An open letter to the bike industry – Keep doing what you’re doing

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The bike industry created this. Nuff said!

We probably all have that friend. You know, the one when 29er’s came out had a hissy fit about the bike industry just doing it to make us spend money. Normally they also bang on about how their trusty 26” bike or steel road bike was better in every way. They probably had the same strop when fat bikes, carbon, 650b, 29+, 27+ or new (insert any brand you like) BB or headset standard came out. I agree with them and I think they are right; the bike industry does want our money. However what’s wrong with that? I love my 29er, really want a 29+ and have a myriad of different BB and headset standards on my bike collection. Continue reading

Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 6: Villa du Conde – Ponte de Lima – 47.5mi 2,648ft

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Evil lampposts & Beautiful Bridge

After having a shower in the run down holiday camp showers (pure luxury!) I had to find my way back to the Camino since I had veered off the route to get to the beach. It was easy to find again but me being me I almost instantly went the wrong way and headed down the coastal route instead. Once realising the error it meant a 20k backtrack to the days route. Me getting lost or going the wrong way seemed to be as common as the yellow arrows pointing the right way. Clearly I had developed the skill of not seeing yellow anymore seriously the trail couldn’t be easier to follow so please don’t think its hard, I’m just useless. Continue reading

Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 5: Oliveira de Azemeis – Porto & Villa du Conde – 49.9mi 2,838ft

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Today I was focused as Porto and the beach were so close and all I wanted was swim in the sea and drink beer. Therefore I put my foot down to get there as soon as possible. Stu and Helen prior to the trip had told me about a campsite next to the beach in Villa du Conde that was to be my final destination of the day. However I don’t think I found the right one, unless a crowded rundown holiday camp was the correct place. Continue reading

Summer Will Return

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Summer may feel like its a very long way away, however the motivation to get out now is still there. Helps that it’s hardly been cold down here on the South coast! Wishing you a good weekend of riding with buddies and getting those miles in.

Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 4: Coimbra to Oliveira de Azemeis – 57.4mi 3,655ft

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Although uneventful, today had a few moments of delight with glorious views, sweeping rivers and cobbled streets. I didn’t take so many pictures although probably should have done.

About halfway today, I came across a beautiful river, amazing bridge and a large pond full of weed. On this pond an old man was piloting a large red weed remover/dredger to clear it out. It of course was a beautiful place to stop and have a break. However just before you reach this lovely spot, you cross over a main road into I guess the car park for here. On the side of the road was a tall, high-heeled lady wearing a very small red leather skirt. Continue reading

Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 3: Alvaiazere to Coimbra – 40.4mi 2,859ft

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Time for day 3 and it was going to happen eventually, I got lost. Now normally this wouldn’t be a surprise but when I had a GPS, a million yellow arrows and a guidebook, there really was no excuse other than lack of observation skills by myself. The route I was using (John Brierley’s Camino Portugal) also shows some road routes that avoid some of the steeper off road bits, it was one of these I took by blindly following my GPS. It turns out the route I had downloaded had a few of these anomalies and certainly wasn’t the last detour on this trip. Continue reading

Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 2: Santarem to Alvaiazere – 63.7mi 3,620ft

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Santarem Vista and start of excellent singletrack

After the best bit of singletrack descent so far from Santarem to the valley below, it was time to start the second day of the trip. Today was the last of the flat; the route leaves the flood plains along the river and takes you up into the rolling hills. With the extra height came the heat and a change of scenery, there are still the vineyards and fields but also pine forest and miles dirt tracks. Continue reading