24 October 2021

Chasing Rik

Chasing Rik

September was coming to an end, an epilogue to an intense summer due to the unprecedented heatwave (highest temperatures in 50 years) and a pandemic lurking at every plan we would make. However, September is the best time to ride a roadbike in Greece and we were having a guest to impress.

I first heard the name Rik De Voogd from Soingeur as a person that is roaming the space of social media looking for new adventures and new places to ride. Rik is an ex-pro rider that is really into photography and he is trying to bring forward with his work the relaxed and fun aspect of cycling trips.We made contact and we connected instantly and just like that we had a plan and a date.

But a date riding with Rik is not an easy thing. His website reads “I used to race bikes to impress now I ride bikes to express”. And now here I am mid September and I am designing a group of routes that is meant to impress a rider like him, ie someone that has ridden Spain, Girona, Dolomites, Sweden, Swiss Alps, Mallorca, France and a lot other places worldwide.

Can Greece and our little Peloponesse playground compare to these spots? Are our mountains high enough? Do we hold switchbacks epic enough to impress an ex-pro? Is the quality of asphalt good enough for those carbon rims and silky tyres? These thoughts were really going around my head as I was working on the tricky issue of designing a 7day trip schedule.

A proper cycling trip has to have a few things right: it should start with a good introduction day, it should include amazing climbs, long tough days where you get closer to your reds, relaxed scenic flat sections, isolated rugged adventure type stuff, it should climax and then pull you into a vibe that will make you smile, sweat, ache and relieve any thoughts you had before boarding your plane. If that happens and with the proper order then when you dive into the sea at the end day the memories will stay with you forever.

The days we spent riding together constitute what will be available as Spartan Roads Premium package trip for our 2022 Pedal Greece calendar and it is needless to say that we are beyond happy with the result.

And it is not really the quality of asphalt that matters, nor the traffic or drivers that make or break the deal – It is not the issues that most people want to talk about usually that matter. It is the vibe and atmosphere of the land that surrounds you as you come to the Peloponnese.

Maybe though, it is the smiling farmers and happy faces you ride past on your way, the easy traffic on any given weekday at the mountains or the smell of sunblock cream at the cafes you stop, it is the immense depth of the food culture that surrounds you and the easy going life at this little part of the Mediterranean.

Essentially, it is the authenticity of this land that makes up for it, and this is that will draw you back again here. This is what will bring Rik back again on spring 2022 and make sure you book a place to see for yourself.

To read Rik’s full adventure report click here:

All photographs Agi Kolyvas

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