Whats wrong with Portugal?

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Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby bigjim » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:19 pm

I've not made a decision yet on where to go this September. I was thinking Portugal but I can't get my usual route planning sites [ride with GPS for instance] to give me a cycle route. They say there are none available or some such. Every time I attempt to plot a route they give an error message. Anybody know why?
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby MrsHJ » Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:30 pm

Don't care (well, I do, what I'm trying to say is don't let it put you off),you have to go to Portugal, it's the best and there isn't a huge density of roads. Use a map, the roads outside of Lisbon are generally quiet. We cycled from Lisbon, up the Tagus, up along the border through spectacular scenery, eventually over the border to Spain at Miranda del Douro and up over the the Picos to Santander. One of the best trips we have done, I wish that my friend hadn't wussed out about Braganza but I'm sure we will get there another time. Almeida was a particular highlight but there were so many.

Just checking the map I think our route was Lisbon, Santarem, Abrantes, Castelo Blanco, Penamacor, Sabugal, Almeida, Castelo Rodrigo, Mogodouro, Miranda del Douro and over the border to Zamora then up to the Picos.
Last edited by MrsHJ on Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby JMaude » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:28 pm

Try looking at http://pedalportugal.com/

It is a really useful website for cycle touring in Portugal - advice re routes / camping etc
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby ConRAD » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:17 pm

Try looking at my Portugal, if you need gpx tracks just let me know.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby Audax67 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:20 pm

Economy imploding, dunno what effect it'd have on tourists. Be wary.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby MrsHJ » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:33 pm

Audax67 wrote:Economy imploding, dunno what effect it'd have on tourists. Be wary.


Not sure that there is a noticeable impact for visitors (IMHO). We spent a week in and around Lisbon ( not cycling ) at Easter and it was fabulous. When we did the cycle trip there ten years ago it clearly wasn't a wealthy country where we were but we had no trouble at all. My friends went back and did three more cycle trips there whilst I stayed at home and had babies.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby mnichols » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:12 pm

Had a similar problem with another country on route planning software forget which one but I think it was Switzerland. Would be interested to know why also
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby borisface » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:33 pm

Ex-pat brit living in central Portugal near Castelo Branco never had an issue with route planning on either garmin connect or strava. Use GPS as maps are useless - many villages and roads are simply not marked. Away from Lisbon, country roads are very very quiet, people are friendly, food and accom is cheap. Lots of younger people speak a bit of English. Although economy is in a poor state, rural Portugal was so underdeveloped that it has't had a marked effect. Many people are subsistence farmers and always were, so not that much has changed in their lives. There is a general move towards rural depopulation which has been slightly checked by the slump.

Sept is a good month for touring as slightly cooler. Unless you go to the Alentejo (which will be pretty parched), the terrain is very mountainous - its not so much that the mountains are that high (serra da estrela tops out at 1990m) but they are relentless. I can easily (well not easily) rack up 3000m ascent in 50 miles.

If flying to Lisbon or Porto it maybe worth getting the train to somewhere else to start your tour as both cities are very busy and are large conurbations. If you go to Lisbon get the train to Vila Franca da Xira (frequent) then take the bridge over the tejo - the road betwtixt the two is very busy and pretty horrible. Trains are cheap and take bikes.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby iviehoff » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:13 am

Another expat Brit in Portugal told me that when GPS came to Portugal, maps were so bad that they had to pay for cars to drive along every road to get a GPS map of them, and in so doing discovered that only 40% of roads were shown on maps, even national mapping agency maps. Portuguese maps are, sadly, that bad, and since I'm not a GPS user I have found my Portuguese tours something of an adventure in navigation. It also doesn't help that in the cities there aren't many street name signs, and I've been in the outskirts of Porto and had absolutely no idea where I was, and eventually located myself about 5km from where I thought I was, because despite having a street atlas I just couldn't find a (current) street name.

