Musings of a Mountain Biker

Hi, Gilly here. Missed you last month whilst visiting family; it’s good to be back.

After one of those rare wet Algarve mornings, getting soaked through to my pants, my spirits were lifted spending a very enjoyable afternoon musing over all things BTT (all-terrain biking) with a fellow addict, Luís Barros. Of all places, I was in Almádena! Nothing against Almádena, but who knew this little village on the N125 was a hotbed of BTT activity?

Back in January last year, in my first musings, I referred to the Lagos cycling groups that helped to build and maintain the fantastic BTT trails around the city and the forest in Barão São João. Imagine my joy at chatting over a coffee with an active member of one of these groups, Associação Amigos de Almádena and Team Cucas (formally Team Bar Six). A kindred biking spirit, it was great to hear Luís speak with such enthusiasm about his involvement in local BTT events.

In the ten years from 2007 to 2017, the association hosted an annual ride, part of the Algarve Cup, where the whole village pulled together to welcome and feed c300 riders, lay the tracks in and around the forest, marshal the route on the day, manage the traffic, pick up the litter, etc. etc. etc. It sounded like a great fun event and a chance for the bike club to put themselves firmly on the BTT map. 

After a natural break due to the pandemic, this year, the association, in collaboration with the Câmera Municipal and another active club, Grupo Popular das Portelas, planned and delivered a new, bigger event – the Lagos Bike Aventura. Held over three days in April, it includes a 4km time trial in Lagos centre and two longer distance races (c75km each). It attracted a very respectable 70 riders, a fantastic result and the start of a new annual event.

As an avid explorer, the really interesting bit for me is the role Luís and his Cucas buddies play in riding out on a weekly basis to explore and ultimately set one of the 75km routes. We could have chatted for hours about finding new sections that build on the brilliant BTT routes, taking the riders to new corners of the forest and beyond and utilising the variety of landscapes for a challenging and exciting ride. We chewed the fat over the increased number of blocked trails, the supportive landowners and the highs and lows of GPS-led routes – I was in my element. Thanks, Luís for your time and wonderful conversation, and to your crew for the great work you do supporting BTT.

The joy of Almádena just kept giving! Following a tip-off from my buddy Deb, I called in to see the progress of a new project in the village – I had the pleasure of meeting Jerome Pannier. Originally from Belgium, Jerome has been in the Algarve for 12 years and is in the process of moving one of his businesses, a cycle hub, to Almádena.

Jerome has an impressive CV, with a Masters in Sports Science, is an avid surfer and snowboarder, has coached his national snowboard team and has years of experience in sports tourism, including established bike tourism here in the Algarve – how lucky are we to have more investment and expertise in this sector on our doorstep!

I was given a guided tour of the work in progress and take it from me, it is going to be good. There will be a café, terrace and on-site patisserie (Belgium beer and Belgium chocolate – what’s not to like?), bike clothing and accessory sales, bike sales and rentals, mechanics, bike wash, secure bike parking, e-bike charging and shower facilities, TV streaming of bike races and events, community riding groups, the list goes on.

The project is set to open in early July and you can follow the action at – definitely, one to incorporate into our routes, I wish Jerome and his team all the best.

As always, safe riding and have fun!

If you have a BTT club, event or associated business and would like to share your details, please get in touch at 


Share this edition