The awesomeness of ebikes and the greatness of the island of Crete: a winning combination!
After the end of the weirdest summer season since the beginning of modern tourism, I embarked with a couple of friends on an epic cycling road trip to discover the good (most everything) and the bad (most terrain we picked) of Crete.
We planned a multi-day trip along the South coast, embracing the mountains, stroking the beaches, hugging the slopes, finding the sublime.
From the start at the pink sands and turquoise waters of Elafonissi on the West, to the end at the ancient Minoan site of Kato Zakros in the dramatically arid East.
Here’s our tale.
On day one we meet early morning at my place, load the car with our three bikes plus two bikes for Giulia and Sofia, then we drive to the start, Elafonissi.
In Elafonissi we do the very last preparations, then we take some photos for the start of the adventure. We ride all together on the first dirt track towards Kedrodassos, it’s very rocky and bumpy. Fiona follows on foot to take some last pictures.
After about 1km the girls say goodbye and turn back. We are left to find our way among the greenhouses and the spectacular scenery towards the juniper covered coast on our right. We’re not sure about the exact directions, we take a wrong turn, the first of the trip, we have to cycle back a little bit. We meet a farmer, ask him for directions for and he sets us on the right way, also something that we will do many more times in the days to come.
The road surface gets better, then starts to climb and gets really bad. It’s quite a steep climb in many parts, legs and motor are both working hard. Rocks are loose and it’s not easy to get a good grip. The views are great though, quite wild.
After a while we get to some small settlement, near Sklavopoula, and we find a paved road again. We are at the top, the Lybian sea in front of us, hills scattered all around. We descend on this very scenic route, into greenhouse territory in Kountouras. Then we go on the flat coastal road into Paleochora. Here we have a break and we decide to keep going into Anidri, where we will stop for battery recharge and some food and drinks.
The climb to Anidri is also steep, and feels longer than it should be, maybe because I am trying to save battery by staying in Eco, the lowest electric motor setting.
I am hungry. We stop at the Old School cafe, where we have to wait for a while to be served food, they don’t start serving food until 2pm.
The menu looks gorgeous, the setting is atmospheric, the food is wonderful. We are surrounded by lots of patrons, mostly German and mostly at least partially Greek speaking. So an hour or two go by, until it’s time to restart. The batteries have recharged a fair amount, a good thing too as we have more climbing to do. From Anidri we go North, first scrub then the mountainsides are covered by a pine forest on the North facing slope. It’s a long hill, Roy speeds ahead in his turbo mode and Rick and I mostly climb together in lower settings.
We join a bigger road, have a quick break in Rodovani. Then we join the main road to Sougia from Chania, and we just descend at maximum speed through the pines into Sougia.
We arrive in Sougia on good time. We find our rooms for the night and deposit our bikes and stuff. The sky is cloudy and the sea is choppy, but we go in for a refreshing swim. It feels good though the water is murky.
Then we have showers and go out for our first dinner. The day was great, everything went as expected. I feel a little bit sore but nothing bad. We go to bed happy, we are all excited for more adventures.