Do you have an exciting tale to tell of your two wheeled journeys? Share your inspiring experience with the world right here!
Some of the best bike touring stories are not all about the bike or even the ride, but about the people you meet along the way, and the experiences you have, the emotions you feel and the memories you forge!
A classic bike tour that never fails to elicit all of the above is of course the epic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, but some of my own unforgettable rides have been much closer to home. How about you?
Below are a few of my favourite and most inspirational bike tour stories, that simply put the joy of pedaling in me. But we would love to hear about your most memorable experiences on a bicycle!
In these Corona virus times, one of the big problems for small travel businesses like ours is the lack of confidence that uncertainty brings.
Some of our new clients were concerned about booking with a "young" company, so we asked the original founder to tell you all about the very beginning - way back in 1986!
This time of the year always makes me remember CTTC's - or as it was known then, CYCLE PORTUGAL's - very first tour which began on Oct 16, 1986.
The date is burned into my memory for more than just sentimental reasons. First of all, we had no real experience with cycling tours (we just knew it was a marvelous idea) and we were exhausted from working so hard all year to find the perfect bike routes, picnic sites, hotels, restaurants and so on.
No one else, that we knew of, had ever designed a bike tour in Portugal, or anywhere else for that matter.
We had no one to copy (a grand old tradition in the bike-touring world). It was hard to decide in which region to do our inaugural tour, but in the end we settled on the Minho province in the north as we felt it was the most magical and "olde worlde".
And, we knew everyone loved "olde worlde". So we plotted our route through picturesque villages, lush vineyards and fairytale castles.
I designed the route maps which had more adjectives about the scenery than actual directions.
We planned to picnic almost everyday so that was an added treat for our clients.
The tour group turned out to be a large one, as the office in the US had decided to sell it for a special price, being the inaugural tour and all.
I almost fainted when I walked into the hotel lobby that first morning. There seemed to be hundreds of eager cyclists.
To make matters truly complicated, that was the year a terrible freak hurricane hit Europe from southern England to, yes, you got it, northern Portugal.
For several days the weather was just blustery and rainy but the group bravely soldiered on - sodden picnics and all.
They were a jolly forgiving bunch who meshed together perfectly and decided that no matter what they were going to have a fabulous time.
God really does answer desperate prayers.
The people of the Minho couldn't have been more wonderful, as well.
In the various manor houses we stayed in, some of the owners organized programs with folklore dancing and music and others wine-tastings and tours of the wet vineyards.
The people in the little villages thought we must have been a racing team, albeit an odd one, with so many women and gray haired participants. But, what the hey, they energetically cheered us on and wished us well anyway!
On the last day's ride the heavens opened up and the wind took a deep breath and blew 2 bicycles off our roof rack. After retrieving them, we were the last vehicle allowed on the bridge, over the Lima River and into Viana do Castelo, before it closed.
Going out to dinner that night, we had to hitch up our skirts and pants legs and wade through the water in the hotel lobby and then through the driving rain to our cozy restaurant. By then, the worst had died down and we had a fabulous night toasting the fact that we'd all made it through.
The tour turned out to be a thundering success and many of our fearless group came back for seconds ...and thirds and fourths. Whew!
Written by Maggie Deffense
Founder of Cycling Portugal, mentor and tour writer for Cycling Rentals & Cycling Centuries Bike Tours
The Coronavirus has hit everyone hard, but as a genius once said: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving, and that is we what we want to do at Cycling-Rentals. You can help us! And to show our appreciation, we are making the following unique offers for bookings for next year:
Book any 2021 cycling tour holiday or long term bicycle rental before November 30th this year and get 20% off for each rider.
You can see the full details of these offers right here, and as always reach out to us if you have any questions!
Stay safe, stay healthy and keep moving!
Cycling Rentals is a "Clean & Safe" certified business! We are following the strict Health & Safety guidelines issued by the National Health & Tourism Institutes of Portugal. What does this mean for you if you plan on cycling with us?
Cycling Rentals is doing everything to ensure your experience is not only fun and unforgettable, but also clean and safe from Corona-virus. Specifically we are following the Clean & Safe protocol established by the Tourism Institute of Portugal:
Ou staff have received specific information and / or training on:
We have been in travel for over 20 years and to be sure, these are challenging times for us all. We have weathered challenges before and I know with your help we will bounce back.
We thank all of you who have kept your deposits with us, your support has been invaluable to us - as any small business owner knows, it is vital! We look forward to providing you with the unique experience of a cycling holiday in the near future.
Our priority is the safety and welfare of our clients, staff and partners, so for now our office is closed to the public and we are all working from home, but we are available as always to respond to your inquiries by phone, email or social media.
We have been actively contacting clients that have reservations with us in the coming weeks to work through rescheduling for a later date. Rest assured that we will respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible.
If your rental or cycling holiday is scheduled to start on or before April 30th please contact us to reschedule your trip. Rentals and cycling holidays starting on or after May 1st, please refer to the cancellation policy shown on your invoice.
Please continue to monitor travel recommendations with your home country’s foreign affairs office and follow preventative measures as directed by your local health authorities. As always, we strongly recommend travel insurance and in these times, cancel for any reason policies would be our choice!
Until authorities tell us it's safe, please do your part to help end this outbreak: stay safe, keep calm, wash your hands and do get out and ride!
Written by Catherine Deffense
Mother, cyclist & Co-founder at Cycling-Rentals.
Cycling In Portugal
Cycling In Spain
Bikes & Equipment