March 26, 2024

Day 89: South of Almonte (Cycling)

I initially adventured out on to a section of off road but soon realised that thus was not a wise idea. I had ridden it previously without issue but soon realised that the previous day's rain had softened up the track and so, riding my bike with 32mm slick tyres with a tyre pressure of around 55psi was a bit reckless- I executed a u-turn and joined the road instead.

The ride ended up being a cycle of two halves.

First Half:

The first half was mainly on roads with a hard shoulder. The first of two roads (both long and straight!) was much busier than I expected and, I did not enjoy riding on it. But, it got me to the coastal resort of Matalascañas:
Note the direction in which the flags are flying - obviously I had to be turning right!

Here's a photo of the beach:

And, here's one of the lighthouse with radar on its top!

On leaving Matalascañas the plan was to use the cycle path:

As you can see, it is more of a track than a path.

Given that I was heading into a strong headwind and the reduced speed of forward motion induced by cycling on the cycle track, I switched to the road (road two). Otherwise, I could see that my morale would plummet as I battered for about 25 kilometres (~15.5 miles) into a headwind whilst cycling on the track; when I could go almost twice the speed on the road!

Fortunately, the cycle track eventually turned in to what looked like new cycle path about 7 or 8 kilometres before Mazagõn, so l switched to it: (the path was smoother and faster than the road!):

Second Half:

I was a little worried about the second half of the ride because I didn't know what state the road surface was going to be returning from Mazagõn to the van. Also, the cycle heatmap indicated that the return leg was mostly not used by cyclists!

Well my concerns were unnecessary because it turns out the return leg was oh so much better than the outward bound leg. Admittedly the first sections of road were in a very poor condition, with a very high density of pot holes and even those repairs that had been made were either in need of further repair or had been repaired and in need of further repair!

However, I effectively had the whole road to my self so could plot a relatively smooth course around the pot holes! (Before arriving at the outskirts of Almonte, I only encountered about four vehicles in about 30 kilometres!)

Indeed, it seemed to me that I was travelling faster on the gravel roads than the "paved" roads: such was my speed that I nearly caught up with another vehicle (wind assisted of course!

Then, finally, I ended up on this very well maintained road:

One incident of note occurred on this road: I could hear a vehicle behind me getting closer as I approached a roundabout; as I entered the roundabout in the usual manner, the vehicle acceleratd passed me by passing through the centre of the roundabout! Yes, I was surprised!

So it turned out that I really enjoyed the second half of the ride, whilst not really enjoying the first half. It is very tempting to try out some of the other "roads" that appear to be less travelled by cyclists in this area.

Meanwhile, I arrived at the van (about 3pm) and the rain didn't materialise until about 7pm (the predicted late afternoon rain was a no show!)

  • Distance driven: 0
  • Distance cycled: 101 kilometres
  • Weather: It was only 9°C in the morning and, by mid afternoon it was about 14°C. There was a strong westerly wind, some cloudiness and some rain later in the day (currently at about 10.30pm it is not raining, but more is due early tomorrow afternoon).

Today's route: