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Discussion Starter #1
Algarve Riders

I am riding Portugal again. I am on a SYM 125 because the Burgman 125’s were already rented and I did not book in advance. They claimed this bike generates 16 horsepower compared to the Burgman’s 13 horses. Nobody here rides with gloves and they did not even have any to buy in their shop for guys like me who consider gloves standard equipment.

BTW - who even knew there was such a thing as a Burgman 125?

So I picked the bike up in Portimao and rode 3 hours to Longueira and got off to open the gate to bring the bike into the yard and, can you believe it, it would not start! [email protected]! Zero electricity. Not even a click. So they responded to my call and e-mail - the following day. And insulted my intelligence (and their own) by suggesting I had left the lights on WHILE OPENING THE GATE?!?!

For whatever reason they don’t include the owner’s manual when you rent the bike. So a guy rode out to look into it - he discovered the cable end on the red battery cable had broken completely from the cable. It cost the guy most of his day to solve the problem but I am back on the rode again. And I will be asking for a one-day discount when I return the bike. The bike will do maybe 120 kph but you don’t pass anybody with unbridled confidence or without a prayer to the Virgin Mary. I followed a logging truck for 20 km before I finally got by him.

Anyway, the task - as I see it - is to enjoy the heck out of riding around here and avoid getting myself killed. Or worse. So far the plan is working out.

Comments, tips, observations welcome.
 

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Sounds like a Sangria, Chorizo and Cheese evening ..... wish I was there with a B650.
 

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TV news says a 54 year old motorcyclist down

There is no shortage of curvy roads in Portugal. Switch-backs as well are part of the highways in their mountainous terrain. And it is rarely not mountainous. As well, there are plenty of bridges where the winds can catch you off guard.

On the coastal roads of the Algarve the wind is a regular companion and the ones i have been encountering have been mostly from the north and quite chilly when coming off the Atlantic.

Portugal looks small on a map of the world but if you think of the country as a rectangular floor-mat - it is all scrunched up. But if you stretched out that map /floor-mat absolutely flat, it would look twice the size or more.

When you drive a 100 kilometres at home in Canada, it takes an hour. The same 100 kms in Portugal will take almost two hours.

The scenery is magnificent and the terrain and vegetation changes are every few miles - pine forests to cork forests to farmland to coastal dunes to rugged rocky coasts. When riding though, your job is to avoid rubbernecking at the awesome scenery. Your job is to focus on the ride.

Though some roads have shoulders, many more don’t. Many have gutters instead and drop-offs into said gutters. Cars do not stay religiously on their own side of the line even on curves. When overtaking you to pass with no-one else around, they do not move entirely into the other lane and come back in front of you immediately as if they are trying to avoid a head-on with a tour bus despite the fact there is no on-coming traffic in sight.
:serious
 

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Enjoying your travelog of Portugal.

I backpacked from Faro to Fatima taking an AirBnB in Lisbon in a 500 yr old converted Wine Cellar across the street from the Capital Building.

I didn’t see as many scooters there as I did in Spain.
Are you traveling with a group or solo ?

I understand and regret that a person has to devote 80/20 to road/scenery:(
but then again you ain’t stuck on a bus.

God Speed and keep the reports coming.
 

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I rode part of Portugal last October in the Azores Islands. If the roads on the mainland are anything like the Portuguese roads on the Azores, you're having the ride of a lifetime. At the end of your trip, can you post a link to where you rented the scooter and perhaps a Google Map of the route you took.

I'm envious......

Portuguese Azores, where it's hard to keep your attention on the road when the scenery is so spectacular!
 

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Dag gone it ....we need to find a LeDude of Portugal and set up a Time Share on a B650.

Quick while the Euro is in the Pooper .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Lovely photo but ...

I rode part of Portugal last October in the Azores Islands. If the roads on the mainland are anything like the Portuguese roads on the Azores, you're having the ride of a lifetime. At the end of your trip, can you post a link to where you rented the scooter and perhaps a Google Map of the route you took.

I'm envious......

Portuguese Azores, where it's hard to keep your attention on the road when the scenery is so spectacular!
... if you are riding away on the outside of this curve, stay away from the centre line. One out of every 7 drivers coming the other way are on the white line or across it.

:eek
 

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There are at least two types of Portuguese riders. The fanatics like us on the forum, and the others - guys who ride because it’s there basic transport. I guess they can’t afford 4 wheeled transport and ride ancient smaller cc bikes, the names of which I have never heard. These guys mostly, but not all, wear helmets. They are dressed in work clothes for the job in farming or construction they are riding to. Less well-to-do types ride well-used vintage bicycles. But their are also a lot of sport bikers in Lycra with matching coloured helmets out on the roads competing with BMW, Mercedes and Audi cagers.

