enduro mag

MTB and surfing in Portugal – Where would WE be then?

Words: Julian Lemme Photos: João Mourão from WERIDE

Hey there. I’m Julian, Art Director for
ENDURO, GRAN FONDO and E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine.

Although my work is anything but monotonous, I find myself frequently falling into a routine, one that ends with my creativity in a headlock. Habits, it turns out, are probably the most quicksand-like element in the world. For this issue of the magazine, I knew it was time to break free of the shackles and find a new horizon – namely that of the Portuguese coast.

enduromag_weride_surf

The words ‘time to shine’ flash luminously on my phone’s lock screen. That’s the alarm, I realise groggily. I’m inside my van, tucked into a sleeping bag and cosily lying between my bike and a surfboard. At home, round about this time is when I switch on the coffee machine and hunch over my laptop, eyes flickering for hours on end between design layouts and cat videos. But today is different; I’ve got a banana and a handful of nuts for breakfast. I’m on the Atlantic coast and from the sliding door of the van, I can see there are just a few metres separating me from the sea.

enduromag_weride_surf
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
— Henry Ford

Want to read MORE?

Full story at ENDURO mag online:

https://enduro-mtb.com/en/mtb-surfing-portugal/


ENDURO MAG: RUN TO THE SUN: our top 6 winter riding destinations

Original review at ENDURO Mag here

Sick of gazing out the window as winter’s chill reigns supreme and the trails are a filthy, snowy mess? For those struggling to get out on the northern hemisphere’s wintery trails, think of us as your savior. We’ve compiled a list of the six best winter riding destinations. You can thank us later. 

If you want to keep riding throughout the long, cold winter, you’ve got to reach that pretty hefty decision of whether to go by car or plane for your riding holiday. Planes are your best bet if you want to jet out to the two small islands in the Atlantic that have evolved into veritable top riding spots: Madeira and La Palma. Another great option is a flight to Lisbon, from where you can explore the Sintra and Algarve region. Similarly, if you’re fortunate enough to have more than a week’s holiday, direct your sights to New Zealand where it’s now summer and you can give winter the two fingers from a safe distance. However, if four wheels and Italian flair are more your thing then the classic bike mecca of Finale Ligure is worth considering. Our fifth tip? That’s the surprise entrant onto the list, and somewhere that’s always worth an outing.
 

LA PALMA

The volcanic island of La Palma is split into two markedly different climate zones by a central mountain ridge, with one side being a serious sun magnet. Here you’ll find descents that drop 2,000 metres of altitude and take you through wildly diverse vegetation and micro-climates, so don’t be surprised to start in below-freezing temperatures from Roque de los Muchachos before hitting over 20°C as you roll towards the beach at midday. The trails have a bit of everything, and definitely aren’t the easiest one around so you won’t get bored. Given the aggressively-edgy lava rocks and fine sand, it’s wise to pack robust tyres and replacement brake pads for any trip here. Seriously, La Palma is even that good that pro rider Daniel Schäfer spends half the year here.

Guiding & Hotel: Atlantic Cycling/Magic Bike
When to travel: Oktober–April
Where to fly: Santa Cruz
 

MADEIRA

Over the past few years Madeira has evolved into a genuine insiders tip for riding.Thanks to the efforts of the local scene, there is now a huge choice of diverse trails on the island with super quick ones on fine, earthy ground right through to rocky, technical trails. As the last few hundred metres of altitude drop down to the sea tends to be eye-poppingly steep, you’ll find most of the trails above 600 metres altitude. A bike with 160 mm of travel is going to be your best pal out in Madeira, and given the steep climbs you’ll be shuttling a lot of the uphills.

Guiding & hotel: Bikulture/Freeride Madeira
When to travel: October–April
Where to fly: Funchal
 

SINTRA and ALGARVE in PORTUGAL

The ocean that batters the Portuguese Atlantic coast is rough and wild – not so the climate. Even in winter, the temperatures are consistently above 10° and there’s very little rainfall, offering great conditions for riders throughout the year. The regions Sintra and Algarve are well known for their wonderful trails, picturesque beaches and Portuguese flair. With a very active local riding community constantly adding new trails to the network, fun can be found from the eucalyptus forests all the way to the coast. While these are not strictly ‘official’ trails, conflicts with hikers are never an issue and riding is positively encouraged. However, most of these trails are not signposted, so you’ll be well advised to get some help from local guides like Hugo, João, and Luis Pedro from WERIDE.

Guiding, shuttles, hotel recomendations and great rental bikes: weride.pt
When to travel: All year round, preferably spring and autumn
Where to fly: Lisbon or Faro
 

FINALE LIGURE

That quiet period just moments after the circus of the Enduro World Series departs Finale Ligure is exactly when you want to get this spot on your radar. It’s the ideal coastal resort for more northerly-based riders who are just not into winter. Thanks to the mild temperatures, it’s virtually a year-round riding destination with low temps of around 10°C. The trails directly on the coast are gnarly and rocky, and the true gems are set a little bit further inland. Head out from the Nato base and enjoy drops of 1,400 metres in altitude on seriously dreamy trails to get back towards the sea. The off-season doesn’t mean boredom either; both Finale Ligure and Finalborgo have winding little streets in the old towns where you can kick-back and soak up la dolce vita.
Guiding & hotel: Finale Ligure Bikeresort

When to travel: October–November/April–October
Where to drive: best reached by car, head south from Milan
Where to fly: Genoa/Turin
 

NEW ZEALAND

A country that’s basically the polar opposite of Europe, New Zealand is on the other side of the world. So while we’re caught in the throngs of winter right now, they’re enjoying summer. Not into snow and the extra TLC your bike needs, then hop onto a long-haul flight. That’s what our intern Daniel did with his mates and they didn’t regret it. Loads of pro riders love to head to the region around Queenstown on the country’s southern island, and you might recognize some of the super diverse trails from the countless bike videos that have been shot there. The north island isn’t without its charm though, so it’s wise to give yourself at least a month to explore properly.

