Cycling Portugal, Rides & Routes

Maps Or More?

There are now two choices for anyone interested in Pedal Portugal’s route planning service – the original ‘maps-plus’ option or a simpler (and cheaper) ‘maps-only’ service.

I started my route planning service back in March 2016 and have been helping riders put together self-supported tours across Portugal for the past three years.

The former Roman city of Idanha-a-Velha, with Monsanto in the distance – stops on Graham’s tour

My first customer was Australian rider Graham Norton who wanted a five-day trip through the inland Beira region, going from Guarda to Castelo Branco. I got an 11 out of 10 score in a subsequent review from Graham, who added: “Why better than perfect? Because he also arranged for perfect autumn weather and the only day it was overcast and with slight rain was on the allotted rest day!”

Since then, I’ve put together maps and route info for around 20 cyclists, ranging from a selection of day rides out from a particular town to tours in various regions of the country.

I’ve had hardcore riders like Dmitry who covered pretty much the whole southern half of Portugal in six days, riding up to 235km in a day, and Dawn who was riding 80-160km on alternate days while training for an Ironman event. Others have taken things a bit more easily, pottering around seeing the sights and riding a more civilised 60-80km per day. 

Inside Tomar’s Convento de Cristo

A more recent project was for Ruth, who was heading north from Lisbon and wanted to ride one of the Camino routes up to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

For Ruth I designed an eight-day route that involved a train out of Lisbon to Santarem and then generally following the inland Camino north via Tomar and other stops on the pilgrim trail to Baiona in Spain.

I’ve been cycling across Portugal for well over 10 years now and most of my route planning involves using roads I’ve ridden on myself – sometimes as part of one of our guided tours.

Wherever possible I try to send riders on the quietest and most scenic routes – which is why I always try to have a good dialogue with customers about their plans, the kind of places they want to see and visit and how far and hard they want to ride before putting any routes together

Until this year, my route planning service involved putting together bespoke maps (using RideWithGPS) and written directions giving detailed notes on navigation, things to see, places to look for cafes etc.

That can take a lot of time and – as not everyone needs this level of information – I’m now offering two levels of service.

The Maps-plus option provides the same level of detailed tour planning as before, while Maps-only is basically that…plus any required advice on logistics like bike hire and how to get to the start point of a trip.

For more information, please take a look at the route planning page – where there’s details of the prices I charge and a questionnaire for anyone interested in using the service. Plus some other reviews from past customers.

For newcomers to Portugal I’d also recommend taking a look at our Top 10 Tips.

My kind of road

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