These are some of the Questions that we were asked and by reading them you can take some doubts about this epic bike traverse.
Q: HOW CAN I GET HOME FROM CASCAIS?
A: Transportation from Cascais to Lisbon is included in your registration fee. We will provide transportation back to Lisbon airport, to all participants.
If you decide to stay extra days in Cascais or Lisbon just ask for the quote and the final and we will postpone the transfer to Lisbon’s Airport.
Q: ON WHAT DAY WILL WE TRAVEL FROM CASCAIS TO LISBON AFTER THE TRAVERSE ENDS?
A: Departure from Cascais to Lisbon will scheduled taking in mind your travel arrangements.
Q: I’M ARRIVING 2 DAYS PRIOR TO THE TRAVERSE, CAN YOU PICK ME UP?
A: Yes, just give us your travel arrangements and we will provide the transfer to the event hotel in day 0.
Q: I AM TRAVELLING TO/FROM PORTUGAL BY PLANE AND WILL HAVE A BIKE BOX/BAG TO TRANSPORT MY BIKE. WHAT CAN I DO WITH THIS DURING THE RACE?
A: We will take care of it for you. We can provide a transportation service to send the hard box to Lisbon. If it is a soft case we will have a van that will carry your bike bag from the Start to the Finish. Please warn us if you are bringing a bike box/bag so we make sure we have enough space for it, or ask us for the transportation rate to Lisbon.
Q: DO I NEED TO BOOK MY OWN HOTEL EACH NIGHT?
A: When you book the bike tour, we book the rooms for you for every night from day 0 to the last day in Cascais. All these nights are included in the paid entry fee.
Extra nights in Madrid or Lisbon before and after the traverse are not included, but we can book rooms for you with very special rates. Just ask us the quote.
Q: WHICH MEALS ARE INCLUDED IN THE FEE?
A: When you book the tour all meals are included, and then you are entitled evening meals from Madrid to Lisbon, picnic lunch which includes food rich in ingredients best known for aiding recovery in each stage and breakfast in every hotel of the tour.
Q: WHAT KIND OF LUGGAGE SHOULD I BRING?
A: The least possible! We ask each participant to bring the maximum of two luggage pieces per participant; these are the bags the Organization will transport for you during the tour. Please remember we will be carrying a lot of bags each day, not just yours! So please take that in consideration and reduce the total weight as much as possible.
Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO DO ABOUT MY BREAKFAST/EVENING MEAL?
A: Nothing. When you book the tour this includes hotel accommodation and meals all included. Breakfast is provided in all the hotels each morning and we will book the evening meals for all the riders. Please make sure the organization knows, well in advance, if you have special dietary requirements/allergies.
Please note that it is not always possible to cater for vegetarians who eat neither meat nor fish. This is not common in Spain and Portugal and a proper meal without these 2 ingredients can sometimes be very hard to organize. If this is your case you may consider bringing some dietary supplements.
Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO CARRY DURING EACH STAGE?
A: Everything you will need during that stage. In the majority of the days the track just passes through tiny villages where you won’t normally find anything to suit your immediate needs, so you should have everything you need with you right from the Start. It is always possible to get water in these villages.
Q: HOW IS THE WEATHER GOING TO BE LIKE DURING THE RACE?
A: The weather in Spain and Portugal on those dates is usually mild; nevertheless warm (higher than 25 C) or cold days (lower than 15 C) can occur. Have in mind that this traverse passes by mountainous terrain and in very high places, this can make the weather patterns become harsh.
Most probably we will have days of clear skies, however it won’t be much of a surprise if in one or two days we get rain and cold, alternating with showery and cloudy days - it did in some of the previous years. Be prepared!
The traverse goes to altitudes up to 2000m in different places, so expect very low temperatures up there and you may need to carry extra clothing as protection for the cold on those particular days.
Q. DO I NEED TO CARRY ALL MY FOOD AND WATER DURING THE STAGES?
A: There will be stages where it is possible to buy food and drinks in the villages the traverse passes through.
However in some stages this is not the case, thus you should plan what to carry on a day by day basis in accordance with the briefing notes given for each stage, the weather forecast and your particular needs.
In order to help you during the tour, we have indicated POIs with some of the places where you will be able to buy food and drinks. These special points will also be signaled on the day sheets.
Q: IN RIDING LONG DISTANCES I NORMALLY TAKE ENERGY BARS AND ISOTONIC DRINKS. WILL THESE BE AVAILABLE DURING THE TOUR OR MUST I BRING THEM ALONG?
A: Before each stage starts at the lunch picnics and at the finish in the hotel, The Organizers will have for sale everyday where not only energy bars and isotonic drinks, but also others things like; spare tubes, nappy creams, tires, CO2 canisters, tire pumps, jerseys and shorts, recovery drinks, etc., can be bought.
Q: IS IT EASY TO FIND ATM MACHINES IN THE PLACES WE STAY DURING THE TOUR?
A: ATM machines are very abundant in Spain and Portugal. Normally every village has at least one.