Travel tips: Brett Kennedy gives his take on the trails around Wellington.
When to travel:: October–April
Where to fly: Expect a good few hours in the airplane to Wellington.


HOME TRAILS

Why travel so far when winter can dish up some amazing days of riding? Those home trails that you might write off as boring get a new sheen and added challenge with a carpet of snow and the longer shadows of winter. Riding on a pump track is a hot-fire way to scrub up your skills and that feeling as the blood circulation returns to your frozen toes and fingers under the hot shower is simply indescribable. Our winter special is crammed with tips to make sure you get a ton of fun riding in the cold weather.

When to travel: all year. 
Text: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer/Trevor Worsey/Victor Lucas/JC Smith
Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer


ENDURO MAG: SPOT CHECK PORTUGAL - THE BEST BIKE SPOTS BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

WERIDE Enduro mag
Original review at ENDURO Mag here
ENG: Hard-core shredding meets pleasure biking: Portugal offers everything you could want from a mountain bike holiday, plus picture-postcard beaches, eucalyptus forests and incredible fruit brandy. Where can you find all this? Read on…
DE: Hard-Core-Shredden meets Genussbiken: Portugal bietet alles, was man sich von einem Bikeurlaub nur wünschen kann. Und legt dann noch Postkartenstrände, Eukalytpuswälder und fantastischen Obstschnaps obendrauf. Wo ihr was findet, lest ihr hier...

ENG: Sun, sea and amazing trails. Portugal has much to offer
DE: Sonne, Meer und feinste Trails: Portugal hat einiges zu bieten

ENG: “Tranquilo, tranquilo” – take it easy. This statement, often combined with a charming grin is a life philosophy in Portugal. The mixture of the Southern European lust for life, combined with a laid-back atmosphere can be found everywhere in the Atlantic air, enchanting most visitors from their first day of vacation. For mountain bikers, Portugal is a very serene country; and because hiking (unlike surfing) is not a national sport, you’ll hardly find any walking nature lovers in most mountain regions.

DE: „Tranquilo, tranquilo“ – immer mit der Ruhe. Dieser Ausspruch, meist mit einem charmanten Grinsen kombiniert, ist in Portugal Lebensmotto. Die Mischung aus südländischer Lebensfreude und einer großen Portion entspannter Lässigkeit liegt hier überall in der Atlantikluft und erfasst auch die meisten Besucher gleich am ersten Urlaubstag. Für Mountainbiker ist Portugal aber auch in anderem Sinne ein sehr gelassenes Land. Weil Wandern (im Gegensatz zu Surfen) hier kein Nationalsport ist, gibt es in den meisten Bergregionen kaum fußläufige Naturliebhaber.

ENG: Conflict between hikers and mountain bikers? The Portuguese don’t know what you are talking about! There is a lot of freedom in the hills and the small but extremely enthusiastic mountain bike scene knows how to use it. Especially the hot-blooded enduro, freeride and downhill-community who have created a varied network of trails in the mountains, hills and forests: from flowy to demanding, all with a high fun factor! The guys (female bikers are a rarity in Portugal unfortunately) fulfill their own trail dreams with a lot of zeal and Portuguese passion; and although the trails are more tolerated by the municipalities than legal, with almost no signposts, the trails are waiting to be discovered. Therefore, it is worth letting the local guides (such as Hugo, João and Luis Pedro from the guiding company WERIDE) show you the highlights, especially because they put together the ideal trail package for each guest or group based on personal riding style, experience, and trail preferences. No matter whether you have one day or two weeks to ride, WERIDE can design a trip to take in one or multiple areas of Portugal.

DE: Wegerecht-Konflikte zwischen Wanderern und Mountainbikern? Kennen die Portugiesen nicht. Diese Freiheit weiß die kleine, aber extrem enthusiastische Mountainbike-Szene zu nutzen. Vor allem eine heißblütige Enduro-, Freeride- und Downhill-Community zaubert allerorts flowige bis anspruchsvolle Trails mit hohem Spaßfaktor in Berge, Hügel und Wälder. Und das mit viel Eifer und portugiesischer Leidenschaft, wenn auch von den Gemeinden eher geduldet als legal. Ausgeschildert sind die Trails allerdings fast nie. Deshalb lohnt es, sich von Local Guides wie Hugo, João und Luis Pedro von WERIDE die Highlights zeigen zu lassen. Zumal die Jungs für jeden Gast das optimale Trailpaket zusammenstellen – nach persönlichen Vorlieben und egal, ob für einen Tag oder zwei Wochen, in nur einem Gebiet oder mehreren nacheinander.

