The rain is finally letting up and the weather has been good enough to contemplate some outdoor time. Lately in Lisbon, I have been noticing small pockets of bicycling enthusiasts popping up all over town. There are even some vintage bike stores opening up and a messenger servive called "Camisola Amarela," who are largely responsible for this small but burgenoning pedal "crush." It would be safe to say that Lisbon is not a very bike-friendly city, with its slippery metal tram tracks, thigh punishing hills and irascible Portuguese drivers, you could even say the city goes out of its way to extend the middle finger to anyone brave enough to try to lay rubber to its road. So I want to salute those daring souls who I see out in the streets risking their lives in order to bring a little bit of Amsterdam , Barcelona, or even New York here. While I myself am still not ready to push out into the streets of Lisbon, I will do my part by attempting a route that is completely flat, next to the ocean and ends with caipirinhas at the beach. The best part is that I don't even need to own a bike to do it. Catching the train at Cais do Sodre to Cascais( a small beach town about 15 kilometers from Lisbon) I can pick up a bike the city lends out for free, provided I leave some form of valid identification. There are a couple of "kiosks" emblazoned with the words Bicais in the city where you can pick one up but the easiest is right in front of the train station in Cascais. Once I have my "hog" I head for the ocean and follow the coast line out of town. There are proper bike paths and the scenery is incredible and after about 8 kilometers I will arrive at one of my favourite beaches in the Lisbon area, Praia do Guincho(if it is a particulary windy day be warned that it will be 10 times windier once in Guincho). Today I ride! Leaving my computer and house slippers behind, today I ride with Joaquim Agostino(Portuguese cyclist) on my mind and try and make him proud with each downward push of my pedals...
You can see my whole route and map, brilliantly detailed by Bikely.com here.
Scenery along the way from Cascais to Guinco
The Atlantic vs Rock Formations
Photo of Joaquim Agostinho. He was champion of Portugal in six successive years. He rode the Tour de France 13 times and finished all but once, winning on Alpe d'Huez in 1979, and finishing 3rd twice. He died after colliding with a dog whilst leading the Tour of the Algarve.