Maree & Jack cycle Portugal and walk Spain travel blog

The tunnel through the walls in daylight. Note the traffic light .

The intrepid trio about to set out on the first day.

Still quiet in Vila Nova de Cerveira where we had our morning...

A typical Portugese cemetary. Notice the very old Mausoleums on the right...

A happy cyclist - that electric leg makes a difference.

A delicious lunch by the beach lovingly prepared by Cristina.

Jose and Maree and corn as high as a cyclist's eye.

Riding the boardwalk alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

Inside the splendid Sanctuary Saint Luiza. People without a car can get...

The view from our room showing the Sanctuary of St Luiza and...

Hooray!! We both slept better and only woke briefly during the night. I had a bit of a headache and had to take some drugs to ease my pain. Waking at six thirty we did most of our packing and dressed in our cycling gear then went for a walk around the fort because breakfast wasn't until 8:00am. The village inside the fort had some buildings dated to 1250 AD and of course some more modern stuff. The rows of walls protecting the fort would have made a difficult task for any potential attacker. Jose and Cristina joined us for breakfast which was a nice continental breakfast supplemented with some muesli and yoghurt.

Our next task was to set up the bikes. I had taken measurements of seat to handlebar and pedal to handlebar distances and even brought along my own tape measure. I also brought Maree's pedals with their Shimano R easy to use clip system. Jose set up the bikes according to my measurements and, to my relief, Maree said the bike felt 'just right'. Now came the big test, how was she going to cope with a heavier bike (due to motor and batteries) with the pedal assistance. No need for me to have worried. she rtook to it like a duck takes to water. The pedal assistance has 4 levels which Jose likened to having between one and four hands pushing you along; but you have to pedal there is no assistance if you stop pedalling. He suggested to leave the assistance at level one most of the time to counteract the added mass of the bike.

We cycled out of the fortress along smooth cobbled roads at 9:25am and made our way along a busy main road for a few kilometres until Jose turned down a side road. For the next 18 km we cycled along quite suburban and rural roads, mostly flat, until we reached Vila Nova do Cerveira where we stopped for a coffee and a relax. Maree said that she was feeling quite fine with both riding on the right, riding on the road and with the pedal assistance. Huge sigh of relief on my part! The next part of the trip took us along some smooth cobbled roads through fields of corn as high as a cyclists eye which looked like it's climbing right up to the sky. I did burst into song I must admit because the day was going so well. A little while later on a particularly sharp, gravel turn Maree had her first small fall. Nothing but her pride was hurt. She is not comfortable with sharp manoeuvres and this isn't helped with a bike whose centre of gravity is higher than normal. We continued, riding over rough cobble roads, smooth cobbled roads some gravel roads and even a timber boardwalk. Jose has certainly found some interesting routes. Lunch was near the sandy beach at Vila Praia de Ancora. Cristina had fresh bread, prosciutto, a lovely soft textured sheep cheese and a garden salad waiting for us. We finished this off with some sweet melon and biscuits. Delightful and filling!

After lunch Jose took us through a network of small roads which were partly smooth asphalt and partly rough cobbles. This continued for quite a few kilometres and we were glad of the front suspension which saved our fillings. The temperature had climber somewhat by now and it was getting a bit harder de to the rough road surface. At one point, near the beach, Jose called out 'stopping' but Maree didn't hear and suddenly realised that we were coming to a halt she slowed but had her second fall. This time the handlebar banged her leg and so she is sporting a few spectacular bruises. However, once again she was not deterred and rode on. In the back of her mind was the worry that she would let us down at the end of the ride when we had a 200m climb in just 4km up to our posada. She need not have worried! At the start of the final climb Jose suggested for her to use assistance level 4 (4 hands pushing) and Maree set off up the hill. She left us both for dead!!! I pedalled furiously to keep up and found myself falling further and further back. It was about a 6% average climb on smooth cobbled road and I ended up dead last when we got to the Sanctuary church almost at the top. Maree wasn't even puffing. We paid a quick visit to the church before heading even further up to our accommodation. A shower and some clothes washing was followed by a relaxing cup of tea and a gin and tonic.

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