Cycling in Portugal and Jon’s Sunburn

Laura cycling in England
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Goofy helmet!


My parents managed to sneak a couple of mountain bikes into the removal van to Portugal.

In the UK, I do quite a bit of cycling, I love it, but I’m pretty useless at it. We have the Great Stour Way on our doorstep where we live near Canterbury and for about three months of 2012 I was cycling about 60 miles a week to and fro to work. That is a lot of miles but I wouldn’t for one second think that I’m any good at riding a bike or at all fit.

I’m not an incompetent cyclist but I do get a bit nervous when cycling on the main road because of those death machines on wheels. Who wouldn’t? But there’s nothing quite like cycling in the Kentish countryside. I tend to just potter along at 5 mph (I might be under-exaggerating a little there) on my rusty old bike with my big goofy helmet. Just me and the world!


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Peniche. We cycled there, I promise!

Cycling in Portugal is a bit different. Where we are in Central Portugal the roads are much wider than in the UK and there are barely any cars on the road at all. Jon and I took the bikes down to the seaside town of Baleal, which is a popular holiday spot for surfers. There’s a very well developed cycle path that is about 3 miles long, going from Baleal along the coast to Peniche. About every 100 metres they had exercise equipment that you could use. I really should’ve got a photo of that! 

These are Jon’s legs after we got back:

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Please note that he is pulling his shorts up higher than normal in this photo!

And THAT’S why cycling in Portugal is different!

PS: I was going to publish this post yesterday but I had to get Jon’s permission to post the above photo. There are others that are much worse and more embarrassing but he wouldn’t let me post those. You probably wouldn’t want to see them anyway! 

Tags: cycling, jon

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  1. Reply

    I have been in touch with a couple of cycling ‘friends’ living in Portugal & we hope to make the trip ourselves in March 2018. To discover that the cycling is free of a lot of vehicles is a plus I am looking forward to however am I correct to understand that the local drivers are pretty reckless?

      • Laura
      • December 27, 2017

      Hi Glen! Cycling is becoming quite a big thing in Portugal. At the weekends you will see groups of cyclists with all the gear speeding through towns and cities. There isn’t much traffic at all where my parents live in Central Portugal but you are right, the drivers can be reckless. It is a mix of drink drivers (avoid biking on Sundays for that reason) and bad drivers who are not aware of cyclists, but if you keep your wits about you then you’ll be OK. You should definitely make the trip nonetheless :)

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