“ Motor bike tours in Spain. „
Andalucian Trail Tours provide an off-road motorcycling experience in, as the name would suggest, Andalucia. They have two types of tour: the novice-friendly scenic tour based in Villanueva del Trabuco, in the north of Malaga province and the terrain tour based in Competa a little further east. This review is of the scenic tour.
There is very comprehensive information on their website. I can confirm that the information is accurate and will not seek to reproduce it here, other than stating that even the scenic tour would be challenging to the point of being dangerous for anyone who was not really comfortable with handling a motorcycle on road.
They have a fleet of Honda CRF 230's. I had never heard of one, much less ridden one before booking the tour, but they have made an inspired choice in these. They have massive torque, are hard to stall and put up with being dropped. The website describes them as being low; maybe they are by trail bike standards, but I could not get both feet on the ground when sitting on mine. Still, I'm only 5' 9". They are very easy bikes to ride. Mine felt very strange indeed after my road bike, but by the end of the experience nothing felt more natural than getting astride the single thumper or trickling along with minuscule revs only to freely pick up again without problem on demand. They are not very fast, but plenty fast enough for dirt and for the occasional road sections we traversed in between the off-road stuff.
This felt even weirder than the bike at first. You get, and wear at all times, a body armour jacket with protection for chest, back shoulders and elbows, knee protectors, boots, helmet, goggles, gloves and a race shirt to go over the top. The only item that is not compulsory wear is the race shirt. The amazing thing was how comfortable it all was. You soon forgot you were wearing any armour at all - until you fell off and were glad of it. Yes, we did fall off...
Our guide and mentor was a partner in the firm, Andy Thomas. A total motorcycle aficionado and expert off road rider, Andy took me from a state of being an absolute novice (the nearest I had got to off road before this had been an excursion into a ditch when riding to work one icy winter) to tackling terrain that I did not know a motorcycle could cross. Andy is a wise man, who quickly sized up the skills of the riders and adjusted the challenge to suit. This was an ever changing feast, as our skills and confidence rapidly improved under his guidance.
This is where it got truly amazing. Andy Thomas has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the countless trails, tracks, fields that criss-cross Malaga province and parts of Granada province. He took us up hill and down dale, across fields, through olive groves, through rivers, on dirt, stone, scree and very occasionally, metalled surface. We were torn between wanting to stop to take ever more photos as yet another incomparable vista opened up before our eyes and the desire to carry on riding. Somehow we managed to strike a balance, but it was hard; it was always going to be when you are up on a pass that would only be accessible to the fittest of walkers and not accessible at all to most vehicles.
The package included transport to and from Malaga or Granada airport, lunch in Spanish restaurants and bed and breakfast in a British run modest but totally fit for purpose bed and breakfast in Villanueva del Trabuco.
If there are any experienced road motorcyclists out there who fancy something completely different, then this has to be the experience of choice. Oh, I suppose I had better 'fess up about my off. Going up a pretty steep climb I cunningly managed to steer off the track. After a few seconds of wild but useless struggle to keep going on the off-off-road I stalled the bike and gracelessly slipped sideways. It was a bit off-putting for Andy as I disappeared from view seemingly into an abyss but I in fact dropped about half a metre with no harm done and was quickly back on track. If anyone takes a tour having read this please mention Immlang to Andy, because I for one will be back with him in future and who knows, I might be able to squeeze a discount out of him!
Choose a scenic tour and enjoy the wonderful surroundings of Andalucia or ride the terrain tour for the more advanced off-road experience!