ENG: We tested three of the best Portuguese mountain biking spots for you. Read below to find out more about their character: 

Text: Mila Hanke
Guided bike tours and shuttles: WERIDE.pt

DE: Wir haben drei der besten Bikespots in Portugal für euch getestet. Was den jeweiligen Spot auszeichnet, erfahrt ihr auf den nächsten Seiten:

Text: Mila Hanke
Guides, Shuttles und sehr gute Leihbikes über: WERIDE.pt


ENDURO MAG: SPOT CHECK PORTUGAL - SINTRA

WERIDE Enduro mag

Original review at ENDURO Mag here

1. SINTRA

ENG: The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park featuring the small mountain range of Serra de Sintra lies approximately 25 km northwest of Lisbon and is a relatively unknown biking paradise with a special mystic charm. Firstly, medieval castles and ostentatious cathedrals and palaces are scattered in the jungle-like hilly forest – no wonder the region was honoured with a UNESCO World Heritage title; the colourful and ornate buildings certainly add a magical atmosphere to each bike tour. Secondly, very committed local enduro and downhill riders have built around 25 trails into the forest of Sintra, uncovering overgrown farm tracks in the process to add to the growing network.

DE: Der Naturpark Sintra-Cascais mit der kleinen Gebirgskette Serra de Sintra liegt ca. 25 km nordwestlich von Lissabon und ist ein noch wenig bekanntes Bikeparadies mit besonderem Charme. Denn erstens sind in den dschungelhaften Hügelwald mittelalterliche Burgen und prunkvolle Kathedralen und Paläste verstreut, die der Region einen UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe-Titel eingebracht haben und jeder Biketour etwas Märchenhaftes verleihen. Zweitens haben hier engagierte Enduro- und Downhill-Fahrer rund 25 Trails in den Wald gebaut oder zugewucherte Bauernpfade freigeschnitten.

ENG: The result is a playful mix of natural trails with roots, switchbacks and rocks, garnished with drops, jumps, berms and even some North Shore elements. In Sintra you feel like you are in a big freeride park for all skill levels – but without chairlifts and in the midst of lush nature. Here renowned Colombian downhiller Marcelo Gutiérrez baptised the crisp descent “11th level”, creating a famous “Strava challenge” where downhillers from all over the world can come and try to beat Marcelo’s fastest time.

DE: Das Ergebnis ist eine verspielte Mischung aus natürlichen Trails mit Wurzeln, Kehren und Felsen, garniert mit Drops, Sprüngen, Anliegern und sogar dem einen oder anderen North-Shore-Element. In Sintra fühlt man sich wie in einem großen Freeride-Park für alle Könnerstufen – aber ohne Lifte, mitten in üppiger Natur. Der kolumbianische Downhill-Profi Marcelo Gutiérrez hat hier die knackige Abfahrt „11th Level“ bekannt gemacht, weil er mit einer Strava-Challenge dazu aufrief, seine eigene Zeit zu schlagen.

ENG: The region also offers less adrenalin-pumped biking experiences, including endless flow trails with panoramic views over the entire coast, finishing directly at the sea and beaches. Sintra also has other trump cards up its sleeve distinguishing the region from other European mountain biking spots – most notably the never-sleeping metropolis of Lisbon, just 38 minutes away by regional train from Sintra Railway Station.

DE: Die Region bietet aber auch weniger Adrenalinvollgepumptes: etwa endlos lange Flowtrails mit Weitblick über die gesamte Küste direkt bis ans Meer. Zudem hat Sintra noch weitere Trümpfe im Ärmel, die die Gegend von anderen europäischen Bikespots unterscheidet: Nur gut 35 Regionalzug-Minuten vom Bahnhof Sintra entfernt liegt die nimmermüde Metropole Lissabon.

ENG: Whether in daytime by foot, or on a night ride by bike, you can spend hours drifting through the narrow streets with charming faded facades to eventually stand in one of the many famous Fado bars, where you can look forward to typical dishes (for example one of the many variations of “Bacalhau”, Portuguese codfish), regional wines and of course some live Fado singers, the traditional melancholic Portuguese music. If you want to stay longer in Sintra and not just go biking, the Natural Park Sintra-Cascais also offers a large collection of rock faces for bouldering and rock climbing and beaches for surfing, all within a one-hour drive.

DE: Egal ob tagsüber zu Fuß oder bei einem Night-Ride per Bike – hier kann man sich stundenlang durch die Gassen mit den charmant heruntergekommenen Hausfassaden treiben lassen, um schließlich in einer der vielen Fado-Bars zu stranden: für typische Gerichte (etwa eine der zig Varianten des Bacalhau, des portugiesischen Stockfischs), Wein und den traditionellen, melancholischen Live-Gesang. Und: Wer länger bleiben und nicht nur biken möchte, findet im Naturpark Sintra-Cascais auch noch eine riesige Auswahl an Felsen und Stränden zum Bouldern, Klettern und Surfen, alles im Umkreis von maximal einer Stunde.

ENG: Helpful information at a glance

Best time to visit: Sintra is a year-round biking destination, but the most pleasant times for riding are spring and autumn. In September and October, the Atlantic is also warmer than in spring for those wanting to enjoy the ocean.