Q: IF I USE ANY HOTEL SERVICE, HOW AND TO WHOM DO I PAY FOR IT?
A: The Organizers do not pay for any extras in the hotels. The hotel will have an extras bill per room to be paid in full by the responsible occupants on checking out. Only accommodation, breakfast and dinner is part of the contracted fee, everything else is considered an extra.
Q: I AM PLANNING ON TAKING MY LAPTOP WITH ME, WILL THERE BE AN INTERNET CONNECTION IN THE HOTELS WE ARE STAYING AT?
A: Yes, in most of the hotels there is either free Wi-Fi, or internet access booths in the lobby. In emergency cases you can always ask the Organizers for access codes to join the tour mobile internet network.
Please remember that, during the tour, all your belongings must compulsory be transported inside your bags. Also take in consideration that the Organizers cannot be held responsible for any damage to whatever electronic or other equipment you carry inside your luggage.
Q: SHOULD I BRING SPARE PARTS FOR MY BIKE?
A: No and Yes. We will have a set of spares and we can do basic repairs to the bikes each day. We will have most of the common spare parts for bikes like tires, tubes, cables, chains, chain rings, cassettes, wheels, spokes, brake pads, handlebars, headsets, grips, saddles, seat posts (common sizes), disc brake rotors (common sizes and bolt patterns), derailleurs, pedals, front suspension forks and several other minor things.
We will not carry any specific spares for rear suspension bikes, like shock absorbers, bushes, bearings etc.
Q: I HEARD THERE WILL MASSEURS IN SOME OF THE HOTELS. HOW DO I BOOK MY MASSAGE?
A: This service is prepared by some of the hotels. Please try to book this service in advance in order to be sure that the masseurs will be available at the hotels. Inform us of your needs and we will contact the designated hotels.
Q: CAN COMPANIONS ACCOMPANY THE TRAVERSE, OR DO THEY GO STRAIGHT TO THE END IN LISBON?
A: Yes, if your companions have registered, we can book the same hotels and try to arrange the best way to follow the traverse, please ask quotes for this.
Q: CAN MY COMPANION JOIN ME FOR ONE OR MORE NIGHTS DURING THE TRAVERSE?
A: Yes, companions can join you. If you want them to stay in the some hotel, please tell us as soon as possible. We will try to book hotels and evening meals for all companions. Just ask us for the quote.
Q: IS THERE ANY KIND OF MECHANICAL SUPPORT DURING THE RACE?
A: No. The organization have a few bike shops in hold in case there is a major problem with a bike and the mechanic can come to the hotel or the Organizers can drive to the bike shop in order to give support to the bikes. The charges of this service are provided by the bike shops on request.
Q: DO I HAVE TO CARRY ANY SPARE PARTS WITH ME?
A: We will try to make available, for eventual repairs, the widest variety of bike components.
Nevertheless it will not be possible to ensure that we carry stock of every single part, considering the variety of bikes and different components present in the tour.
Having said that, we strongly advise participants to bring some of the more specific components for their own bikes, such as; rear suspension repair kits, rear dropouts, seat post clamps and any “not-so-common” part.
We stock a large amount of brake pads, but it’s always a good idea to bring some of your own.
Needless to say some of the most important bits should be carried with you during the stages (brake pads, dropouts, etc...), the rest you can leave in your bag.
The organization will not carry any bulky bike part, such as wheels or frames that does not normally fit inside the regular bag.
Q: CAN I BUY REPLACEMENT PARTS DURING THE RACE?
A: Yes. We’ll have a small kit of bike parts every day at the end of each stage where you can buy some components/accessories as well as nutrition products. Here is a list of what can be bought locally:
- Chain lube
- Patching kits
- CO2 cartridges
- Tire sealant
- Nutrition bars and gels
- Recovery / isotonic drinks
- Nappy cream
Q: WHICH TIRES DO YOU RECOMMEND?
A: The traverse has a wide variety of terrain. From old Roman and medieval cobblestone roads to sharp or loose rocks paths alternating with fast rolling hard pack dirt roads and some technical single-tracks, we have it all!
An “all-around” tire (whatever that is) would be the best option although the choice must be made according to each rider’s riding technique and race objectives.
Proper tubeless tires with a glycol base self-sealant liquid are a “must have” and are in fact a much better option to the tubeless ready tires with latex based self-sealant. The later being a much lighter setup is only recommended to light riders who have good riding skills.
Just to close this tire issue we must say that maybe 50% of all technical problems occurring in the traverse resulting in loss of performance, are tires or tubes related.
The other 50% are gear / shifting problems, but we’ll get to that point.
Q: SHOULD I HAVE ANY PARTICULAR CONCERN WITH MY BIKE BEFORE THE TOUR?
A: BIKE MADRID LISBON is an epic Bike Traverse trough the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula over 1000km, in consecutive stages, several days with a total climbing of more than 20.000 mt. It is extremely important that every bike has a comprehensive full service in preparation for the tour.
