You can sit and sputter in the car, especially these days, because then people just think that you are talking on the phone hands-free. “For goodness sake, just leave the potholes as they are, but make a “cycle path”.” I splutter happily to myself (because Mira has stopped listening for a long time).
As if you ever see someone cycling here!
Yes, on Sunday morning, when the weather is nice. Then you suddenly see these herds of men, groups of 6 to 10, chatting on their special sports bike. It was purchased specifically for this purpose and spends most of its time waiting patiently in the garage or shed. Perhaps in addition to the racing bike that only comes into action when it is the Tour de France.
For a originally dutch city girl, it is a source of laughter. The dutch cycle in a completely different way than the portuguese. For the dutch it is a means of transport; the portuguese loose the trans. (nonono, not that trans …!)
The groups of men cycle widely across the road
That’s allowed, because they wear brightly colored lycra, special shoes and a helmet. Plus, they have to go through god-knows-what topics, so they need space. You only see them on Sunday mornings, around ten o’clock.
They don’t feel like getting up early on Sundays, and they don’t go very far either. With a long detour to a cozy pastelaria – a bakery with extras – come and experience it yourself if you want to know – where by eleven many people have already had breakfast, and the senhora behind the counter was just hoping for five minutes of peace. But unfortunately, there you have a herd of cyclists.
Because they have been cycling so fast and their throats are dry from all the chatting, they are allowed a drink. After all, it’s Sunday, they have been working out (just look at their clothes) and one can exaggerate everything.
Perhaps there are a few officials at the Municipality of Figueira da Foz, which includes Alqueidão, amongst them. There they decided that it would be a good idea to paint a green line on the road on either side with a bicycle at regular intervals. The green line is almost invisible after a few months, but fortunately you can still see the white bicycle.
It’s a good thing they added the bycicle, because at first there was only that green line, and everyone was wondering what on earth that was for. It didn’t seem like a signal for the edge of the road, it’s of no use at all in the dark, and it’s too far to the center. After weeks of speculation, those white bicycles were added.
“Aaaah!” now the green line was finally understood, “and are they supposed to continue cycling exactly on that line?” someone joked – not the owner of the local pastelaria, of course. S(h)e’s careful not to make edgy jokes; such a group of cyclists significantly increases the turnover for the week! And no, it is apparently part of the Euro-Velo-1 – a cycling path along the coastline from north to south.
What is certainly not part of the Velo-1 is the cycle path from village Samuel to the cemetery. What is intended by this…? A super nice cycle path, red asphalt, lined with posts, beautiful lights in the middle of the road (for cars); it goes from nothing to nowhere and is about 500 meters long. In the middle of nowhere. Perhaps a wet dream of an overworked civil servant from the municipality of Montemor?
In the municipality of Soure they make it even more colorful
If there were any cyclists, they must be made of steel. (Or they’re dutch because the dutch stop at nothing when it comes to cycling.) Not only do they cycle in a country where they’re not used to cyclists at all, they also have to compete against traffic.
When you enter Soure, by car of course, you will see two lanes in your lane. One red, one orange. The one closest to the sidewalk is for oncoming traffic, the one closest to the cars drive in the same direction as the cars.
Whichever official came up with this has never even seen a bicycle up close!
So it’s not without reason that those Sunday morning cyclists wear bright yellow-psychedelic red-grass green-bright blue, it does have a function. If not, you’re roadkill in no time.
In short, Portugal is not a cycling country (I say this as a former dutchperson)
At most, you will see some cycling herds on Sunday mornings.
Nevertheless we are hosts on friendsonabike because you can bike around quite amazingly but you have to know how and what! Something civil servants don’t appear to know quite well ….
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.
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