Good to have: Tubeless tires or many spare tubes, thorns and spines are commonplace on the trails. Good to know: Even in Lisbon you can find bike trails, just head to the city park Monsanto. To help you chat with the mountain biking locals: the Portuguese abbreviation for “MTB” is “BTT”: “Bicicleta Todo Terreno”.

Accommodation: “The Lodge” located a 10 minute walk from the beach “Praia Grande” has a large garden with cozy hammock spots, sauna, Jacuzzi, a great breakfast buffet and a self-catering kitchen. “The Lodge” is run by manager Ralph, a German immigrant and passionate surfer. Female bike travellers and couples will especially like “The Lodge” for its spacious garden, relaxed atmosphere and daily yoga classes (thelodgeportugal.com). Next door, also run by Ralph, is the slightly cheaper and just recently opened: Starpine Lodge (starpinelodge.com). For both accommodation options you can book weekly packages with climbing courses, surf lessons or bike tours. If you want to stay closer to the bike trails and the train station and go to the beach by bus or car, you will be better accommodated directly in Sintra town (located roughly halfway between the main beaches and Lisbon.) where there are plenty of cheap guesthouses and hostels to choose from.

Bars in Lisbon: “Marcelino Pão e Vinho” (Rua do Salvador, 62, Lisbon): A cute little restaurant in the Alfama district serving very good food on old records. Live music can also be enjoyed here on some evenings. Drink Tip: Try Ginjinha, a cherry liqueur, served in a wine glass, with a taste similar to Port wine. “A Tasca do Chico” (Rua do Diário de Notícias 39, Lisbon): Small cozy Fado bar in Bairro Alto district. Arrive early, it gets crowded quickly!

Guides, Shuttles and excellent rental bikes via: WERIDE.pt


DE: Alle Informationen im Überblick

Beste Reisezeit: Ganzjährig, am angenehmsten aber im Frühjahr und Herbst. Im September und Oktober ist der Atlantik wärmer als im Frühling.

Gut zu haben: Tubeless-Reifen oder viele Ersatzschläuche. Dornen und Nadeln gehören auf den Trails dazu.

Gut zu wissen: Auch mitten in Lissabon gibt es Biketrails, nämlich im Stadtpark Monsanto. Und zum Mitreden: Die portugiesische Abkürzung für „MTB“ lautet „BTT“, bicicleta todo terreno.

Unterkunft: Etwa 10 min Fußweg vom Strand Praia Grande entfernt liegt die schicke Outdoorsport-Lodge „The Lodge“ mit großem Garten, Sauna, Jacuzzi und Selbstversorger-Küche, betrieben von Ralph, einem deutschen Auswanderer (thelodgeportugal.com). Diese Anlage gefällt vor allem weiblichen Bikeurlaubern und Paaren. Nebenan, etwas preiswerter und erst vor Kurzem ebenfalls von Ralph neu eröffnet: starpinelodge.com. Bei beiden kann man Wochenpakete mit Kletterkursen, Surfkursen oder Biketouren buchen. Wer näher an Biketrails und Bahnhof wohnen will und zum Strand den Bus oder das Auto nimmt, übernachtet besser direkt im Ort Sintra (liegt etwa in der Mitte zwischen Stränden und Lissabon.) Hier gibt es jede Menge günstige Pensionen und Hostels.

Bars in Lissabon: Nettes kleines Lokal im Stadtteil Alfama: „Marcelino Pao e Vinho“. Sehr leckeres Essen, auf alten Schallplatten serviert. Drink-Tipp: Ginjinha, ein Kirschlikör, der im Weinglas serviert wird und wie Portwein schmeckt. Ab und zu abends Live-Musik (Rua do Salvador, 62, Lissabon). Kleine gemütliche Fado-Bar im Stadtteil Barro Alto: „A Tasca do Chico“ (R. do Diário de Notícias 39, Lissabon). Früh da sein, ist schnell voll.

Guides, Shuttles und sehr gute Leihbikes über: WERIDE.pt


ENDURO MAG: SPOT CHECK PORTUGAL - ALGARVE

WERIDE Enduro mag

Original review at ENDURO Mag here

2. ALGARVE

ENG: If you want to combine biking with lots of sun, picture postcard beaches and nightlife the Algarve is the right spot for you. The most southern coastal region of Portugal is famous for its year-round mild climate and lively beach life, not to mention: surfer bars, seafood restaurants, clubs and swanky marinas. All this attracts many tourists and the Algarve is definitely not a place to look for solitude; but the quaint idyllic hinterland is full of great mountain biking spots, where you can quickly escape the coastal hubbub. All spots are located within a 30 to 60 minute shuttle drive from typical holiday accommodation locations such as Albufeira. Each trail area has its own character, but in most spots the wide sea view will be part of the “Algarve biking experience”.

DE: Wer Biken mit viel Sonne, Postkarten-Stränden und Nachtleben verbinden will, der ist an der Algarve richtig. Die südlichste Küstenregion Portugals ist berühmt für ihr ganzjährig mildes Klima und ein quirliges Strandleben zwischen Surferbars, Fischrestaurants, Clubs und mondänen Yachthäfen. All das zieht auch besonders viele Touristen an, einsam ist man an der Algarve deshalb nicht. Doch im urig idyllischen Hinterland gibt es zahlreiche Mountainbike-Spots, in denen man dem Küstentrubel schnell entfliehen kann. Sie alle sind von Unterkünften in Ferienorten wie etwa rund um Albufeira 30 bis 60 Shuttleminuten entfernt, zu einigen kann man auch direkt mit dem Bike treten. Jedes Gebiet hat seinen eigenen Charakter – aber fast überall wartet der weite Blick aufs Meer.

