Cycling amidst the Ebro and the vineyards

En bici entre el Ebro y los viñedos

We cycle along the riverside paths, an itinerary that starts and ends at our winery

We get off the bike and walk closer to the vegetation. A flickering glimmer attracts our attention. Between the branches of the poplars, a window opens onto the river Ebro. The water flows gently in the balmy weather of early autumn. The surface glistens in the sunlight while on the opposite riverbank a fisherman waves at us.

We are halfway through the route. We set off first thing in the morning from the gates of Bodegas Muriel, in Elciego, hoping to cycle about 25 km through vineyards and ravines, riding alongside the banks of the great river.

In search of a diversity of landscapes

This route is pleasant, fun, picturesque and suitable for everyone, regardless of your expertise. Furthermore, it is a wonderful find as riders get to understand and enjoy the geographic peculiarities of Elciego's surroundings. It's "all up and down", as our winemaker, Chema Ryan, so graphically describes the distinctive terrain of this part of Rioja Alavesa.

The first section exposes the most typical landscape of the Muriel vineyards: the wide plateau of El Gallo and the gentle slopes of Garcimoracho, to the west of the village. These are large and well-cultivated plots, where one can see how the vines have adapted perfectly to the balanced clay and limestone soils of the area.

We descend southwards along easy trails. Suddenly the terrain narrows and the descent becomes steeper and steeper. A couple of bends take us right into a narrow ravine between pine and kermes oak groves. We eventually reach a wide space called Valduengo, nestled between the slopes that we left behind and the Ebro riverbed. This is the second landscape we come across on the route: the flat riverside lands, with sandy soils and pebbles, where vines grow next to a narrow strip of river woodland.

The route now winds along the meandering course of the Ebro for more than 10 km on an easy and very pleasant route. The leaves of the vines turn yellow, purple and brown, while a soft light tinges the hillsides with ochre. Our bikes follow the winding bends of two meanders: La Mezana and El Encinal. We soon reach La Poveda, a popular picnic area on the banks of the river where Lapuebla de Labarca locals go to relax, take a dip in the water and eat al fresco.

A breathtaking cliff

We continue our ride and after a short while we stumble upon a spectacular site: a bare, vertiginous cliff rises up to our left, pushing the path towards the river bank. The mountain wall is so arid that it looks as if we are in a gorge in the middle of the desert. The track starts to climb towards Lapuebla and as we ride through the streets of the village we reach the A-4208 road, heading towards Elciego. It is a fairly quiet road that offers stunning panoramic views of the Ebro valley and the meanders we crossed a short while ago. 

After a few gentle climbs and descents, we soon arrive at the winery. The cycling tour has revealed several fascinating and very different micro-landscapes, creating a vineyard mosaic that is unique in the world -all in just 25 kilometres!