We strongly recommend:
- New chain / gear set
- New inner and outer cables
- New tires.
- New brake pads
- Service forks / shocks, pedals, bottom bracket, wheels.
For those who bring a full suspension bike either replace or bring a new set of bearings / bushes for the rear triangle and shock.
Although obvious for most of you, it’s never too much repeating;
Do not make major changes in your bike before the tour, especially if that has any impact with the way you ride and or position on the bike.
It’s not the best time to try that new saddle or pair of pedals you read so favorable about, in your favorite Internet bike forum.
Nor you should change the stem from 90mm/10º to 100mm/-5º just because it’s more racing.
Least but not last, take your bike for a long ride after you picked it up from the bike shop you has it serviced before the tour.
If anything has to fail, let it fail while you still have plenty of time to get it fixed.
Q: WHAT’S THE BEST BIKE TO GO ON BIKE MADRID LISBON?
A: Based on previous editions observations we can say that there isn’t an ideal bike configuration for this traverse, or on the other hand, there are many.
It all depends on one´s needs. If your prime objective is to have fun and be the fastest rider in the group, then a rigid light bike would be the perfect weapon. (MTB)
On the other hand, if you just want to finish the traverse without a lot body pain, then a not so light full suspension may be the best option. (MTB)
Regarding frame materials, carbon fiber and its new production technologies, has, in the recent past, proven to be the winning formula both for FS and HT bikes.
Titanium for a rigid bike is a classic for long distances and its plush ride adds comfort when you spend many hours on the saddle.
Aluminium for a rigid bike is probably the least recommended material due to its harsh response to rough terrain, imposing a lot of body fatigue which one wants to avoid as much as possible in long stages.
Please, don’t go rushing to the shop to buy a new bike. This is a personal opinion and as you know this is a very sensitive subject.
More important than the frame material is the component choice.
The relation between weight and reliability of the components chosen is very important to assemble a good bike capable of riding flawlessly the entire route of BIKE MADRID LISBON yet providing true racing feeling.
Enjoy your rides and get in touch if you need any kind of help.
Q: DO I HAVE TO USE A GPS IN THE TOUR?
A: Yes. It is mandatory to use a GPS. The route is not marked, indicated or signaled on the terrain. The only way you can know the route is from the tailor-made map of the BIKE MADRID LISBON route the organizers will upload on to your GPS.
Q: I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ORIENTEERING. HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM ON THE RIGHT TRACK IF I ONLY HAVE A GPS?
A: There is nothing simpler. You don’t need to know anything about orienteering, nor you need to be an expert on GPSs. The only thing you do need to know is that when you look at the screen you are the arrow and the track course is a purple line. As long as you keep the arrow on the line, then you are on course.
We even tested a GPS with a 4 year old and within a minute he was able to follow the right track.
Using a GPS there is no chance that you will get lost, and the additional information that appears on the screen means you don’t even hesitate when you come to an intersection or crossroads. Your performance on the trails will be exactly the same as if you were following course markers, with the added benefit that you are unlikely to ever take a wrong turn, and you will never get lost, unlike when you are following a marked course.
Q: DO I HAVE TO USE A GARMIN GPS, OR CAN I USE ANY OTHER MAKE?
A: The tailor-made map of the BKE MADRID LISBON route is made for Garmin units, other GPS units can be accepted but only the .GPX tracks will be provided.
Q: WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GARMIN GPS UNIT?
A: The GPS must have a colored screen, be capable of reading memory cards downloaded with maps and have a minimum recording capability of 10,000 track-log points. An USB interface is also a basic requirement.
Q: DO I HAVE TO HAVE MY OWN GPS?
A: No, we can rent Garmin Oregon GPS units.
Q: CAN I BUY A GPS UNIT FROM THE ORGANISATION?
A: The Organization has special prices for some units from Garmin and all the units will have uploaded with Topo Map of Spain and Portugal. Ask for quote.
Q: WILL I NEED TO HAVE A DETAILED MAP OF PORTUGAL PRE-LOADED INTO MY GPS UNIT? WILL ONE BE PROVIDED BY THE ORGANIZATION? CAN I GET BY WITHOUT IT OR IT WOULD BE BETTER TO HAVE IT?
A: No you don’t need to bother with any of that. The organizers will provide to each participant with detailed map of the territory of the traverse. Just make sure you have enough memory in the unit. These contain the Spanish and Portuguese detailed maps, topographical maps, the traverse route and info.
Q: DO I HAVE TO TAKE SPARE BATTERIES WITH ME, OR CAN THESE BE BOUGHT LOCALLY ?
A: Except for the Edge 800, which has but an internal lithium battery, all the other GPSs take a pair of double A alkaline or rechargeable batteries. For these you should at have at least 2 pairs of batteries. You can bring them with you or buy from the Organizers when you get here. We will have them on sale during the traverse.
We do recommend rechargeable NiMh batteries of at least 2500mA of capacity. From our experience, based on experimentation, the best commercially available AA batteries, at the moment, are the SANYO Eneloop.