A Broken Bike and Beer

Everyday, the concept of adventure is taking a new form in my mind and I’m becoming more comfortable with riding without a plan.  We know where we are going north.  In Santiago de Compostella we stopped by an old bike shop to get tips regarding our route. With a heavy Galician accent a weathered biker drags a grease stained finger along the Costa da Morte, redirected our previous plans advising us to hop a bus from A Coruna to Bilbao.  We left the shop with a slightly better sense of our next week, enlivened by his confidence and wonder for the coast’s beauty, it proved to be the right choice. 

Even a few weeks later, everyday when we get lost, confused, and frustrated, unsure if we are going the right way, I always think of that old man dragging his finger on the map. In a broken indistinguishable accent, we were told to “keep the coast to your left.” 

As meager as it seems, that was a simple motto to always remind me to keep a solid peace-of-mind.

After leaving our wonderful new French friends in Muxia, we made our way to A Coruna.   Left the sun behind us and rode into the storm.  The plan was to set up at a campsite in Malpica, but again it wouldn’t an adventure if the site open.  Shrugged it off and rode down a massive hill through the small town hugging the coast called Malpica.  

Found a Pension for a reasonable price.  The bar was a family’s living room, so we worked on the blog as we listened to the crash of the sea getting angrier, a Spanish game show, and a 10-year-old girl strumming a guitar.

Waking up in a storm, the next days ride was hard and forest roads flipped into busy highways as we entered A Coruna.

5 days earlier, the bolt holding my back rack snapped into my bike, forcing a little ingenuity on Keagan’s part to get the rack working again.  As usual I worried too much about how well it was holding up, so the first bike shop I saw entering the city, I jumped in there.

Greeted with a confused smile Jose, and with only hand gestures and making a fool of myself by making “breaking” sounds, he saw the problem, said OK, and 10 minutes and 1 euro later, the bike was fixed and I was happy.  

Language doesn't have to be a barrier to make some solid friends.

Climbing another hill with no shoulder and the angriest drivers we have encountered lead to a nerve-wrenching ride dodging highways until we made it to our gracious host Margarita and her lovely golden retriever Berta.  

We decided to bus it to Bilbao, and since we changed our route and rode the Costa da Morte, which we didn’t have calculated in our original miles, we actually ended up adding more.  We spent a night on the town, until we realized that our bodies would not allow us to stay up late drinking after a hard day’s ride.  The city had so much history winding around every corner and up the numerous small cobblestone streets.  We stopped for a beer, under a square lined with eucalyptus trees waving shadows over us in the afternoon glare.  The owner comes out with a big smile, excited for us and sent us off with a solid hug and good luck.

The smiles and gestures of every stranger we have met drives us farther every day.  I never know who the next person will be but am always surprised by the kindness left in the world.
Saying bye to our friends in A Coruna, bikes wrapped in trash bags and stored under a bus, we rode through the night arriving in Bilbao at 5 am. 

No sleep and a 15 km ride required a coffee to start the day.  Fueled up we rode towards the Guggenheim as the sun rose and engulfed the gleaming metal.  Quiet and content, the river lead us to Getxo, and we rode along the orange light with the same smile we had the day we started.

Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.