ENG: Serra de Monchique: This mountain range is great for All-mountain and Enduro riders. Here the climate is cooler and more humid than at the coast and the runs are also longer than other Algarve spots. That’s because Monchique features the highest peak of the region: the 902 metre high Fóia. The mountain range offers trails for every taste and skill level: fast and flowy, some with built berms, drops and jumps (particularly around Marmelete), but also more technical trails with small rock gardens, roots, switchbacks and natural drops. To enjoy many of the longer trails in one day, the shuttle services are worth a call. Riders can also look forward to riding through lush green eucalyptus forest, orange groves and blooming meadows with gnarled cork trees on the flanks of ravines. Post-ride, join the locals in the pub at Marmelete, where the ambiance is just right for a celebratory Medronho, the traditional local fruit brandy or a cool Sagres, the most famous brand of Portuguese beer. By the way, you can also buy it in mini-bottles to take home.

DE: Serra de Monchique: Diese Bergkette ist ein tolles Gebiet für Trailbiker. Hier ist das Klima etwas kühler und feuchter als an der Küste und die Abfahrten sind länger als bei den anderen Algarve-Spots. Denn zu Monchique gehört auch der höchste Gipfel der Region, der 902 m hohe Fóia. Das Gebirge bietet Trails für jeden Geschmack und jedes Können: schnell und flowig, teilweise mit gebauten Anliegern, Drops und Sprüngen (besonders rund um den Ort Marmelete), aber auch technischer mit kleinen Rock Gardens, Wurzeln, Spitzkehren und natürlichen Drops. Um möglichst viele der längeren Trails an einem Tag erleben zu können, lohnt sich das Shutteln. Außerdem typisch Monchique: Man fährt abwechselnd durch üppig-grün berankten Eukalyptuswald, blühende Wiesen mit knorrigen Korkeichen, an den Flanken von Schluchten entlang und durch Orangenhaine. Urig: Zwischen den Einheimischen in der Dorfkneipe von Marmelete herrscht genau das richtige Ambiente für einen After-Ride-Medronho,den traditionellen lokalen Obstschnaps. Oder ein kühles Sagres, die bekannteste portugiesische Biermarke. Gibt’s übrigens auch in der Mini-Flasche zum Mitnehmen.

ENG: São Brás de Alportel: A little enduro track paradise which is easily accessible from Faro for an evening ride. Here the young local bikers eagerly build and optimise trails. Most of them are rather short, but the fun factor is high – and typical for all runs at São Brás is the wide sea view. This combination might be a reason why the Portuguese Downhill series “Portugal Cup DHI” chose to have one of its races here. Also there is no need to shuttle; you can pedal up as the altitude is pretty manageable. São Brás de Alportel is also the only spot near Faro, where you can bike even in or after rain, because the ground here does not turn into a tough muddy glissade.

DE: São Brás de Alportel: Ein kleines Enduro-Track-Paradies und z. B. ab Faro auch für eine Feierabendrunde schnell erreichbar. Hier bauen die jungen einheimischen Biker besonders eifrig Trails. Die sind eher kurz, dafür ist aber der Spaßfaktor hoch – und typisch für alle Abfahrten ist der weite Meerblick. Auch deshalb macht hier wohl die portugiesische Downhill-Serie „Portugal Cup DHI“ Station. In São Brás wird nicht geshuttelt, man pedaliert die überschaubaren Höhenmeter selbst nach oben, so oft man will. Außerdem ist dies der einzige Spot nahe Faro, an dem man auch bei Nässe biken kann, denn hier wird der Untergrund dann nicht zur zäh-schlammigen Rutschpartie.

ENG: Cerro Cabeço de Câmara: A hill not far from the coast, with fast, flowy and curvy fun trails. Good for a “first day of vacation-ride” to get used to the grip of the soil in this area – there is hardly any! These trails are also a nice option to combine with a sunset ride at Falésia (see below).

DE: Cerro Cabeca de Camara: Kleiner Hügel nicht weit von der Küste, mit schnellen, flowigen und kurvigen Fun-Trails. Gut für einen „Einfahr-Tag“, um sich an den (geringen) Grip dieser Gegend zu gewöhnen. Und schön zu kombinieren mit einem Sonnenuntergangs-Ride bei Falesia (s. u.).

ENG: São Miguel: Here experienced enduro and downhill riders can take advantage of shuttles to go up, before really going for it on the way down. These trails are fast, with rock sections, big drops and jumps. Besides full protection gear, a downhill bike and downhill tires are a must. Warning: In São Miguel the red soil has very little grip, so don’t get too fast and enthusiastic on your first runs. Also, during rain this area becomes virtually unrideable; the “red dirt” turns into soft soap which sticks firmly to bikes and tyres.

DE: São Miguel: Hier können sich Enduro- und Downhillfahrer shutteln und es richtig krachen lassen – auf schnellen Trails mit Felspassagen und ordentlichen Drops und Jumps. Für gute Fahrer sind in São Miguel Full Protection, Downhillbike und Downhillreifen ein Muss. Achtung: Die rote Erde hat hier extrem wenig Grip, auf den ersten Runs nicht zu übermütig loslegen. Wenn es regnet, ist dieses Gebiet quasi unfahrbar, dann wird der „red dirt“ zur Schmierseife und klebt batzig an den Reifen fest.

