almeria, sorbas & tabernas
located in the south east corner of spain, almeria is one of the lesser known of the eight provinces of andalucia. mountains, desert, beaches, plains - almeria has it all and holds the title of spanish region with the most sunshine per year, with over 320 sunny days per year and an average of well over 3000 hours sunshine per annum. the region has an average annual air temperature of 19 C and i have ridden with my bike computer showing 28 C in february! in the high summer it is common to see temperatures soar into the 40s but up in our hills at between 400-2000m above sea level it is a good few degrees cooler. much of almeria is officially classified as europe's only desert region and it is here that bici-almeria is based. you can look forward to warm, sunny days riding under some of the clearest blue skies and cleanest air on the continent, with a population density of less than 70 per sq. km (south east england is over 500!) there is little traffic and what there is tends to keep to the coastal resorts, main roads and motorways.
bici-almeria bases itself around the small market towns of sorbas and tabernas which are approx 400 metres above sea level. both towns are situated in an arid semi-desert valley between two big mountain ranges - sierra alhamilla and sierra de los filabres - which provide challenging climbing and spectacular descending. calar alto atop the filabres, at 2168m, is the highest point in almeria and its observatory is reached by a gruelling 30k ascent. sorbas is also in a designated natural park - paraje natural karst y yesos de sorbas- and is a mecca for geologists and cavers.
from 2015 we have moved our accomodation about 25km west to just outside the next town of tabernas. it might seem a vaguely familiar landscape as the desierto de tabernas was used by sergio leone as the film locations for his spaghetti westerns as well as epics such as lawrence of arabia and patton, many of the original sets can still be seen from the roadside. more recently almeria has doubled for costa del crime in sexy beast, north africa in indiana jones and the last crusade and pakistan in four lions. in the last few years an episode of dr who and ridley scott's new epic exodus were filmed here in almeria. in october 2015 they begin shooting game of thrones in the alcazabar castle in almeria city itself as well as in the desierto de tabernas.
finish line of the alto de chive time trial -
bici-almeria record 11:15 jered 2014