The ROADS of RHODES :
Text: Kasper Birkeholm Munk
CHAPTER 02of02 2020
Either way - ahead of us every day are an average of 100 kilometers and 2000 meters of climbing and fast, technical descents. Yay! And we all love it! Ride on!
As mentioned Rhodes is mountainous. Not in the french, italian way with smooth straights leading to long climbs with super steep sections above 20%
Nor is it your regular round of the mill Mallorca cycling frenzy.
If you fancy queing up on Sa Calobro with a ton of other riders and waving every half a second when cyclist pass you on their descent you’d probably find Rhodes boring. And if showing off your most precious gear at the local coffee shop hoping that someone recognizes that your frame really has been ridden by a someone allegedly famous, Rhodes is definitely not your thing. If you pass more than two cyclists on a 120 kilometer ride you’re probably in a week with two Tuesdays.
Rhodes is different. Here you’ll instead find a very constant, rhytmic change in grades. Up and down. Down and up. The only place to find flat roads are along parts of the coastline. Apart from that, you’ll have to experience a really demanding ride.
Around 1-2pm it’s lunch time. Rhodes has loads of small towns with loads of family-owned restaurants serving classsic greek dishes. And don’t expect me to spell out the names - the greek alphabet is crazy. All I can attest to is, that in Greece you eat well at unbeatable prices. Everything’s just so cheap! Service is friendly, smiling and curious. What makes 10 guys from a country up north, looking like a pro tour team (at least that’s what we think) ride around in the scorching greek sun? A combination of head shaking, laughs and smiles is the usual result. The rhodesians don’t get it. Yet they really appreciate our visit.
Around 4pm we arrive back at Salakos. Post-ride protocol dictates: we meet at Manolis on the local city square for beers, pistachios and frappé coffees. So that’s what we do - just hang out in our cycling gear sipping cold Mythos, exchanging reflections from a hard day on the road, gazing at photos taken during the ride and just enjoying the companionship and the sunny weather.
Cold Mythos, served in deep-frozen glasses are treacherous - at least when they are served on this particular square in Salakos. Either those bottles come with auto refill or Manolis is magician. We haven’t been able to decide it yet. But the beer is flowing. Constantly.
And then comes the most demanding ride of the day. Getting up from the chair at Manolis and then climbing the last 700 meters from to the hotel. Sore legs from a hard day on the road, and with more beers in the stomach than most cycling coaches would recommend for rehydration purposes.
After a shower we stroll back to the square for dinner. Same restaurant every evening. Kulla is another of our favorite hosts. She cooks outstanding greek food that come portions that will satisfy the most hungry of cyclists. More beers. More companionship. More fun and laughs.
At 10-11pm lights usually go out. Preparation starts. Tomorrow we do it again.
I’ll leave it to you to judge, whether you are part of the crowd of non-believers that would not call this vacation or the above description qualifies as next item on your bucket list.
For me and the rest of COBCC this is heaven and always on the bucket list - next years trip is already in the making.