ENG: Falésia: Typical for this stretch of coast (very close to holiday accommodation around Albufeira) are the red soil and eroded cliffs. Falésia is not about hardcore runs (although there are a few steep challenges for those who look for it), instead it is a place to simply enjoy an easy pleasure ride with impressive sea views. Falésia is also a great place to relax after a more demanding biking day in the hinterland; enjoy a coffee or drink in a fancy marina bar and cruise towards the sunset along the cliff-top plateau. Another highlight is the 8 km long sandy beach of Praia de Falésia, a great swimming spot. This area is ideal for a relaxed afternoon trip with less experienced trail bikers or children.

DE: Falésia: Typisch für diesen Küstenabschnitt direkt an den Ferienunterkünften nahe Albufeira sind die rote Erde und die erodierte Steilküste. Hier geht es nicht um Hard-Core-Abfahrten, sondern um Genussbiken in der Ebene mit eindrucksvollem Meerblick. In Falésia kann man einen Hinterland-Biketag entspannt ausklingen lassen, sich in einer schicken Yachthafen-Bar einen Kaffee oder Drink gönnen und dann auf dem Steilküsten-Plateau dem Sonnenuntergang entgegencruisen. Zudem ist der 8 km lange Sandstrand Praia de Falésia ein toller Badespot. Und: Dieses Gebiet ist auch ideal für einen entspannten Nachmittagsausflug mit Kindern oder weniger trailerfahrenen Bikern.

ENG: Helpful information at a glance

Best time: Winter (pleasant daytime temperatures, but often very cold nights), autumn (when the Atlantic Ocean has warmed to the perfect temperature for a post-ride swim) and spring (to see blossoming trees and meadows). In the summer months the Algarve is rather too hot for bike rides, with temperatures around 30°C.

Good to have: Tubeless tyres or many spare tubes as there are lots of thorns on the trails. If you really want to shred on the challenging trails in São Miguel and São Brás, you will have most fun with a downhill bike and downhill tyres. 

Good to know: You can buy fresh oranges at street stalls everywhere, directly from the farmers. Oranges from the Algarve are considered the sweetest in the whole of Portugal! Also a “bica” (Portuguese espresso) in the small village pubs of the hinterland only costs around 80 cents to 1€. That makes short caffeine stops even more fun!

After-ride Spot: The “Wax Restobar” in Faro is right on the beach.

Rest day: The Ria Formosa is one of the largest sheltered lagoon landscapes in Europe. Paddling between the islands on a SUP board is a great experience! (algarvesup.com offers board rental and guided trips).

Text: Mila Hanke
Guided bike tours and shuttles: WERIDE.pt


DE: Alle Informationen im Überblick

Beste Reisezeit: Winter (tagsüber angenehm, allerdings oft sehr kalte Nächte), Herbst (dann ist der Atlantik zum Baden am wärmsten) und Frühjahr (dann blühen die meisten Bäume und Wiesen). In den Sommermonaten ist es bei Temperaturen um die 30 °C zum Biken eher zu heiß.

Gut zu haben: Tubeless-Reifen oder viele Ersatzschläuche, auch hier gibt’s viele Dornen. Wer es auf den anspruchsvollen Trails in São Miguel und São Brás richtig krachen lassen will, hat mit Downhillbike und Downhillreifen den meisten Spaß.

Gut zu wissen: An Straßenständen gibt es überall Orangen frisch vom Bauern. Und die der Algarve gelten als die süßesten in ganz Portugal! Außerdem: Eine bica (der portugiesische Espresso) kostet in den kleinen Dorfkneipen im Hinterland nur etwa 80 Cent bis 1 €. Da machen kurze Koffein-Stopps doppelt Spaß!

After-Ride-Spot: z. B. die "Wax Restobar" in Faro direkt am Strand.

Pausentag: Die Ria Formosa ist eine der größten geschützten Lagunenlandschaften Europas. Mit dem SUP-Board zwischen den Inseln hindurch zu paddeln: tolles Erlebnis! (z. B. über algarvesup.com)

Text: Mila Hanke
Guides und Shuttles: WERIDE.pt


ENDURO MAG: SPOT CHECK PORTUGAL - LOUSÃ

WERIDE Enduro mag

Original review at ENDURO Mag here

3. SERRA DA LOUSÃ

ENG: Terreiro das Bruxas – The Witches’ Field. This mystical sounding place is actually a famous picnic spot as well as a shuttle drop-off in the mountain range of Serra da Lousã. The densely forested mountain region is located about 220 km north of Lisbon and from the highest point (1,200 m) you have an impressive view over the hinterland of northern Portugal.

Wild boars and deer roam in the woods, but also (on separate paths) so too do hikers and mountain bikers. The locals emphasise that this is the birthplace of the Portuguese enduro and downhill community. In fact, the long descents in Serra Lousã offer fun for every taste and skill level, but also really “gnarly trails”. From rooty and flowy cross-country trails or fast enduro tracks to really steep downhill runs with high drops and jumps, bikers can look forward to riding through dense pine forest on soft forest soil. Some of the more difficult and super steep tracks also challenge riders with very technical loose rock sections and tight corners. Helpful hint: Most tracks are signposted here and colour-coded according to difficulty.

