Cycling In Central Portugal
Portugal is well known for its favourable climate, kilometres of beautiful coastline, and beaches popular with tourists. More popular than ever this summer perhaps as, at the time of writing this, Portugal has been announced as one of the few destinations on the UK’s ‘green travel list’. Whilst the Algarve is the chosen area of Portugal for many, venture inland instead and you will find the perfect location for a cycling tour or days out.
In 2020 we chose the Miranda do Corvo area of the Coimbra district as the location for our cycling and triathlon camps and holidays due to the amazing variety of cycling routes to be found here. Lockdowns have so far limited our chances to explore too far afield but we have been pleasantly surprised by the variety our immediate area has to offer. Here are just some of the reasons why.
Last September we had the delightful experience of watching the road cycling National Ramp Championships set off from our nearest village. This time trial hill climbing event saw riders making an ascent of three kilometres to an elevation of 558 meters on a series of switchbacks. One of the things we particularly love about this region is the blending of rural life with events like this. Those watching were not just other cyclists but also local villagers who had taken time out from tending vegetable plots and olive groves to watch the spectacle and encourage riders.
That positive attitude of locals to us when we are cycling is part of what makes our rides such a pleasure. It is very rare to cycle past someone walking who does not greet us with a friendly ‘bom dia’ (good morning) or ‘boa tarde’ (good afternoon). That applies equally to all ages. Drivers are also more considerate than I had been used to in the UK. The Portuguese have something of a reputation for their driving but as a cyclist, I find them very considerate. In any case, away from the larger towns and cities, there is relatively little traffic. It’s quite possible to ride for a couple of hours on rural roads and meet just a few vehicles…
Kate Taylor BSc
British Cycling, British Triathlon, & IRONMAN Coach; Sports Specialist Yoga Teacher