Brazilian Beaches By Bicycle
While there is much controversy regarding the real story behind the arrival of the first Europeans in Brazil, there does seem to be a general sense of agreement on where they arrived. It was apparently in the south part of the Brazilian state of Bahia, exactly where the 2018 Carnival Cycling Expedition will spend most of its days.
One historical version suggests that the Portuguese ships’ – small, fast caravels – first interactions with the indigenous population occurred on a beach now known as Barra do Cahy. However, due to all the rocks and coral reefs, they were only able to safely make landfall 100 km further north, in a place now called Porto Seguro, which means “Safe Port”. There are certainly more than a few interesting facts about this stretch of almost 200 km of coast, the Costa do Descobrimento, the Coast of Discovery.
Rich in culture and featuring some of Brazil’s nicest beaches (and that is saying a lot!), vehicular access to many of these places is very difficult. Sometimes, due to the lack of bridges, driving from one beach or town to the next can be a very long and frustrating experience. As we were trying to come up with the best cycling route for the 2018 Carnival Cycling Expedition we eventually decided to follow in the “footsteps” of the Portuguese and ride our bicycles along the beautiful sandy shores.
This will happen during 5 or 6 stages of the ride. Having done it myself in the past, I must say that we will be riding on some absolutely stunning beaches. No vehicles, no climbs… just our bikes and the lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean! You are probably thinking – “And a lot of sand!”. True, but when the tide is at its lowest, the riding surface can be as hard as asphalt, and cycling on the beach is actually a fantastic experience. The beach rides themselves, being dependent on the tides, will be very short (say, between 20 and 30 km). This gives us plenty of time to enjoy refreshing ourselves in the surrounding rivers and lagoons, not to mention with ice cold beers and tasty caipirinhas on the beach at the end of the day’s ride.
Fun. Fun and sun. That is what the 2018 Carnival Cycling Expedition will be about. It will be a veritable beach fest, as we are riding along the coast as much as we possibly can, and most of our hotels are just across the street from the water. We will ride through beaches that most people never visit, but we also will sample some of the country’s favourite holiday sites. Prepare yourself for an overdose of “braziliance”, as Brazil’s party time extends all the way from New Years until Carnival’s last drum beat some 6 weeks later.
You should also bring your sense of adventure. Ferries, speed boats, fishing boats, high temperatures and beach rides will all still make it a real TDA ride. However, if you have been looking for an adventure but don’t want to camp and don’t require that every day’s ride push you to the limit, this is the tour for you. The stages are, on average, a lot shorter than other company tours (most days are less than 100km), and there are not many unpaved roads other than the beach rides. The ride is mostly flat and the hotel accommodations and local food will be really great. On top of that, you will love the sandy beaches, the warm weather and the friendly people!