Athens Velo Sunday Social Ride

Spring Time is the best riding time.

The weather is warm enough to ride with short sleeves and yet it is still cool enough to seriously ponder whether or not to take on a second bidon. The air is crisp and clear and all the amazing colours of spring contrasting with the deep blue sky chisel a permanent smile into the face of every cyclist.

My friend Noel of Athens Velo has invited me to join a social group ride. Most of my riding these past weeks was solo. Coming off a small issue with my knee I was keen on an easy ride in springtime Attica with good company. My eager anticipation wasn’t disappointed in what turned out to be a glorious Sunday in the saddle.

We have chosen to avoid the coastal road and ride across Attica from Voula to Porto Rafti, from the shores of the Saronic Gulf to the Aegean Sea and back.

So close to Athens and yet so far away

I was particularly looking forward to a beautiful small climb that Noel had introduced me to years ago. We are talking about a 2km climb at Vravonas called “Polytechniou” just before descending to our coffee stop in the coastal town of Porto Rafti. The climb averages 9%, the last kilometre leading us through switchbacks to the top with the road getting steeper and steeper, topping out at an 18% gradient.

However the splendid view at the top of the climb overlooking the eastern shore of Attica was a worthy remuneration for our efforts.

Almost there !

Coffee stops with good banter are a key ingredient to every group ride. Having a coffee at one of the beachside coffee shops is one of the perks Attica has to offer to cyclists.

The return to Voula was taking the group on a gentle climb through the lush vegetation of Kouvaras forest, passing the beautiful monastery “Metamorfosi Sotiras” and from there via the southern Attica cities of Keratea and Kalyvia back home.

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