Because of the long descents and the shuttle services, Lousã is also a popular training ground for European enduro and downhill professionals. Each year the area hosts the Fox Enduro Race and the Avalanche Licor Beirão.


DE: Terreiro das Bruxas – Hexenfeld. Was ein bisschen mystisch klingt, ist ein berühmter Picknickplatz, aber auch Shuttle-Drop-off im Gebirgszug Serra da Lousã. Die dicht bewaldete Bergregion liegt etwa 220 km nördlich von Lissabon und bietet vom höchsten Punkt aus (1.200 m) einen eindrucksvollen Blick über das Hinterland Nordportugals.

In den Wäldern tummeln sich hier Hirsche, Wildschweine und Rehe – aber auch (auf getrennten Wegen) Wanderer und Mountainbiker. Die Einheimischen betonen: Hier ist die Wiege der portugiesischen Enduro und Downhill Community. Tatsächlich bieten die langen Abfahrten in der Serra da Lousã Spaß für jeden Geschmack und jede Könnerstufe, aber eben auch richtige "gnarly trails", von wurzelig-flowigen Cross-Country-Strecken über schnelle Enduro-Tracks bis hin zu wirklich steilen Downhill-Runs mit hohen Drops und Sprüngen. Immer geht es durch dichten Kiefernwald, über Waldboden oder bei den schwierigeren Abfahrten auch mal sehr technisch über lose Steinpassagen mit engen Kehren. Hilfreich: Die meisten Tracks sind hier ausgeschildert und nach Schwierigkeitsgrad farblich markiert.

Wegen der vielen Tiefenmeter und Shuttledienste ist Lousã auch ein beliebtes Trainingsgebiet für europäische Enduro und Downhillprofis. Jedes Jahr findet hier das Fox Enduro Race statt – und die Avalanche Licor Beirão.


ENG: Helpful information at a glance

Culture: The area is famous for its 27 traditional mountain-schist villages (“Aldeias do Xisto”), which are scattered over the hills, e.g. Talasnal and Casal Novo. In small pensions and holiday houses you can also stay overnight. Alternatively you can camp at picnic areas such as “Terreiro das Bruxas” (for one night you are allowed to wild camp anywhere) or book an organised camper trip with the bike guiding company “WERIDE” (see below).

Shuttles & Trail Info: Louzanpark” opened recently, providing a meeting and information point for bikers but also other outdoor sport and nature lovers who want to explore this mountain region, such as hikers and trail runners. Learn more about the offers of Louzanpark at montanha-clube.pt (contact – email under the heading “BTT”).

Restaurant tip: “Ti’Lena” in the schist village Talasnal is the perfect place for a truly quaint dinner in front of the fireplace. Register a day in advance, to give the current cook time to prepare (eponym “Aunt Lena” died recently at the age of 89). A great option is a dish of unbelievably tender lamb in red wine, very slowly cooked on fireplace coal for 24 hours. For more information contact lisetedeias@hotmail.com

Repair shop tip: Hidden, in a kind of backyard allotment hut in Lousã, Daniel Pombo has his repair shop. The brother of Portugal’s most famous downhill pro rider Emanuel Pombo is considered the “suspension god”; bikers from all over Portugal and even neighbouring countries send their forks and shocks to him for repair. Naturally, Daniel is also a really fast downhill rider and quite a successful racer too. Contact via his Facebook page or e-mail to dpx.racing@gmail.com

Bike shop: for normal spare parts, clothing, etc. visit: bicicletarialouzan.com

Guiding and multi-day packages with either guesthouse accommodation in one of the small schist villages or in a campervan: WERIDE.pt


DE: Alle Informationen im Überblick

Kulturelles Plus: Besonders machen die Gegend auch 27 urige Berg-Schieferdörfer ("Aldeias do Xisto"), die über die Hänge verteilt sind, z. B. Talasnal oder Casal Novo. In kleinen Pensionen und Ferienhäusern kann man dort auch übernachten. Alternative: Camping auf den Picknickplätzen wie Terreiro das Bruxas (für eine Nacht pro Standort darf man in der ganzen Gegend wild campen) oder ein organisierter Camper-Trip mit dem Mountainbike-Veranstalter "WERIDE" (s. u.).

Shuttels & Trailinfo: Vor Kurzem eröffnete "Louzanpark", eine Anlaufstelle für Biker, aber auch andere Outdoorsport- und Naturliebhaber, die diese Bergregion entdecken wollen, z. B. auch Wanderer und Trailrunner. Infos zu den Angeboten von Louzanpark über montanha-clube.pt (Kontakt - Email unter dem Stichwort "BTT").

