position.

I knew I'd like to explore mostly small (paved) roads and those famous Spanish "white villages"...but would need to do a few bits of faster roads too. Put all this together, and my bike preference was a smallish (twin) BMW GS or something similar.

My first plan was to fly to Seville and make the trip from there. It turned out really difficult to find a good/ reliable feeling bike rental company around Seville, so instead of wasting more time into no-reply enquieries and such, I made a plan B. Start from Malaga, which handles more tourists and have better offering of rentals. In addition to the places I wished to explore, I was set to Southern Spain due to the time of year and weather - not too hot, but not too rainy either.

I asked rental advice in the ADVrider forum. I did got some, and this together with my own research pointed me towards a rental company called IMTbike. They had given prompt and clear answers to all my queries. They were not the cheapest one, but seemed to be pros and having been in the business for awhile. They had a wide selection of BMWs to offer, main location in Madrid, but a major one also in Malaga. Just 2 kms from the Malaga airport. So I made a deal with them - a BMW F750GS. Asked also for a lower seat, which was offered as a no-cost option. Two side panniers and a top box to make it a decent mule. And a GPS. The deal included "basic" insurances and I had also a separate travel insure for myself.

I had a limited time-frame to use for my vacation and direct flights between Helsinki, Finland and Malaga. So I decided to travel light and also to minimize risks of getting my luggage lost. I had one large, 30L Riega motorcycling backpack and a separate helmet carrier bag (went as a handbag in the plane, under the seat in front of me) - holding all my stuff for the week. Stuff meaning socks, underware, shirts....I did not have much. I wore my riding pants, jacket and shoes during the flights. Well, actually only the pants - kicked the heavy shoes off and donned the jacket immediately when in the plane. 4,5 hours flight, a bit too heavy pants to be really comfortable, but not that bad either. The gear was a good conversation piece with the fellow passangers...

The IMTbike premises were easy to locate. They had a huge selection of bikes there, many of them brand new models. Mine had about 100kms in the odometer! With the low seat, panniers and GPS as agreed. Super friendly service, check of the bike, my riding license (you'll need both your original and international if from outside EU) and then I was on the road.

The deal included "basic" insurances and I had also a separate travel insure for myself.

Well, before that I re-packed: Inside the backpack, I had my all stuff packed into smaller, waterproof "dry bags". I distributed these and the helmet bag to the bike's storage boxes, ending up with an empty backpack on my shoulders. Nice, really nice.

I toyed around small roads towards Torremolinos to get a feeling of the bike without much traffic - and to get a lunch....

IMG_20190409_130215__01__01.jpg
First kilometers on the way to a lunch, Torremolinos coastal road.

Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:09 am quote
Fast forward... I was truly lucky with the weather. It rained a few drops at the first day and after that is was either sunny (mostly) or half cloudy. I did not go to any extreme hights on the mountains, but a bit higher than the sea level. Up there air was perfect, warm but fresh. My core-tex riding gear was in it's element. I made some zig-zagging to the coastal area too, but it was a bit too warm in the gear outside the actual riding... something like +21-22 degrees Celsius and sunny.

The bike was an absolute gem. I've ridden this model a few hours before, so I was expecting it to be. A short ride along a 120km/h route, cruising easily, like a larger bike. Mountain twisties, really flickable and sure footed. Tiny roads and even tinier alleys inside the "white villages" - easy. It is not a light bike, with around 225kg weight, but that felt only when the bike was stationary.

I had booked the lodgings beforehand. The idea was that if weather turned bad or I just got tired, I could take a quick, short route to the next destination. Or, if I wished so, I could easily multiply the distance with de-tours.

I tried to minimize time spend in "2-number" roads and avoided fast toll roads alltogether. My target was "3 or even 4 number" routes, i.e. the smaller ones. I did end-up to some really small ones, but quickly learned to avoid those too- if the road width equals to a small car width AND it does not really have any solid shoulders, it gets a bit too complicated in a rare case of meeting traffic...

