Spring is in the air…Let's ride!

Kalimera as the locals say, and a good morning it is, it’s the first of March, officially spring and the Greek weather is once again keeping its end of the bargain; beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine and a pleasant 21 degrees. What does any self respecting cyclist do on a day like this? That’s right, go on a ride! And why wouldn’t you, with thousands of miles of coastal roads looking out over the endless blue sea, mountainous climbs, lush green forests, inland lakes and windy country lanes, Greece is a cyclist’s heaven. We are looking at Lake Paralimni, 30 km west of Chalkida on the mainland. Strava route builder tells us that it’s a steady 100km loop without too much climbing, a fair amount of coastal road before skirting round the edge of the lake. It would be my first time in this area so I was curious to see what the scenery and of course the roads would be like, once again I was not to be disappointed.   After passing through Chalkida and over the old bridge connecting Evia with the mainland I headed towards the coast, while out of season and quiet the coastline and beaches were as beautiful as ever, the kilometers just get eaten up on roads like these as you gaze out over the ocean, thoughts and dreams taking over your mind, I glanced at my GPS, we were clocking a brisk 26 kph, aided by a slight tailwind maybe, but with views like this, it really felt effortless It was however to get better, and another less well known side of Greece was about to show itself as we headed inland towards the lake. We saw the obligatory sight of sheep and goats on the road on numerous occasions, but as we went on the mountains opened up to reveal a vast array of colors, yellows, reds, browns, blue and every shade of green you can imagine, all spread over rolling hills and vast valleys surrounding the lake. Of course every country has its own beauty, but I never fail to feel how lucky I am to be able to have this on my doorstep, and more importantly to be a cyclist here. I feel sorry for those that have only witnessed views like these through a car window, while still impressive, for me when on my bike everything seems magnified and I appreciate so much more the beauty than before I started riding, maybe it’s being “closer” to nature, the smells, sounds and everything that comes with it, or maybe it’s the feeling that I’ve actually ” earned the right” to enjoy a view like this the hard way? Maybe with each pedal, with each bead of sweat and with each lonely moment out on the road, things seem more beautiful, when I say this to non cyclists usually I am met with a blank stare of non understanding, of course I know the words ” he’s obsessed” are going through their minds, but that’s ok, let’s keep moments like this just for us cyclists! We stopped at the small village of Mouriki for a coffee and a traditional cheese pie before heading home via Oropos and a short ferry ride back to EretriaHungry, tired and satisfied we arrived home. Time for a Jacuzzi, a cold beer and BBQ lamb! Article by www.greekcycleholidays.com