Restaurant-Tipp: "Ti’Lena" im abgelegenen Schieferdorf Talasnal ist der perfekte Ort für ein wirklich uriges Abendessen vorm offenen Kamin. Einen Tag im Voraus anmelden, dann bereitet die jetzige Köchin (Namensgeberin "Tante Lena" ist vor Kurzem mit über 90 Jahren gestorben) z. B. ein einmalig zartes Lamm in Rotweinsoße vor: 24 h ganz langsam in Kaminkohle gegart. Kontakt über lisetedeias@hotmail.com

Werkstatt-Geheimtipp: Versteckt und unausgeschildert, in einer Art Schrebergartenhütte in einem Hinterhof der Kleinstadt Lousã, hat Daniel Pombo seine Werkstatt. Der Bruder von Portugals berühmtesten Downhill-Profi Emanuel Pombo gilt als "Suspension God": Biker aus ganz Portugal und sogar den Nachbarländern schicken ihre Gabeln und Dämpfer zur Reparatur zu ihm. Und natürlich fährt auch Daniel seit 15 Jahren ziemlich erfolgreich Downhill-Rennen. Kontakt über seine Facebook-Seite oder per E-Mail an dpx.racing@gmail.com

Bikeshop: Für normale Ersatzteile, Kleidung usw.: bicicletarialouzan.com

Guiding und Mehrtagespakete mit Schieferdorf-Pension oder Campervan: WERIDE.pt

Text: Mila Hanke
Bilder: WERIDE.pt


ENDURO MAG: RidingStyle in Serra de Sintra

weride enduro mag

Original review at ENDURO Mag here

Fabian Arzberger of Ridingstyle is traveling a lot! This time, he went to Portugal. This is his report!

While searching for a new riding destination in the southern climes, I stumbled across Portugals Serra de Sintra. Just a few kilometres east of the capital Lisbon, this mountainous forest area is a protected natural park that promises incredible trails spread across a breathtaking landscape, with sea views to top it all off. The host of other sporting options and its broad cultural offerings rendered the region even more appealing to me. So, flight and accommodation duly booked, the fun could begin.

weride sintra ridingstyle

On the edge of the national park and directly by the coast stands The Lodge, where I’d call home for the next six days. I’d decided that the ultimate way to explore the region would be a B&B with a beautiful garden, chill-out room and self-catering option. Here, I’d be provided with plenty of information on the local bike trails and could book both a local guide and a shuttle service.

weride lodge ridingstyle

What’s more The Lodge offers a yoga and fitness pavilion, swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool – decide between a complete workout or total relaxation. Your choice entirely. The surrounding area boasts over 50 surfing locations within a short drive, so you’ll always hit the perfect swell. For fans of bouldering, there are tons of opportunities in the immediate proximity. The Lodge’s reception is a mine of information with maps and details on local guides.

weride sintra lodge

But first I head off on my mountain bike to get to know the area a little. At just 16 km wide, the Serra de Sintra isn’t particularly big, but its highest summit of 529 m can be seen from every direction. Reasoning that there had to be some adventure to be enjoyed, I pedaled off in search of it.

weride sintra Pena palace

As I pedal up I find the odd trail or two. The open and friendly local riders that I encounter let me tag along and show me just what the Sintra Mountains have to offer.
You gradually pick up on the fact that the locals are pretty proud of their trails. Carefully laid, and furnished with berms, drops and jumps, there’s something to suit every taste. Flat, steep, flowing, techy, jumps, drops, berms – it’s all here. And despite the descents all being rather brief, they’re easy to link into each other and you’ll soon find yourself back up high.

The descents down to the coast have the same incredible views but are a little less trodden.

The descents down to the coast have the same incredible views but are a little less trodden.

weride shoreline ridingstyle

By the end of the day I’m shattered, having seen and ridden quite a few kilometres. In fact, too many kilometres probably, as my navigational skills kept failing me and I wasted time looking for trails. If you want to have a more worthwhile day of riding, turn to WERIDE and get a local guide to accompany you. After appealing to the reception at The Lodge that evening, they arrange a guide for the next day.

weride colares ridingstyle

Our guide Hugo guides us through the forests of Sintra the following day. WE’re riding trails that I’d never have found on my own. Super diverse, we get down to business and repeatedly climb and descend. It’s the ideal terrain for enduro riders.

weride team ridingstyle

For those who aren’t so keen on climbing – or would just prefer to ride downhill as much as possible – you can book a shuttle guide. I decided to do this for a day as the conclusion to my trip and headed out again with the guys from WERIDE.

We rode trail after trail virtually non-stop, some of them multiple times.

We rode trail after trail virtually non-stop, some of them multiple times.

weride torgas ridingstyle

Unfortunately my riding came to a premature end after destroying my front wheel and one of my ribs on a hard landing. However, this allowed me to check out the hospital in nearby Colares – my verdict: not bad.

weride widow ridingstyle

The schedule of the last two days took on a slightly more cultural theme, with a visit to the beach, a shopping trip to Lisbon and a good look at the fish in the Oceanarium.

Conclusion: Given the great value flights and accommodation, a week of riding in Serra de Sintra is definitely worth recommending. Diverse trails and Mediterranean flair are a winning combination. For those who want to stay longer, there are more than enough activities and attractions to keep you busy. In my opinion it’s the blend of surfing, bouldering and yoga that render the region and The Lodge so appealing too. They also offer airport transfers so rental car hassle can be avoided. The guys from WERIDE will guarantee that you find every single trail and there are more areas to be discovered on your bike too, such as closer to Lisbon or north of Sintra. 

Accommodation: The Lodge
Trail Guides: WERIDE
MTB technique and camps: Ridingstyle

Words: Fabian Arzberger | Pictures: Ridingstyle / WERIDE / The Lodge
URL: http://enduro-mtb.com/en/travel-portugal-enduro-style-in-the-serra-de-sintra