What shall I do today, or more accurately where shall I go? Being my wedding anniversary no planning could take place as I was not sure how much time would be available. So after a lovely, if not healthy, breakfast with my equally lovely wife an idea began to take shape.
Previously I have cycled to Javea and back or to Moraira and back via Calpe, however, today I thought a larger loop would be in order incorporating all three seaside destinations, perhaps including El Portet too for good measure.
As the route was mostly known there would be no need for Google Earth etc, so after a little bike prep, consisting of tyre check and some dry lube for the chain, and a Camelbak full of water for me it was time to head out.
Deciding to avoid as many of the larger roads as possible I left Senija down one of the small lanes that leads to the motorway tunnels and the trails to Gata de Gorgos. This track is classed on some maps as a road as it was always intended to be and is mostly one lane wide of hard packed gravel and soil, however, watch for the loose bits on the corners. The route winds its way along the steep-walled valley crossing under the motorway 3 times through tunnels that seem a long way out of place with the rest of the surroundings.
Once the trail turns back to tarmac we initially turn left then a few hundred metres later right onto the Gata to Lliber road. This is usually a quiet road a bit narrow in places with some blind corners so watch for car drivers who regard lane discipline as more of an advisory rule than a requirement. Along the road for a few kilometres up and over a small hill and down under a tunnel into the village of Gata de Gorgos.
Gata is a pretty village with small winding streets and a one-way system designed I'm sure just to impede progress. After a couple of wrong turns and two wrong way, one-way situations I was back on my route heading towards a small slightly downhill BMX/mountain bike track that the local kids have built with jumps and berms aplenty.
Avoiding the jumps was the plan, as I was on my own with no backup and I didn't fancy a long walk back with a broken bike or worse. However, I did enjoy trying to hit some of the berms. Dropping down the hill the obvious signs of spring/ early summer were all around as were the remnants of the recent rain in the form of thick mud.
Turn left onto the tarmac at the end up a slight hill and then right down the side of a fence onto a km long piece of single track. Right at the end and follow the road down to the dry river bed and the run along into Javea
Entering the old part of the town I headed for the dolphin roundabout in the port before turning right along the seafront. There is a new cycle path along the front built by the council about a year ago to keep the bikes off the road. Unfortunately as it is part of the pavement, joggers, walkers and children meander across not looking for cyclists doing 30-40kmph so i still use the road much to the annoyance of some car drivers. Better to slow down a few cars than knock over an unobservant child.
In the Arenal part of Javea the promanade has been refurbished over the winter and is now tiled and much smarter, a few photo's later and off we go again this time heading out of town towards Benitachell.
Benitachell was bypassed instead taking a couple of smaller roads through a couple of urbanisations to miss the traffic and head towards the El Portet area of Moraira.
El Portet is a small bay to the east of Moraira with great views and turquoise water, a lovely place to spend a day on the beach, but not today, onwards to Moraira and the coast road to Calpe. Entering Moraira from El Portet you come to a roundabout where I turned left down through the town to the seafront and beach area. Heading over to the old tower on the seafront for some pictures then onwards around the beach and back onto the road towards Calpe.
The Moraira - Calpe coast road always seems long and winding especially in the summer when the area is invaded by holiday makers, a 10 minute car journey in the winter can take 30 minutes in the summer. not a problem for me though as I plod along taking in the view and glimpses of the sea through the trees. There are plenty of small beaches along this stretch of road, most are marked with signs from the main road, but it is worth exploring if you have the time.
For me I am well into the second half of the journey now and decide not to stop, heading for Calpe seafront and maybe an ice-cream. Calpe rock or the Peñon de Ifach as it is known locally is now visible over the beachfront villas as the road winds it's way ever closer to the town. Just before Calpe proper I turn left through an urbanisation and head for the start of the promenade. In some places Calpe prom is marked as no cycling, however many people ignore the signs and as long as you are acting sensibly and giving way to walkers there is no problem.
Cycling along Calpe's east bay and then over the small hill and down to the western bay I am struck by the amount of holiday makers that are here already this year. The prom itself is still quiet enough for a steady cycle but the beach seems quite full. Not like the summer where the game of sardines springs to mind but busy none the less.
Heading out of Calpe up the hill towards the N332 and the final leg of my journey I remember the ice-cream idea, oh well too late now, so just a quick stop at the Repsol garage on the main road for a Snickers bar and to top up with water then I am heading up the hill towards Benissa. This is a bit of a long slog rather than a steep hill as it goes on for about 6km before finally reaching Benissa then it is just a quick trip across the valley to Senija and home.
What about the sunburn I hear you ask? Well that came later, having forgotten to apply sun cream before setting off and enjoying the journey i didn't notice the slight reddening. After my shower though the pinkish hue turned a bright red. A bit of after sun calmed it down, but I should know better.