Barcelona – La Garriga going up the Besòs river
A cycle path of about 40 km between greenery, water and urbanization
The average speed that a person travels when walking is about 4 km per hour. By making two broad calculations in one day, a distance of about 40 km can be covered.
Moving at this speed is a good method against the stress and frenzy of this century that travels all too quickly between planes, cars and broadband connections. A cadence that takes us back to a primitive and ancestral state, when man had neither wheels nor animals for his long journeys.
Between the manhole and the internal combustion engine, however, there is a pleasant limbo characterized by the wheel of a bicycle.
In addition to the great paths and trails that originate from the ancient passes, today there is a dense network of cycle paths that unravel throughout Europe and beyond. Cyclists and alternative travelers travel through them, in crossings lasting several days if not months, to enjoy incredible landscapes and experiences with one of the most sustainable means ever, the bicycle.
The bike allows you to cover considerable distances without making use of animals or internal combustion engines, since it currently uses the most efficient push method in the world: our body.
The Catalan capital has an extensive network of cycle paths that extend throughout the city, which allow you to visit it economically and sustainably. Some of them extend well outside the center connecting neighboring cities. The routes are of different lengths and difficulties. One of these connects Barcelona with La Garriga.
Disentangling myself between cars and buses, I begin my journey by going down the Rambla until I reach the famous Passeig de Colon. The statue of the controversial navigator points undaunted in a south-easterly direction while my bike takes the almost opposite direction. I skirt the coast full of beaches crowded with tourists thirsting for sun, heat and relaxation.
Getting out of the urbanization of Barcelona is a gradual process. Traffic, noise and narrow streets give way to silent and wide spaces. I pass the beaches of Poble Nou, the Parc del Forum without stopping and just before reaching Sant Adrià I turn left to merge into the Besòs river.
The Besòs river has a length of about 17 km. It is formed by the union of two tributaries: the Congost and Mogent rivers at Montmelò. City located in the Vallès Oriental.
In the past, the Besos River was considered one of the most polluted rivers in Europe, due to the massive industrialization in the 60s of the twentieth century. A river at that time used only as a dumping ground for sewage and rubbish.
The cycle path from the Sant Adrià bridge turns and guides my wheel towards the internal territory, taking me directly into the river bed. The path is clearly visible and well-groomed. On one side the river and a green meadow, on the other impressive murals accompany the ride.
I am in the Rio Besos River Park. The park was created for the protection and recovery of an area of 115 hectares which extends and develops along the river for about 9 km. A slow process which, also thanks to environmental education, has borne fruit. For some time the waters have been gradually improving the quality allowing the flora and fauna to recover a good state of health.
After a few kilometers of the route, the paved cycle path ends and turns into a dirt and gravel path. Although my bike is not really suitable for rough terrain, it holds up well. Without worrying too much, I constantly continue my ride inland, enjoying a landscape mixed between large green spaces and urbanization.
After so many years, getting back on a bike, I am pervaded by old sensations of independence and freedom. And above all the advantage of being able to move and cover greater distances without losing the pleasure of admiring the view, parking where I want, smelling the air with its perfumes and smells and not worrying about the vehicle’s range. As long as there are legs, there is hope! I cycle constantly, spacing out a few breaks to take pictures and rest a bit.
Rio Congost and Mogent
I continue up the river, passing Montcada and its iconic mountain to arrive in Montmelò. This city is well known for the Formula 1 circuit but it is also here where the Besòs born. The confluence of the Congost and the Mogent give rise to the river which after 17 km flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Like two trains side by side but with different routes, I continue following the Congost leaving the Mogent on my right. Although it is a smaller river, there is no shortage of gauzes, magpies, other small animals and thick river vegetation.
The cycle path alternates with asphalt or dirt tracks, always following the river bed. Leaving Montmelò behind I come across the Granollers ascension festival celebrated between 19 and 21 May. My slow pedaling is accompanied in the distance by music, food stands, events and shows. Here a crowded and extensive market forces me to get off the saddle to continue on foot among stalls full of fruit, vegetables, clothes and various objects. A pleasant surprise to mingle with the locals.
The Falgar Park (Les Franqueses del Vallès)
Getting out of the chaos of the market wasn’t easy, but once I freed myself from the crowd, I reached Falgar Park (Les Franqueses del Vallès) in a few minutes. A green area of 17 hectares divided into three sectors. A children’s play area, a transition area and a wet area where human activity is minimal. In the latter there is also a lake where you can observe various migratory birds and native species. The park was inaugurated in March 2019 after 10 years of works and delays.
In a few minutes i reach La Garriga. The cycle path has never left me in the middle of a road, which takes me directly to the city center.
La Garriga is an urban center famous for its modernist style houses, hiking activity and gastronomy. In the 1900s many high-ranking families of Barcelona spent their summer holidays here to escape the suffocating heat of an expanding city and enjoy the fresher, cleaner air.
Finally I stop to enjoy a little relaxation before embarking on the way back. Which turns out to be much easier since the R3 train takes me directly to the center of Barcelona in less than an hour.
No AI was used for drafting the text and editing the photos.
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