You also encounter a few hitch-hikers and plenty of back packers who walk the roadsides of the secondary highways along with local people. Drivers do not universally slow down or move over much for these people - I cannot imagine why everyone seems to be in such a hurry.

Gasoline is in the 1.40-1.50 euros per litre range. I filled my tank for the equivalent of $24 Cdn and that is twice what it costs to gas up my AN400 at home.

We were on the rode from Odemira to Ourique yesterday (4 in a diesel Ford Focus and me on my SYM 125) and we passed four telephone poles in a row with stork nests built on the cross bar. These are huge heavy nests made with big sticks (I don’t know how) but the storks and their young - that were visible on a previous trip in May/June some years back - were totally absent this time of the year. They must have gone South already. Or they are all out delivering babies. Maybe Dave_J could offer a guess as to why the local municipal electric workers do not remove these nests. (They must not be causing any problems?)

Today I rode from Longueira to Zambujeira do Mar, a beach town, and when we got within 3 kms of the coast, the temperature dropped suddenly by a couple of degrees and I rode into a chilly Atlantic fog. It was difficult to even see the beach from the cliffs. A young Asian woman had a makeshift shelter on the sand and was offering Thai Massages though I don’t know what she was charging; business was in short supply probably because of the chilly fog but I did admire her entrepreneurial spirit.

Portugal’s southern Atlantic coast features many miles of organized coastal hiking trails with regular signs to educate about the flora and fauna along the way. I have yet to see a wild mammal but the sign claims that rabbits populate the dunes and are preyed upon weasels and lynx and birds. You will all be amazed to be made aware that there is in existence an Iberian Lynx and, further, you will be dismayed to hear that it is on the “extremely endangered” list.

A feature of this area is a nudist beach. I am considering freaking out the local beach-goers by arriving on the scene wearing just my helmet and motorcycle boots.
 

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Wish I had made it to Portugal in my travels. In March 1990 (Pre Desert Shield), landing at the US Air Base in the Azores inroute to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia does not count even though we spent 8 hours on the ground that day.



In most countries any nest is protected and can not be messed with, within reason.
In 1975 in Heidelberg Germany at one of our Army Telephone Exchanges the Yellow Jackets were stinging our Operators. There was 4 huge nests just around the doors. The Operators were leaving pop cans sit while on break, then picking them up to drink and getting stung in the mouth by the bee inside. We were not allowed to spray them.

Old Logging Camp trick when loggers were clearing forests and got swarmed.
I took two roasting hens and cooked them up. We ate most of the meat but I then took all the fat and grease and some of the internals and placed them in a clear plastic tote that I had put a 2 liter pepsi bottle upside down thru the totes lid with the bottle bottom cut out. The first day almost nothing happened but day two was different. The Yellow Jackets can not resist that smell of aging chicken fat and swarmed the tote, There must have been 5,000 Yellow Jackets fighting each other trying to get down that bottle. Once inside they can not figure how to get out. I had filled the bottom of the tote with 3 inches of soapy water. In three days the bottom was filled up about 4 inches of dead Yellow Jackets. But in 4 days the smell is getting too strong so just wrapped it in garbage bags and put in our dumpster.
 

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... if you are riding away on the outside of this curve, stay away from the centre line. One out of every 7 drivers coming the other way are on the white line or across it.

:eek
Yes, I was riding in the direction the photo shows..... and BIG YES to watching out for anybody crossing the line into my lane. Luckily in the fall when I was there, and out in the country roads, while there's more chance of someone crossing the line, there is far less traffic. Sometimes only one or two cars an hour.

Steve
 

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Luckily in the fall when I was there, and out in the country roads, while there's more chance of someone crossing the line, there is far less traffic. Sometimes only one or two cars an hour.

Steve
That’s my kind of traffic......a tractor hauling grapes with two lovely girls with purple feet holding guitars :wink
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pray for me ...

I like the place where I am staying. It is out of the city - a kilometre off a secondary highway in farming country. I have a modern house in a rural village. The rooster over the back wall wakes me in the morning - how cool is that! On the other side of the chicken yard this morning, a farmer was on an open air tractor taking down his cornfield. He was pulling a machine that reminded me of tree mulcher that Manitoba Hydro uses to turn tree branches into wood chips. Everyday I see cows and goats and sheep and horses. The smells waft across the highways I ride - pine, manure, diesel fumes - nothing overpowering and everything in it’s place.

I can walk out to a little grocery in the front part of someone’s house to buy fresh buns, bread and 6 brown eggs. They actually had a bottle of my brand of Scotch selling for less than I pay in Winnipeg! The Atlantic Ocean is a 10 minute scooter ride away. I scoot over there just to check whether the tide is in or out. If it’s out, I take off my boots and socks and roll up my jeans and wet my toes in the salt sea foam.

