Aveiro to CoimbraOctober 3, 2015 in Portugal
Saturday morning we once again packed up our things, unfolded our bikes and hit the road at around 9:00 towards our next destination, Coimbra (pronounced Kuweem-bray).
As was the case on Thursday, the temperature was a cool 14ºC, but today the skies were overcast as we started the ride. Since the only biking top I brought with me is sleeveless, I have to admit, I found it to be a little chilly.
Once we managed to find our way out of the city, we settled into a nice slow rhythm along route N-335 and I quickly forgot about the chill in the air.
When we arrived in Porto, one of the first things I did was to re-inflate our bikes' tires using my little hand pump. According to the manufacturer, you're supposed to be able to get up to 125 psi out of it and, since our tires only need a maximum of 90 psi, I figured we were good to go. I don't know, maybe I need to work out more, but there's no way I could get the pressure up higher than about 70 psi. Traveling distance, up steep hills carrying 20 lbs of weight on the rack with spongy tires makes for an unhappy Brenda, so we stopped at a gas station to top things up. After a couple of minutes of my futile attempts at trying to figure out how to use the pump, the station attendant, a very sweet Portuguese woman who was perfectly fluent in French, came out and not only explained how the pump worked, she filled up all four of our tires! And the kicker was that unlike in Canada, the gas stations here don't charge you for air. She wished us bon voyage and bom dia and went back to her routine.
After about 25 kms on N-335, Google maps told me to take a left, off the main road.
Now, the problem with Google Maps here in Portugal is that the biking route option is unavailable. I could choose the vehicle route, but that typically takes you along highways that are off limits to cyclists. The other option, the one I chose, is the pedestrian route that sometimes has us going the wrong way down one-way streets or around the wrong side of a roundabout.
Today, after about 5 kms of riding southeasterly away from N-335, Google maps told me to turn onto a narrow dirt road that appeared to be in about as good condition as a Montreal street in late March. Hmmmm, maybe we'll just keep going.
After trying to lure me onto similar dirt paths four more times, Miss Google finally brought me to N-224 and then N-111 that brought us right in to Coimbra. Our little detour cost us only about 5 additional kilometers, but it was well worth it.
Overall, the route was fairly flat, but there were a few decent hills that made us work hard to climb up, and were a real treat going down. The scenery was beautiful, particularly when we were off the main roads. The rolling hills were covered with grapevines, orange and lemon groves and olive orchards.
They're calling for some wet weather over the next few days so we're planning to wait for the rain to stop before we head out to our next destination.
Distance traveled today: 63.5 kms.
Moving time: 3:57
Average Speed: 16.0 kms
Elevation Gain: 389m
Total distance biked so far: 150 kms