IMG_20190409_153757_01__01.jpg
One of the "3 number" roads.



Last edited by RRider on Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:16 am quote
Up in the mountains the small twisty roads often had 20 km/h speed limits in the tight spots, and a lot of 40km/h. This translates to a short distance travelled per hour, something to keep in mind. There are not too many places to stop in many of the mounting twisty roads, but I stopped almost always when possible, just to suck in the scenery, fresh air - and often quietness.

My overnight pit-stop tactics proved to be great for me. I think the shortest distance I rode in a day was about 50-60 kms - just because I felt that rather than riding I'd go one of these white villages and enjoy a sunny day there and do a bit of walking. I did have thin trousers and a light fleece jacket packed with me, so no need to wear core-tex in the local evening tapas table...

IMG_20190410_151628__01.jpg
Riding is fun, but so is the time in-between: the bike is parked and time for... late lunch.

Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:22 am quote
I found a motorcycle to be the perfect vehicle to explore the tiny mountain villages. In some places even locals didn't try to go by car. Also, parking space was often very limited, as for some reason the ancient builders did not think about this... but this was no issue with a bike: I just left it somewhere where it did not cause trouble to anyone.

One word about Spanish traffic. I found it easier on a bike than I would have tought. This is a bit hard to explain, but I'll try: In e.g. Italy, it often feels that people are driving as to compete with each other. In Spain, it feels more like people just like to ride fast, not compete with each other. Most of the time I rode like a sissy, but this was not an issue. Folks passed by without agression, leaving polite space for me. No much rear-end sniffing either... much more polite than in Finland! I also signalled faster drivers to pass by at the smaller routes, this was clearly appreciated. If a road sign said 40km/h, most locals seemed to drive around 60km/h, etc....

There was quite a lot of traffic in the larger roads especially, no denying that - so not necessarily a place for an absolute beginner either.

Gas stations were plenty and easy to find. Self service and paid at the cash register, at least the ones I happened to visit. Not that the new BMW consumed much.

IMG_20190409_191705__01.jpg
BMW went through this with no problems, I just needed to have strong faith to the GPS...

Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:25 am quote
Overall I'm extremely pleased with the trip. Had good luck with many things and did not make any big mistakes. Had some funny moments when the navigator decided to go grazy, but as I was not traveling with a tight schedule, this was more amusing than a nuisance. I had a tad too warm clothes - but on the good side, never felt cold. I would have been fully water proof - but it didn't rain. Can't blame that to be a misfortune either. Washing machine had some sweaty gear to handle when I returned....

IMG_20190409_192732__01.jpg
Plenty of these on the Spanish mountains. This village looked through an opening of an ancient cave.

Molto Verboso
Xmax 300
Joined: 02 Jul 2016
Posts: 1258
Location: Adelaide
Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:26 pm quote
Terrific report, would have joined you if I had 6 months notice. Was it a round trip i.e Malaga - Malaga , was accommodation hotels, airbnb, etc ? What about overnight security for the bike? I have a tendency to hire safety gear with the bike as it takes too much room in the plane as i only have hand luggage.
Addicted
2016 LXV 150 ie, 1978 Vespa P125, 2019 Piaggio Liberty 150
Joined: 06 Jul 2016
Posts: 507
Location: central Illinois USA
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:18 pm quote
Thank you, great photos and a really enjoyable reading. I am glad you had a really good holiday and shared it with us.
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2686
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:56 pm quote
Wait, what -- only five pictures?? Danos mas hombre!!

Been waiting on this report and stoked it all went so well. Man, those blue skies look so great. When I move there we'll do this together.

So...are you now tempted to trade in that retro British character for some slick Austrian engineering?

Any chance you have a map of your route?
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:52 am quote
Sledge wrote:
Terrific report, would have joined you if I had 6 months notice. Was it a round trip i.e Malaga - Malaga , was accommodation hotels, airbnb, etc ? What about overnight security for the bike? I have a tendency to hire safety gear with the bike as it takes too much room in the plane as i only have hand luggage.
Good questions:

Yes, it was a round trip, Malaga-Malaga. It does limit feasible routes a bit, but made everything else really easy for me.

