Cycle to Colmenar Viejo

I’ve blogged before about Madrid’s wonderful collection of cycle paths in my blog about the Anillo Verde – the cycle path that circles right around Madrid resulting in a 69km cycle.

But this isn’t the only entirely off-road, on-tarmac cycling experience you can have from Madrid. There is another cycle path that leads straight north out of the city, alongside the M-607 motorway. Today was my second trip out along this road and I went much further than the last time to make a 62 km cycle (I still didn’t reach the end – I don’t know how far it goes!). I’ve decided I have a love-hate relationship with this path. So here are a few of the pros and cons….

Pros

1) No cars. No traffic lights. No pedestrian crossings. Nothing to stop you or get in your way.

2) Very, very few “gentle day out” cyclists. Perhaps because this path is pretty long without points to get on and off it, almost everyone is zooming along on some pretty nice bikes.

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3) Its very, very quiet. Although that may just be the times I’ve been on it – Sunday afternoons. I was out for three hours and only saw a handful of other cyclists.

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4) It’s all downhill on the way home which means you flyyyyyy home. Great fun.

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5) The views out to the left as you are heading out. Beautiful countryside with barely a road in sight spreading out for miles and miles and miles, with the mountains ahead of you in the distance. It’s pretty nice to watch them get closer and closer as you cycle towards them – and then be able to turn around and see the skyline of Madrid in the distance.

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The towers sticking up on the skyline are the towers below that I cycled past at the beginning and end of the route…

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Cons

1) The downhill on the way home means its all uphill on the way out …. and not a nice, proper climb or anything like that but the muscle-sapping, energy-sapping, enthusiasm-sapping gentle, slow uphill gradient that continues for around about 30km. The kind of slope where you don’t really realise its uphill, you just think you’re tired and going slowly!

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2) The views out to the right as you are heading out. A big old motorway. The cycle path constantly sticks right to the side of the motorway.

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3) The monotony. The motorway to the right, the scenery to the left, the red path in front of you…. there is very little change to the scenery at all. Hence its good to get the head down and the legs pumping I guess!

4) Lack of shade. There is NO shade. And it is super-hot.

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So in summary …. I’m still not sure. I probably will do it again. And I guess I’ve found the spot for my time trial as long as I can get over the mental barrier of the first half being fully uphill.

Madrid was EMPTY this afternoon so it was actually quite fun to cycle out through town rather than through the Casa de Campo.IMG_7357

A hangover from last night’s dinner meant I spent all morning in bed and then set off shortly after 3pm. Barely a car on the road, some sections of my route just completely deserted. I had put a frozen bottle of water in my jersey pocket and was so glad of it. The ice cold water was exactly what I needed.

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I turned around at Colmenar Viejo, stopping at a huge supermarket to buy more water for the return trip. The supermarket, like the rest of Spain today it seems, was pretty much deserted although I did find this incredible jamón aisle…

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Once home, I grabbed a rucksack and headed straight out on a brick run towards the supermarket. It ended up only being 3 minutes long but was a very fast 3 minutes – no wonder it felt hard!

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6 comments

  1. We have a rail trail about an hour’s drive from my house… Same idea, long steady gradient. I love it though. I get that it’s a little slower and kind of “sloggy” but that’s good hard leg building work right there. I’d hot that once a week if I could!

  2. Hi there, I am looking to this route next month (following on up to Segovia) – I can’t seem to identify this path on Strava would you have a map link or name of the path please?

    Thanks!

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