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Malaga: climbs by bike

Peñas Blancas, the popular climb of Malaga. Fancy other less known climbs, which will delight the most demanding.

Malaga is more than sardines and sun and beach bars. And when you think of cycling, the very mountainous landscape offers a multitude of bike trails. In addition, the coastal landscape with its beaches, cliffs, estuaries, bays and dunes creates a very diverse ecosystem for cycling.

If you are visiting the province of Malaga and planning to climb the region, here are the 6 you should have on your to-do-list. Yes, Peñas Blancas is one of the chosen ones … and be careful when climbing “La Pared”.

Almáchar

Better known under the name of “La Pared” or “Muro de Almachar”, an ascent of a few kilometers (4.7 km) but with an average slope of almost 9%, probably one of the most intense in the province. This short but intense climb with a positive slope of just over 400 m has asphalt in very good condition and with a certain width.

The ascent begins after crossing the bridge over the Borge river. From there 2 km await us with an average slope of 11%, with ramps of up to 14%.

After this first section, we will have about 200 m to recover and again face very demanding ramps. After another brief respite, it will be time to return to 13% ramps for about 200m to finally face an explosive half-kilometer with slopes of 11%.

If we still have energy, we can take advantage of our last few meters, where the climb flattens out considerably (which is easy given that there are hardly any breaks on the entire route).

Fortunately, the climb has some shaded areas that help protect against the sun. However, the views from the top are not the best, but going down 300m to the south to a belvedere you have views over the Axarquía region.

Boquete de Zafarraya

We continue in the Axarquía region, the Sierra de Alhama, with an ascent which is the natural crossroads between Malaga and Granada, starting from Vélez-Malaga, 11.48 km with a vertical drop of 694 m and an average slope by 6,28%. It’s not a particularly demanding climb compared to others in Malaga, but the views of the surrounding area are well worth the effort.

In addition, the asphalt is in very good condition, although it is common to find heavy traffic, mainly on weekdays.

Along the way we can observe the historic ruins of Zalla Castle, an architectural work of Phoenician origin.

Cerro del Moro (repetidor de Mijas)

The ascent to subida al Cerro del Moro is another of the usual climbs in Malaga. From Benalmádena we will go from sea level to 952 m in just 14.2 km.

The ascent has an average slope of 6.5% and a positive slope of 933 m.

Although the pavement is generally in good condition, there is a small section with a few potholes. The last third of the ascent shows a significant narrowing of the route.

The start of the ascent is quite hard, with ramps of 10 to 13% for which you have to be mentalised if you want to succeed in overcoming the initial section. Once this first challenge has been taken up, a few milder kilometers arrive, which are a mirage: again 13% ramps that will put us to the test.

The last two kilometers of the ascent will also require us to get some fresh air wherever we can, as the next climbs are 10 and 11%, until we reach Cerro del Moro.

As a reward, we will enjoy the Costa del Sol, the Sierra Nevada, the Strait of Gibraltar and El alle de Guadalhorce from the heights. What a combi!

Peñas Blancas – Los Reales

As we had already expected, Peñas Blancas is the most traveled mountain pass by cyclists in Malaga. From Jubrique, nearly 29 km with an average gradient of 4.2% and a drop of over 1200 m to the Los Reales viewpoint.

The route has a fairly wide road and the asphalt is in good condition until the climb of Peñas Blancas, but from there the arrival at the viewpoint is via a narrow path with some potholes and sinkholes. 

Although this is not a route characterized by its a priori hardness, the alternation of certain sections of hard climbs with negative slopes can cause a certain overconfidence. During the ascent we will find several consecutive sections with horseshoe curves on slopes between 10 and 12%, the last 6 km being difficult not so much because of the requirement of the ascent but of the condition of the road.

To reach the top, an ascent of 1447 m of altitude to enjoy the stunning view of the coast of Malaga.

El Espino

The Espino climb might not be one of the busiest for cyclists, perhaps because it runs along a fairly narrow road for a large section of the climb and with asphalt waiting renewal, in addition to not having a cycle shoulder.

However, we find a climb with a very complete course, full of horseshoe curves (only about fifteen in the first section of the ascent) and with abundant vegetation that allows an ascent protected by chestnut trees, holm oaks and cork oaks.

From San Pablo de Buceite, 20,21 km await us with an average slope of 4,38% and acumulative slope of 914 m. Although the altitude we will reach will not be excessively high (844m), this does not prevent us from enjoying the view or the route.

El Torcal

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We cannot end this article without talking about El Torcal, a pass on the outskirts of Antequera which will force us to give the maximum over a little over ten kilometers.

We will start the climb in the surroundings of Villanueva de la Concepción, north of Malaga, with good terrain in the first two kilometers.

As soon as we leave town, we will find the first moment of cyclist suffering: two kilometers at ten percent, culminating with some incline greater than fourteen percent.

From there, when we reach the equator of the ascent to El Torcal, the road becomes smoother. However, in the last third we have practically the worst: a slope of 1 km at 11% average. The worst part is that throughout its climb we see the end, since it has practically no curves.

From there, we still have another kilometer and a half left at 8.5% …

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