Montes de Málaga – The Ride Part 2 of 2

The view of Málaga from the mountains | Photo by Juan Pablo Olmo

Oh the frustration of a biker: a perfectly fine inner tube but no pump to inflate it with. But hey, this is Spain, one of the 3 countries hosting a Tour every year and etc. The prologue (not time-trial) can be found here.

Passerby #1, a 35 year old guy walking around with his girlfriend, might have a clue where to find a pump right? Outcome: I learn the Spanish word for pump is “bomba” but no he does not own one. Passersby #2 & #3 confirm that everything is closed on Sunday and no, albeit being in their twenties do not possess a bomba – they clearly prefer scooters. Passerby #4, a 14 year old sends me to a house in the next street where, as he claims, I will find a rare species called cyclist – rang the bell but obviously the guy was out… cycling. Passerby #5 advices me to go back to the crossroad where I entered the village because, normally, there is plenty of cyclists passing there. Not a bad idea I’d say so I start camping at the crossroads for 30 mins – obviously all other cyclists were at home already or having a beer on a terrace.

A rather adventurous object

A bit further down the road I notice a hotel so I decide to try my luck in there. The manager informs me that yes they have a pump but, unfortunately, it’s broken as well (surprise). However around the corner there is a small garage where they should have a one, the owner is called Manolo and I should mention to him I was sent by the hotel. Footnote: “Manolo” is also the guy supporting the Spanish national football team with his big drum during tournaments – I considered it funny at that point. Knocking on the door resulted in a 90(?) year old lady – at least her teeth had departed her a long time ago – opening the first floor window. I started shouting “bomba” to her and waving my pump hoping the word did not have any other connotations. And yes Manolo appeared but – cutting 10 minutes short here – he had no pump for presta valves. By this time I was getting fed up and I made a drastic decision – walking to the next village 10k further while hoping that I’d pass another cyclist on my way there.

So, en route to Cassabermeja! Walking along the A356 I saw plenty of cars, dead animals, garbage, a Jewish synagogue, olive trees, the Guardia Civil (twice) but, you’ve guessed it, no cyclists. Enter Cassabermeja: passersby #5-#8 were not rightful owners of a presta valve pump either and then the local bar guests came out to see what the “lost” foreigner needed. I might look slightly stupid but no sir there is no whole in the inner tube (x5) and no I am nor English nor Dutch – thanks for the double insult while you are at it. Finally a guy passed by living 5 doors away from the bar and, oh miracle, he knew someone who actually had a pump! In the meanwhile the rest of the linguistic wonders informed me that there was a bus leaving to Malaga in 3 hrs from now making me wonder if I should spend my time in the bar and get wasted. But no, a beautiful pump appeared and in 20 secs there was 6.5 bar of pressure in the tire. By now it was 5 in the afternoon and I got rewarded with a nice 6k climb towards Zambra at 870m.

The good point about all this was that I got to attend a beautiful sunset in the mountains, the bad was that I had no lights on me and the rain started pouring down just when I reached the top making the rather technical descent a nice challenge. I finished it off with crossing the whole city in car traffic and got rewarded with a goal from the home football team when passing the stadium – and yes even people outside the stadium start shouting “gol” in there. Greg from Recyclo was kind enough to come over to the hotel to pick up up the bike – he probably thought I was lost in the mountains and he’d never see me again by that time. In the end the ride was around 75k with 1600 height meters and certainly worth it but you might want to take a pump or two to complete it.

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By Maarten Patteeuw

Maarten is an avid road and mountain biker who lives and breathes everything rolling on two wheels. You can follow his rantings on Twitter by looking for @maapathel.