Guest Blogger Ashley recently spent two weeks at TdM, and a lot of time cyclying the environs of VnG .. Here's what he says....
If like me you like to look at a map to work out a route then the nearest ones to the Ordnance survey 1:25 000 are ICGC Mapa topographic de Catalunya (Capitals Comarcals). Maps 41, 40, 27 & 37. However the immediate environs of Vilanova (20km approx. all round) are covered by No.41. I couldn’t find them on Stanford’s website but was able to buy them from a local bookshop Llorens Llibres on Carrer De Sant Sebastia.
Bike hire is available in town TACTIC bikes, ( there is another bike shop Esporta Prieto, but I don’t know if they hire), cost depends how many days you wish to hire it. For a carbon framed compact I paid 40 euros a day for 4 days. So it may be worth looking into box hire and airport carriage charges to see how that compares with taking your own bike out. Mark also has the name of another local company but as yet no one has used that either.
I stayed on roads, however the town is surrounded by the Garraf National parks which do have ample mountain bike trails. I saw as many mountain bikers out as road bikers. So I reckon the area is well served with off road routes. I created three courses for my Garmin App prior to going out, one of which took me off road. So it's worth checking a real map rather relying on Garmin connect/map my ride only.
The roads locally all have good surfaces. Motorists give you a wide berth and in places there are signs showing a 1.5 metre gap to be taken when passing cyclists. The Spanish do stick to this in the countryside, but not so much in town. I saw a cycle club out on a run that were completely blocking the lane 4 abreast and the motorists stayed behind them! I can’t imagine that happening in the UK!
The hardest part was finding to correct road out of town!! There are a number of routes that can be taken via small inland towns, and distances depending on what you wish to do. I did 25-30mile routes out via Castellat, Canyelles and Sitges. These routes took approx. two hours so I wasn’t away from ‘er indoors too long! Longer loops are possible via Olivella; Vilafranca Del Penedes. Just depends on how long you want to be out. Try to avoid going into any
Urbanizations. I got lost in one, they are like rabbit warrens and what may look like a main route on a map through them, is not so obvious when riding through.
The coast road between Sitges and Castelldefels is a great ride but is a there and back ride, rather than a loop. The climbs are not difficult, nothing worse than 7% maximum, for no more than 50 metres, the majority of climbs average at about 5%. So were all manageable with the compact chainset on my hire bike.
Another ride you can do is the climb to the monastery at Monserrat, I only came down it in a car, but it would be a great ride I think. Monserrat is approx. 1 hour’s drive inland and well worth a visit. For the ride you would need to park in Monistrol De Monserrat for the climb. There is another road that sort of skirts the mountain approx. halfway up. The views are stunning and I think the descent would be exhilarating if like me you are a bit of a nutter when going downhill!
So, all in all the area is a great place to ride.
Ashley also took part in the Girona cycle race previously mentioned in the Blog.