I think the general shortage of cycling resources in Portugal is related to the shortage of cyclists in Portugal. I've encountered only a few on my tours there. I once asked a rare cyclist on a posh racing bike I encountered in a town I was trying to leave for some routing information to get out of it, and he recommended to me precisely the main road which I was keen to avoid. As I proceeded along that main road, I could see other roads, but the road was fenced and the other roads crossed on bridges and I couldn't escape. Sometimes I have climbed over road barriers to get (briefly onto when I couldn't see another way and) off main roads onto unmapped parallel minor roads, whcih often seem to exist, but these barriers were too high. Many parts of Portugal are so hilly, and so many roads in towns cobbled, that cycling just isn't going to be popular with a general population in such areas.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby bikes4two » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:39 am

We'll be on day 2 of our Portugal trip in 2 weeks time and the whole thing was routed using Mapometer without any problems what so ever.

EDITED 10Sep2014
Hah, now back from our Portugal trip - I said no problems didn't I - not true though - in Mapometer I selected Sport to 'Cycling' and to 'Follow Roads'

Sure thing Mapometer plotted a path (GPX file can be downloaded as a TRACK or ROUTE - I used TRACKS) but in reality some of the paths were only suitable for MTB cycling: most certainly NOT tour cycling. How on earth some of these paths were classed as 'roads' I'll never know.

However, the trip was good - magnificent scenery but don't go if you don't like hills!
Last edited by bikes4two on Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby drossall » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:22 pm

We're staying for a week near Coimbra next month. I get a day's pass (and a hired MTB of unknown quality) to go off for a day's riding :D

I'm more of a road rider really, so that's what I'll do. Any suggestions? Am I likely to find that maps are a problem? Are the Portuguese open source maps any good? I could load those onto my GPS...
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby binsted » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:00 pm

drossall wrote:We're staying for a week near Coimbra next month. I get a day's pass (and a hired MTB of unknown quality) to go off for a day's riding :D

I'm more of a road rider really, so that's what I'll do. Any suggestions? Am I likely to find that maps are a problem? Are the Portuguese open source maps any good? I could load those onto my GPS...


I am off to Portugal mid September for some cycling, I have previously downloaded OSM and found them excellent for walking as well with tracks marked. Trying to find paper backups is more of a problem.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby ConRAD » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:50 am

binsted wrote:... downloaded OSM and found them excellent ...

+1
I've been travelling throughout Portugal quite extensively using a combination of OSM-OFM-Velomap digital maps.
I've found them extremely detailed with always pretty reliable indications of tracks, dirt roads, minor tarmac roads, rivers, power lines, farms, etc.
Of course even main roads as well as IPs and ICs highways, respectively Itinerario Principal and Itinerario Complementar, are very well indicated.
NEVER needed any type of paper maps, not inside big conurbations like Lisboa and Porto nor in the most remote parts of the Country.
REMARK: Velomap and OFM are complete of relevant elevation data that allow you to work-out pretty reliable elevation profiles as well as gradient, cumulative climbing, etc.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby bigjim » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:01 pm

ConRAD wrote:Try looking at my Portugal, if you need gpx tracks just let me know.

Tried to look at this. Nice pictures but unfortunately it's not in English.
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Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

Postby bigjim » Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:11 pm

ConRAD wrote:Try looking at my Portugal, if you need gpx tracks just let me know.

Don't know why I can't pm you. The only site that seems to be able to create tracks for Portugal is MyCycleTour[ Given up with Bikeroute toaster. Very frustrating to use now]. Funnily enough MCT seems to use Google mapping. However when you try to create a route on Google, choosing bike, it will not work.
I could do with looking at some tracks for Porto to Faro. Getting out of Porto looks fun. I created one track and when I put the little Google man on it, it showed it petering out into a dirt track. :roll: If you let it create tracks automatically it does this and also seems to favour busy roads. Don't know if that is to avoid hills or not.
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