Accommodations - I should have written about this. The last night I spend in Torremolinos, as I returned the bike and my plane left early next morning. It's about 15-20min taxi drive from Torremolinos to both the Malaga airport and IMTbike office, so quite handy.

I ended up booking bed& breakfast / small hotel - type of accommodations. At this time of the year they are quite nicely priced, and provided basic services. Like in a 2 star "hotel", where an elderly Spanish lady did everything from reception to cooking... we had a cozy breakfast, just two of us, she making an omelette and as she didn't speak anything else than Spanish and I don't do that very much, we mainly watched mountains from on open, large window and Spanish soap series from a small telly... with some random words here and here.

Bike security: I discussed this with the IMDbike folks. As I stayed in the small villages, they thought I should do fine without any extra locks. I have to admid that once, when the closest parking spot for the night was about 100m upwards from the place I stayed, basically on the side of a road, I was quite eager to see what I will find in the morning... but no problems. According to the IMTbike guys advice, I took the side panniers off for the night.

IMG_20190410_143320__01.jpg
View from my tiny balcony of the 2-star hotel...

IMG_20190410_212400.jpg
... compensated nicely what it lacked in the heating department.



Last edited by RRider on Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:52 am; edited 3 times in total
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:53 am quote
maggiegirl wrote:
Thank you, great photos and a really enjoyable reading. I am glad you had a really good holiday and shared it with us.
Thank you!
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:01 am quote
tdrake wrote:
Wait, what -- only five pictures?? Danos mas hombre!!

Been waiting on this report and stoked it all went so well. Man, those blue skies look so great. When I move there we'll do this together.

So...are you now tempted to trade in that retro British character for some slick Austrian engineering?

Any chance you have a map of your route?


IMG_20190416_215847.jpg
I don't know if I'm a lousy photographer.. well, I actually am... but all the nice landscapes flatten in the pictures. This one was spectacular live...

Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:04 am quote
tdrake wrote:
Wait, what -- only five pictures?? Danos mas hombre!!

Been waiting on this report and stoked it all went so well. Man, those blue skies look so great. When I move there we'll do this together.
Be carefull, I'll remember this....
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:13 am quote
tdrake wrote:
So...are you now tempted to trade in that retro British character for some slick Austrian engineering?

Any chance you have a map of your route?
Unfortunately I don't have the route - heck, with the in-situ decisions I made, I hardly could repeat it myself... I used the BMW's navigator mainly to find my way to roughly to the direction I was going + find my accommodations.

I rode my Triumph today the first time in 6 months... it was interesting to notice, that although it weights only about 20kg less than the BMW I had, it feels light Well, let's say lighter....

IMG_20190416_202911.jpg
Just put the battery into this today first time since winter...BMW is good, but this is NICE...

Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 5159
Location: Downtown Toronto
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:15 am quote
Thanks for sharing, the pics look awesome! Just beautiful.

I'd love for my wife and I to get away like that but can't for a few years yet as we have a business to babysit so stay in the province. Still we've rented 3 cottages so far for the summer and maybe a 4th in the fall. I will have the Ural for the first cottage rental in Prince Edward County and there will be plenty of off-roading. I'll post picture for sure of that adventure. I will be taking a 2 day off road training course before we go as that can't hurt.
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:25 am quote
Harbinger wrote:
Thanks for sharing, the pics look awesome! Just beautiful.

