Garry McGivern’s Spanish and Portuguese bike ride Tuesday 12th-May-2015 Toledo to Ciudad Real. 83 miles. After yesterday’s day off, I felt a lot better and was making good progress, right up to the point that the Guardia stopped me! Which was entirely my own fault for trying to avoid a hill.
I’d been cycling for around two hours on the N401 and was coming up to Los Yebenes. There were two options, stay on the N401, which went through a tunnel. Or come off the main road and take the quieter road that wiggled its way uphill to Los Yebenes. And, of course, not being one to go over a hill if I don’t have to. I went through the tunnel.
I knew I shouldn’t have gone through the tunnel, but there weren’t any signs saying not to. So I just went for it. The tunnel was about a kilometre long, and I peddled as fast as possible and made it through without any incident. About two miles down the road from the tunnel, two Guardia on motorbikes came past me and started to slow down. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and sure enough, it did. They pulled me over.
One of the Guardia started to talk to me. At first, I thought I would get told off for cycling through the tunnel after being spotted by one of the cameras, which he did mention. But then he started to tell me that I should be wearing a helmet, but I just played the dumb English tourist and pretended I didn’t understand! But between you and me, I knew I should have been wearing one. Although the law does say (I checked it before coming) that you don’t have to if it’s too hot or you’re a professional rider. I was going to argue my point and say do you know who I am, but I thought twice about it! In the end, I agreed that I would buy a helmet in the next town, which was about thirty kilometres away.
When I arrived in the next town, I briefly looked for somewhere to buy a helmet. But most of the shops were closed for Siesta. There was nothing else I could do. I certainly wasn’t going to sit around waiting for the shops to open on the off chance that one of them may have a helmet. So I continued on my ride. I came to another town, and again I looked for somewhere to buy a helmet, but there was nothing.
Not A Relaxing Ride
I spent the rest of my day looking over my shoulder, waiting for the Guardia to stop me. Eventually, I reached Ciudad Real. It had felt like a long ride, with the constant threat of the Guardia stopping me again. But now I was in Ciudad. I knew I’d be able to find a shop. Whether I wear my new helmet or not, we’ll see tomorrow. It might just be another piece of luggage to carry.
Yesterday’s day of rest obviously did me a world of good as I’ve made good progress and haven’t struggled at all today, despite it being swelteringly hot. It might have also been down to the fact that I haven’t had any mountains to go up. Or that I’ve been too preoccupied with the thought of the Guardia coming to get me.
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