Some while back I used to write novels in my spare time. But my two cycling guides to Portugal now sell more many copies than my other books!
Running Pedal Portugal – both this website and our guided tours – also seems to have almost completely taken over my life these days.
But recently I’ve been thinking about doing another guide to routes in Portugal. Before I do, though, I was also wondering if there was a more basic need.
Years back, when my wife and I were thinking about our first ever big cycling trip (France, Spain and Portugal by tandem), we bought a Lonely Planet cycling guide to France. We had the original 2001 edition and while we didn’t follow it religiously it was really useful for the planning process and giving us ideas of where to go.
So I was thinking whether to try and do something similar for Portugal?
There’s already plenty of free information available this website. But one problem with websites is that the more you add, the harder it can be for people to find what they’re actually looking for. Plus books can be produced in a print format as well as an e-version and I certainly still like flicking through a book.
Any book would definitely have to include my Top 10 Tips as a starting point. I’m still surprised by the number of people who contact me asking for advice who don’t seem to realise that Portugal is not particularly flat. And that it can get rather hot in the summer months.
The big question is what else to include? Much of the book would probably be along the lines of the website – a general introduction, notes on the different regions of Portugal, maybe some highlights – both places to visit and certain roads that you’d never find just from looking at a map. Some advice on practicalities – like the logic (or lack of) behind Portuguese road numbering and ideas on things like where to stay.
But is it a guide for roadies, tourers or both? (I don’t think I’m qualified to advise on mountain biking.) Do I include the campsite guide from the website or should that be a separate book? I still don’t think anyone else has got a better guide to campsites in Portugal but I know I probably need to update it and check all the links still work.
What about routes? Portugal is a small country but it’s got such potential for cycle touring. We run our guided tours in several regions but, except maybe in the Alentejo, it’s still very rare for us to encounter other riders on some of the little back roads we use. On the other hand, do I really want to share all of my favourite roads by telling the world about them?
So, that’s my musing out of the way. I’d love to hear from anyone with any thoughts on what they would want to find in a cycling guide to Portugal. Comments below, via Facebook or email me firstname.lastname@example.org