Record five-day motorbike trip by Algarve Senior Bikers
In mid-May, a group of five intrepid riders from the Algarve Senior Bikers (ASB) hit the road to explore the Alentejo region between Setúbal and Juromenha at the Spanish border. Hot sunny weather, empty winding roads through beautiful landscapes, the famous Alentejo cuisine and several cultural highlights made the tour a unique event.
The ASB group met in Porto Côvo at the Costa Vicentina and spent the first night in Setúbal after crossing, on a river ferry, the beautiful Sado estuary that is home to many storks and waterbirds.
In the early morning, we relished the curvy and picturesque roads of the Serra da Arrábida west of Setúbal and afterwards passed through the irrigated rice fields of the Coruche Plain.
The very knowledgeable Dr. Carlos from the Cork Oak Observatory gave us a guided tour through the museum explaining the particular characteristics of the traditional cork industry that is so important for the Portuguese economy.
Deep into Alentejo, small winding roads led the group through the colourful landscape made up of open montado forests, vineyards and cattle pastures. We spent our second night in the picturesque village of Brotas at the Casas de Romaria, some small cottages that are managed by the enthusiastic Sra Maria and furnished in traditional decorative Portuguese style.
The Fluviário de Mora gave us an interesting introduction to the aquatic environment of Alentejo rivers and lakes. Temperatures of up to 33ºC in the afternoon made the ride challenging but would not deter us from exploring the marble extraction region around the beautiful villages of Borba, Vila Viçosa and Estremoz, where we visited the farmers and antiques market on Saturday morning.
In Estremoz, we found that the laid-back charm of this remote region comes at a price. After tasting the famous Alentejo dishes and wines in the town centre, we did not manage to hail a taxi as all taxi drivers had gone home by 10pm. Well, we did not have a choice and walked 4km to reach our hotel.
After four days of riding and nearly 1000km, the group made its last stop in Moura, a charming traditional Alentejo town which was holding its annual Feira de Maio.
May ride from São Brás de Alportel to Alte
Meantime, it was an excellent turnout for the May ride from São Brás de Alportel to Alte. So many ASB members turned up that there was enough to warrant the forming of three groups. The leaders on this occasion were Philippe Payen, Eric Desurvire, and David Shirley who took a slightly different route.
All groups enjoyed great views from the hills to the coast from the quiet roads above Tavira before arriving at Casa de Pasto for a refreshing cold drink on a day when the temperature reached 32ºC.
The group continued west through Cachopo and Barranco Velho to arrive in time for lunch at O Folclore. The wild boar stew was the favourite choice. There were some beautiful bikes on the ride including the gold Triumph trike of guest rider Stephen Quy.
The next rides will be on June 3 from the same meeting point in São Brás de Alportel and will finish in Castro Verde for lunch, and on June 23 from Silves for lunch in Marmelete.
For more information, visit https://algarveseniorbikers.com
By WALTER KOLLERT