I rode to Odemira yesterday to try out a cash machine and take advantage of a sweet special at restaurant that looks on the river and a roundabout where you can watch the world come and go right past your outdoor table.

3 fillets of fish from some unlucky specimens that were probably alive and swimming in the Atlantic like yesterday. They threw in a basket of bread, a caneca (mug of beer - or as some people call it: a large refreshing beverage) - a salad and rice. But don’t go away. They followed all of that with a large delicious creamy-cake-thing and a coffee the Portuguese call a bica (espresso to Italians). 13 euros total. I kid you not.

AND they provided the internet connection that allowed me to check in with y’all at the BUSA forum!

And I have to put up with this lifestyle for two more weeks. Pray for me. :wink
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Spoiler Alert and Parking in Portugal

Parking in Portugal is awesomely flexible. And bikes rule when it comes to parking. 6 weeks ago in Armacao do Pera you couldn’t get a parking spots for 2 goats, your mother-in-law and a 100 Euro bill. Now past the vacation season, you could probably get a spot for just one pregnant ewe. Even cars park on the sidewalk here, no worries.

Last night we ate a cafe on the street in line with a one-way where just before our table the drivers had to make a curve - or take us out. The engine noise was more annoying than the actual traffic (those f#cking sport bikes - no Harleys here to speak of).

Spoiler Alert: My home province is famous for its large aggressive mosquitoes. But they had themselves a very unsuccessful season in Winnipeg this year - not exactly sure what went wrong for them. But here in Portugal, they have been nasty. They are tiny, don’t make much of a hum that my hearing aids will detect, but their specialty is to get you at night - in your house. Portuguese places do not have screens like we do and they find their way in while the evening lights are on - and then get you once you’re asleep. You wake up scratching your ankles, knuckles and temples. They were more annoying and frustrating last night at the supper than even the sport bikes revving as they went by! :frown

While doing a couple of 3 hour rides I have met some yoyos riding power bikes and it seems they think they are auditioning for the Isle of Mann. One guy was more on my side of the line than his and I expect he will have the life span of one of those “old bold pilots” sometimes referenced in this forum.

On the brighter side, mikey, you would love this place. My little village seems to have a snack bar, groceteria, restaurant, or cafe for every ten residents. They do not keep the same hours but all have at least a table or two, inside or out, where you can sit with a bica or brew. You are not really trying if you can’t find a place with refreshing beverages to serve you 18 of the 24 available hours of the day. Even in siesta when many places close from 1 to 3 pm, some entrepreneur is willing to stay open to serve the thirsty during the hottest hours of the day. :grin
 

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Quoted you in Thread Crazy Rider......

You findings support my preferences ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Parking addendum ...

A local person advised that parking in zones/spots designated for public services (municipal, police, fire, ambulance, etc), though, can earn you a fine between 200 and 500 Euros. Talking on the phone whil driving can earn you a fine up to a thousand euros. :eek

A parking fine in Winnipeg will get you only 25 (if paid immediately) to around a 100 and late fees after that. Dollars not Euros.

(Hope the dude with the way-out-to-here saddle bags doesn’t take his bike down any narrow docks or piers!)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bye-Bye Portugal: Lisboa lane-splitters

The morning I left Lisbon for Toronto, I got a ride to the airport. The rode there included a bottleneck of 4 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic. I got to see a lot of lane splitters flying by. Their helmets were fiberglass bubbles moving above the rooves of the traffic-jammed sedans. This practice looks to me like a big life-and-death gamble though I did not see any mishaps. Even those motorcycles with the big square aluminum side cases were riding the lines between the cagers.

Back in Winnipeg riding in rush hour at 40 degrees F this afternoon, I briefly contemplated doing some lane splitting - there seemed to be no other bikes on the rode - but I know the culture here is dead set against lane splitting. Cagers here resent anyone who gets ahead of them. On the plus side however, they are actually slowly catching on that the zipper merge (instead of the cut-anyone-off merge) simply serves to keep an uninterrupted flow of traffic happening.

I enjoyed every minute of riding Portugal. And I did it on a 125 cc SYM. My partner felt very comfortable as pillion on that bike and claims she prefers it to the AN400. I quite like the small bike myself and the experience confirmed in me the view that North Americans (north of the Rio Grande at least) are SO over invested in vehicles that have so much more power than most of their owners ever need or actually ever use.

I rest my case.

(Below a 125 cc black and silver Harley-wannabe the Lone Ranger would be proud to ride - it was parked on the quay in Porto. The second is the SYM parked at a beach snack bar by the Atlantic Ocean in Portimao.)
 

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Portugal is roughly the size of Pennsylvania, USA. You could put nine Portugal’s in Texas.
125 cc aren’t made to do 125 kph 6-8 hrs per day.

How many kilometers did you put on the 125 cc during this trip ?

Where are you going next ?
 
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