My bike has been languishing in my garage since we moved here almost a year and a half ago, so when my friend Joanna mentioned that she liked to bike along the coastal road in Sounio, I jumped at the chance.
First, though, I had to tune up my bike. Pump some air in the tires, makes sure the brakes worked…as I stood there staring at it, I kept thinking something was off. Until I tried to get on it and realized the pedals were missing!! Thankfully, I noticed the movers had taped this big wad on the back of the bike. I initially thought that was just extra padding, but after unwrapping it I found my pedals inside. Whew!
After getting our kids to school and with the babysitter, we met in the parking lot of the Varkiza Resort in Gylfada, about 40 minutes southwest of my house. We had to ride along the shoulder — not ideal, but it’s pretty much the only way to bike around here. Up a hill (the first of many) and around a corner we came upon a vast expanse of sea cliff and sea. Breathtaking. I’ve driven this road before, but you can enjoy the views better on a bike.
The water here is this amazing shade of aquamarine, simply astounding. Sheer cliffs had stairways and ramps cut into them to aid beachgoers in getting to the water. Joanna and I wished we’d brought our swimsuits. We briefly entertained just swimming in our underwear, but thought better of it. The weather seemed hot in the sun as we pedaled up hill, but it was still only in the mid-70s.
Up the hills, down the hills, we undulated along, pausing to take some photos along the way.
Joanna kept well ahead of me; with my heavy bike frame, plodding fat tires, and — let’s face it — less that stellar physique, I was no match for her streamlined racing bike. I was having serious bike envy. She even had special bike shorts with padding in the crotch. Adding those to my shopping list Right Now.
Along the way we passed a one-legged cyclist. I did an honest-to-God double take. What an inspiration! During one section of downhill coasting, a line of flowering trees wafted their intoxicating fragrance mere feet from my face as I carefully hugged the shoulder. And every kilometer or so, we’d pass a beautiful little shrine. They are all over the place in this country. Read about their meaning and origins here.
After going about 6 miles, we turned back and stopped at a seaside restaurant we’d seen along the way. Just a few meters from the water, we had a lovely view from our table as we noshed on Greek salad with bread and taziki.
The way back was a little hotter with more traffic. Joanna says she likes to come here early on Saturday mornings — there are hardly any cars, only lots of cyclists. Last time she came, she made it all the way to the Temple of Poseidon, 50 miles round trip. Yowza! Twenty miles was about my limit today. I can’t fathom going 50…though perhaps if I had a lighter road bike, I could manage it. Maybe I can rent or borrow one and give it a try. Sometime soon, I hope…I didn’t realize how much I missed biking until I got back out there. Such a lovely day! Can’t wait to go back!