Monday, February 21, 2011

Barcelona, day 1

Yesterday my wife I and arrived in Barcelona, Spain for a 9 day vacation of touring and cycling.  After meeting our temporary landlord at the apartment we rented for the duration of our stay on La Rambla & Colom overlooking Placa Reial, we wandered around a bit while trying to shake the jet lag, had a wonderful meal at Cometacinc, and went to sleep way too early.

Today, I had planned a roughly 2 hour easy ride to get used to riding around Barcelona.  Here's a link to the ride I did today.  Pictured above perched on our tiny terrace is my weapon of choice for Barcelona, a Neil Pryde Alize.

Before heading out, I went to the Boqueria, a huge food market right by our apartment, to stock up on some food.

I quickly discovered Barcelona is significantly more bike friendly than Manhattan.  Bike paths are everywhere, cars, even the police, actually respect them, and people don't randomly cross streets in front of silent cyclists without looking.  Whoever is planning the cycling routes in NYC should come to Europe for a few weeks and check out their cities.  They might learn something.

Did I say it is warm here?  Perfect for cycling, 60F.  Maybe not warm enough to be on the beach, but these guys had some insulation...

You may have noticed the hill in the background above.  I had to have at least one decent climb so I set my sights on it and eventually found the road to it's summit.  The climb was pretty tough with switchbacks carved out of the side of the hill that were quite steep, and it took me about 20 minutes to make it to the top from the small town.

After the climb, I retraced my route for the most part back to Barcelona, and am now enjoying an incredibly good Iberico ham sandwich with some aged Manchego and creamy, salty butter:)

A few more photos that will hopefully be viewed by the bike lane planners in NYC:

Above goes along the Sea for quite a ways outside of Barcelona.  I went about 10 miles on it, and there was clearly more to the northeast towards France.

Above is very near downtown Barcelona.  It's actually safe to ride on the road!

Above is a bike path a few miles from the city center.

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