Musings of a Mountain Biker

By Gilly Grateley

Hi, Gilly here, I have a super coastal route to share with you this month but first things first – did you know you can get insurance for your cycling activities here in Portugal? I didn’t, but thanks to my riding buddy Deb, I do now, and after a quick trawl of local providers I thought I would share what I have learnt with you.

Insurance falls into four categories: cycling association or group insurance (typically available through cycling clubs to provide a comprehensive insurance for professional riders, competitions and events), insurance for your equipment, medical expenses and personal liability.

I found that in most cases equipment is covered on your household insurance. If you are lucky enough to have an expensive high-end bike, you need to ensure it is listed separately on your policy, which may increase your premium. 

What I didn’t know prior to this research is my household insurance covers me for personal third-party liability and this includes riding my bike! I don’t think all policies cover this as standard, so you should check with your own provider. 

For leisure riders like me (who got knocked off my bike last year, another story for another time), I’m sure the priority is the medical cover. I have suffered superficial injuries over the years and have received first-class care at the local accident and emergency hospital but topping this up could be an option. If you have private medical cover, then again you may already be covered; it’s worth checking if your policy covers you for this activity. 

In summary, if you have not already got personal liability or medical cover there are policies out there specifically designed for leisure cyclists, I found two that would have suited me, and they were both circa 50€ per year. 

Volta ao Algarve

Before I sign off, you might also be interested to know that the Algarve is again hosting the world-class 5 stage road cycling race, the Volta ao Algarve, between 16–20 February. 

Twenty-five teams, including five pro-teams and the highest-ranking world teams (think Ineos Grenadiers and Richard Carapaz, 2021 Olympic champion, or UAE Team Emirates and Tadej Pogacar, 2021 Tour de France winner – yes, potentially that good!) will cover 795 kms over the five days. With a hill climb to Picota, a 209 km day 3 stage from Alentejo to Faro and a 32 km time trial in Tavira, there will be lots to see. I will be following the first stage from Portimão to a sprint finish in Lagos and I have included a link to the website below with the details and maps of the stages. If you cannot get out, who doesn’t love to see their hometown or village covered on the telly, the race is usually aired on Eurosport. 

Happy riding, stay safe and have fun.

Route of the Month

This month’s route to get out and explore is the Atlantic Coast Route 1. When you hear that this is part of a massive network of established cycle ways, covering 11,000 kms across six countries, you will understand if we break it down into smaller sections to dip in and out of over the coming months and possibly years. 

I was walking in Carrapateira when I first spotted one of the signposts. Obviously, anything with a bike on it piques my interest, so I took a picture and set about googling it when I got home. I was absolutely amazed and delighted how easy it was to find the route details and maps. Starting at the North Cape, it follows the coast down through Norway and on through the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and crosses the entire length of the Algarve from Vila Real de Santo António to Sagres, before heading up the west coast of Portugal to Caminha in the north. Amazing, I know, but this bit will blow your brain even further – the ACR1 is part of an even bigger network of 17 long-distance cycling routes criss-crossing Europe and covering almost 90,000 kms!!!!! 

I have left a link at the bottom to the website I found, which details the Portuguese part of ACR1, broken down into 18 linear rides with maps, distances and details of places of interest. 

It appears that on my walk I had stumbled across section 4, which is 52 kms from Sagres to Aljezur; the first three sections of the Portuguese leg make up the Ecovia do Algarve, 214 kms crossing all 12 counties in the Algarve from east to west. Equipped with my new Garmin GPS tracker (thanks Santa), I am planning to check them out and will report back next month. 

Likewise, if you have knowledge of this route and even better pictures and tips then please get in touch


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