It’s All About The Experience

 

For me, cycling has always been about much more than just turning the pedals and clocking up the miles (or kilometres), whether back home in England or touring through another country.

May - tour 14

The riding was important but it was only part of the adventure

That’s why on the guided tours I’m running in Portugal I try to emphasise the fact that it’s all about what we see – and do – along the way rather than simply getting from A to B.

And my most recent group of eight lovely riders certainly took that philosophy to heart – from eating snails to going to a bullfight they were up for it all. (And they made a really valiant effort to sample as many of those superb Portuguese wines as they could!)

May - tour 11

Our route visited about 15 castles but Marvao was definitely one of the best

We spent 10 days riding together on a circuit around the north-east Alentejo and had wonderful fun. Our riders seemed to gel as a group right from the start and it was a sad moment when we posted them all off to Lisbon and said farewell at the end of the tour.

We had a huge amount of fun on this trip and these pictures from April’s inaugural Border Castles Tour tell part of the story. Some are taken by me but many are courtesy of Dave Vanlandingham, one of our ‘super’ team!

May - tour 09

I never expected a visit to a Portuguese supermarket to be such a hit on the first day… then I saw the wine purchases!

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The one flat of the tour. Hope your wrist has recovered, Bruce!

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Dan strikes a matador pose after we found a back door into the bullring

May - tour 10

Riding past yet more wildflowers on the way to Elvas

May - tour 13

Dinner in the chapel was one of the most remarkable experiences

May - tour 12

Jennifer in rest day relaxed mode

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Carolyn and Marcy with the snails…

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Moment of truth approaches…

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The expressions say it all

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Not my idea of sport but apparently it was a real spectacle – part of the April 25th celebrations in Alter do Chao

May - tour 16

Random encounter – we’d stopped to look at the storks nesting outside some sheds and were then invited in to see the horses inside

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When we found there was a winery 500m off our route it seemed rude not to visit

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Riding the dirt track out to the standing stones of Dos Almendres

May - tour 17

Bruce the snapper

May - tour 15

Judy didn’t just keep a water bottle under her seat. (I want one!)

 

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7 thoughts on “It’s All About The Experience

  1. Super fun vacation, riding on good roads with almost no cars. Loved having the small group (10 total), so well taken care of by Huw & Carolyn the whole time. Thanks for picking all the great hotels and dinner venues. It was especially fun to see Carolyn or Huw biking back to meet us after parking the van further on. Even our one day of rain riding was okay, since we had a big tailwind pushing us along and our Goretex suits kept us pretty comfortable. We thoroughly recommend this bike tour to anyone who likes to ride free of gear, through rolling countryside, interspersed with interesting stops along the way.

  2. That was such a great trip. I have throughly enjoyed going through the pics to re-live visiting castles, conversations and wine tasting before dinner, cork-parks, vineyards, 3 hour dinners, picnics, riding on beautiful days, hills (both up and down), wine at dinner, climbing towers, beautiful vistas, grocery store shopping for wine, conversations while biking, drafting the tandem, great exercise, super positive people, nuclear fusion control system talk….it’s a little hard to go back to regular life.

  3. This didn’t feel like a guided tour, but rather, a wonderful ride with friends who knew all the great places to go, how to get there, and spoke the language too. Could have never done this on our own even though we are normally quite independent.

    The tandem team, Dan and Judi

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