A cycling guidebook should be inspiring – and Cicerone’s new guide to cycling The Ruta Via de la Plata through western Spain does exactly this.
The book is a comprehensive, step–by-step guide to a 924km route from Seville to the coastal city of Gijon. It is described as a “pilgrimage variant to Santiago de Compostela”.
The The Ruta Via de la Plata is also a long-distance walk that would take weeks to complete. By bike, the author of the book, John Hayes, suggests it is manageable in two weeks.
There are options for both road and off-road alternatives, with the latter suitable for gravel bikes.
More details: Cicerone guide to cycling The Ruta Via de la Plata
Cicerone publish lovely small and compact books. They are the ideal size for travelling with and easy to pack in a pocket or a small space in a bike bag.
The book has exact details of the route, day by day, which is great to read ahead of the cycle tour.
The author reports that navigation is not tricky because there are plenty of waymarkers but for peace of mind there is also a link to GPX files so you can follow the route on a GPS app.
Route descriptions: The guide includes stage-by-stage route descriptions, 1:150,0000 colour mapping, elevation profiles and ride planners to show where riders can swap from the off-road to road routes. There is advice on equipment, travel and transporting your bike, alongside a list of accommodation contacts and a useful Spanish glossary.
Main towns visited include: Seville, Zafra, Mérida, Cáceres, Zamora, León, Oviedo and Gijón, plus Ourense and Santiago de Compostela on an extension route, the Camino Sanabrés
Route grading: The route follows empty roads and includes gentle climbs, so it should be accessible to a wide range of bikes and cyclists. On and off-road versions can be combined on a touring, hybrid or gravel cycle trip.
Must sees: The books has plenty of details about places to visit en route. These include Gijón and eight Unesco world heritage sites: Seville, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, León, Zamora, Oviedo, and Santiago de Compostela.
The traverse of Spain also takes in the central plateau (meseta) and the unique dehesa landscape, as well as the Cantabrian mountains.
You can buy the book as a paperback and an e-book (the latter might be handier when travelling, although I do like a hard copy of guidebooks for my bookshelves.
Buy Cicerone guide to cycling The Ruta Via de la Plata priced £16.95. (I receive a small commission for sals of the book through my website.)
My thoughts: Cicerone guide to cycling The Ruta Via de la Plata
I have been hankering for a bike-packing trip in Europe and The Ruta Via de la Plata might just be it. I am keen to test a new gravel bike and I enjoy the simplicity of bike-packing.
The route looks perfect for a fairly easy going two-week tour and I like that the waymarking is easy to find (mostly) plus there is the addition of GPX files to download.
The author, John Hayes, is an experienced cyclist and the book is testament to this. There is a ton of detail packed into the handy-sized publication.
As I said at the start of the review, I like a guidebook to be inspiring, and certainly the Cicerone guide to cycling The Ruta Via de la Plata offers this.