It’s no secret I’m passionate about Andalucía and its wild, open spaces; and this week once again I saw this expansive, sun drenched part of southern Europe from another perspective –whilst riding a Suzuki DRZ 400 E enduro/trail motorbike!
I got my full bike license many years ago and I’d not been on a bike for 9 years, but exploring the beautiful Guadiaro Valley with ‘Riders Of The Lost Trail’ was fantastic! It not only reminded me how lucky we are to have all this beautiful, wide open countryside on our doorstep, but also what fun it is to muck about on a trails bike.
Riders Of The Lost Trail is an established guided off-road adventure motorcycle trail tour company established by Phil Wood. A successful travel photographer, Phil has always been a lover of the great outdoors and since moving to Spain with his wife and having a family, he has created a popular, successful off road motorcycle tour business in rural Spain.
Phil and his colleagues offer guided tours through some impressive scenery, with routes paced and planned to suit guests, so an off road novice like me was made to feel comfortable – still stretched and challenged, with adrenalin pumping and enjoying a feeling of excitement – but always safe and I got some useful tips and advice on how to quickly master the basics of off road biking.
For more experienced off road motorbike riders, there are tours that have plenty of challenges and surprises to entertain and excite and the guides are on hand to help develop further your riding skills and techniques.
Andalucía has a stunning range of landscapes from mountains, Mediterranean forests; rolling countryside, lush valleys, even deserts and boasts Europe’s greatest biodiversity. So it is little wonder that adventure tourism here is booming. Andalucía is huge, almost 90,000 square kilometres but with a population of just 8 million people. Compare that to England, which has 130,000 square kilometres but a monstrous population of over 50 million! So Andalucía not only has the best climate in Europe, it also has plenty of un-crowded, undeveloped space! What’s more land owners and the local authorities actively encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors here.
As I was buzzing through the country dirt tracks with Riders Of The Lost Trail, we hardly came in contact with anyone, but when we did, locals would wave, and smile. One doesn’t see any ‘Keep Out!’ signs here.
Over the years I have discovered plenty of ways to enjoy Andalucía; from my favourite of hiking and photography to more active pursuits like canyoning. Yet it was getting back on a bike that has made me really want to come back for more.
Riders Of The Lost Trail offer everything you need; top quality clothing and safety gear, including knee guards, comprehensive body armour, boots, helmet, and goggles as well as protective clothes designed for the climate and terrain. Reassuringly each guide is first aid trained, equipped with medical kit and has professional GPS equipment so one’s location can easily and swiftly be pinpointed and communicated. Yet, the beauty of exploring these demanding trails is that speeds are usually between 25 and 45 kilometres an hour, so even if you do spin off on a corner, like I did early on in the day, it’s usually just your pride that is wounded, nothing more.
The Suzuki DRZ 400 E enduro/trail motorbikes provided by Riders Of The Lost Trail are so much fun to ride and are really forgiving for novice riders like me, and I’m told are more than capable of being truly exhilarating for even the most experienced rider. It’s no surprise then that The Riders of the Lost Trail experience has been described in the UK’s best selling trail biking magazine, as ‘Dirt Biking Paradise’; and the firm has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for its 5 star reviews.
Phil’s business is based in Cortes de la Frontera, a picturesque Andalusian ‘pueblo blanco’ village about an hour or so inland from the coast and close to the area’s airports in Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Jerez. The village is surrounded by mountain ranges and natural parks with a huge choice of dirt trails that criss-cross the sierras. Close by is the Alcornocales National Park, a dense cork oak forest; as well as the charming valleys, known to many as the Secret Andalucía. On a typical clear day, from some of the mountains you can rest and soak up the amazing view down across the valleys towards the Mediterranean and out across to Gibraltar and Morocco – it just doesn’t get much better than this.
Each trail offers the chance to stop off for a robust and tasty lunch in a local bar; a moment to enjoy some genuine Andalusian rustic cuisine and local hospitality. In fact the tour price includes everything; the bike, the insurance, the gear, the guide, the fuel, a 60–100 Km tour, and lunch – you just have to bring your bike license and plenty of enthusiasm and the spirit for adventure!
Riding packages combined with accommodation are also available, with comfortable rooms offered in the friendly, family run ‘Hotel El Gecko’ in the village. If you are travelling with a partner that doesn’t ride, then Riders Of The Lost Trail can organise for them to enjoy yoga, massage, hiking or alternative adverture activities.
So contact Phil Wood by email or phone to book a tour and soon you too will be telling your very own tail from the lost trail.
(+34) 630 120 841
Tours are in English and Spanish.
Riders Of The Lost Trail
Apartado de Correos 3
29380 Cortes de la Frontera
Malaga – Andalucia