I'd love for my wife and I to get away like that but can't for a few years yet as we have a business to babysit so stay in the province. Still we've rented 3 cottages so far for the summer and maybe a 4th in the fall. I will have the Ural for the first cottage rental in Prince Edward County and there will be plenty of off-roading. I'll post picture for sure of that adventure. I will be taking a 2 day off road training course before we go as that can't hurt.
Sounds great! Both the cottages and taking the Ural for some off-roading. I'll bet those will be cool pictures.
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:30 am quote
tdrake wrote:
Any chance you have a map of your route?
I'll have to add one embarrassing detail, that kind of shows where my priorities are: A colleague of mine asked how many kilometers I rode totally. Well, good question, as I actually forgot to look before returning the bike...
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2686
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:06 pm quote
RRider wrote:
tdrake wrote:
Any chance you have a map of your route?
I'll have to add one embarrassing detail, that kind of shows where my priorities are: A colleague of mine asked how many kilometers I rode totally. Well, good question, as I actually forgot to look before returning the bike...
Actually, in my book that speaks well of you in this day and age; we obsess so much about data -- and for good reason; it serves us well! -- but you were on vacation after all and if the numbers or maps etc. ain't going to give you more pleasure, screw 'em and enjoy the view.

Of course as a math-challenged humanities professor, I'm already biased toward that opinion, but, still.

Glad the Triumph still speaks to you! It took Odysseus 19 years of whoring around to realize he was happiest with Penelope, so I like to think the perfect vacation leaves us happy to return home.
Moto Giro Titan
2009 GTS 250 Super Lucrezia Borgia, 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada, Little Big Red
Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 2476
Location: Carrollton, Kentucky
Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:52 am quote
Thanks for a cool report from one of my favorite places! When Tom moves there, I'll be over to see him plenty!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 5159
Location: Downtown Toronto
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:43 am quote
RRider wrote:
Harbinger wrote:
Thanks for sharing, the pics look awesome! Just beautiful.

I'd love for my wife and I to get away like that but can't for a few years yet as we have a business to babysit so stay in the province. Still we've rented 3 cottages so far for the summer and maybe a 4th in the fall. I will have the Ural for the first cottage rental in Prince Edward County and there will be plenty of off-roading. I'll post picture for sure of that adventure. I will be taking a 2 day off road training course before we go as that can't hurt.
Sounds great! Both the cottages and taking the Ural for some off-roading. I'll bet those will be cool pictures.
Thanks. I'm now thinking I will head up to Manitoulin Island when I get the Ural. I'm going to take 4 or 5 days away from everything and riding the Island sounds good for an engine break in. The ride up there is about a 3 1/2 hour run up on a 2 lane highway with very few turns so should be fine once I get my sea legs so to speak with operating a hack. I'm also sure strapping the Ural down for a ferry ride will be way easier than a 2 wheeled motorcycle.
Ossessionato
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2686
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:35 am quote
wmak wrote:
Thanks for a cool report from one of my favorite places! When Tom moves there, I'll be over to see him plenty!
You're on!

And you may not have to wait too long, as I recently scored a teaching exchange in Bibao for spring semester 2021.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8436
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:09 am quote
tdrake wrote:
wmak wrote:
Thanks for a cool report from one of my favorite places! When Tom moves there, I'll be over to see him plenty!
You're on!

And you may not have to wait too long, as I recently scored a teaching exchange in Bibao for spring semester 2021.
*Ahem* Me too! Me too!

Great trip and nice photos RRider. You've set me off dreaming....
Molto Verboso
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 1815
Location: Finland
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:46 am quote
fledermaus wrote:
tdrake wrote:
wmak wrote:
Thanks for a cool report from one of my favorite places! When Tom moves there, I'll be over to see him plenty!
You're on!

And you may not have to wait too long, as I recently scored a teaching exchange in Bibao for spring semester 2021.
*Ahem* Me too! Me too!

Great trip and nice photos RRider. You've set me off dreaming....
Thanks!

We'd better start practising those group riding skills then...
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1461
Location: Minneapolis USA
Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:24 am quote
Great Story - Great Photos.
RRider,

You are the best. Thanks for sharing Spain.

Bob Copeland
Riding weather is back to Frost Bite Falls MN
Rallies Europe 2016   Vespa Wasp Pin Badges   Yelcome Leather Top Cases and Roll Bags for Piaggio Vespa PX LX LXV GTS GTV
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