Whether it’s the heart of the Portuguese countryside or the rugged cliffs that line the coast, the Algarve has a wealth of charms beyond the traditional tourist spots that are just waiting to be discovered. Now, two companies have joined their two different modes of transportation to share the very best of both worlds, with the launch of the unique Pedals and Paddles this spring.

With a large fleet of bicycles for hire, including mountain bikes, city bikes and road bikes, Colin Worswick joined forces with Ricardo Carrasquinho of Ferragudo-based Algarve Freedom Kayaks to create a unique tour concept that combines all the perks of a bicycle ride with the charms of a kayak trip.

“You’ll be riding along the cliff, looking down and wishing you were in the sea, and 10 minutes later you’re going to be on that beach that you saw from the cliff-top, cooling down in the clear turquoise waters of the Algarve.” This is how Colin, a lover of outdoor sports, sums up the concept, which was conceived to “give people the possibility to see how beautiful this place is, without being rushed around all over the place”. Having worked in various fields in his native England, Colin moved to the Algarve 12 years ago and opened a restaurant in Albufeira before realising its seasonal limitations. After investing in a bicycle hire company based in Armação de Pêra and spotting a gap in the market when it came to more personal tours in the Algarve, he approached his friend and fellow business-owner Ricardo, a marine biologist who set up his kayak company on Praia Grande beach last year, to create this original product.

Launched in April, the new venture comprises two very different tours: a downhill tour from Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve, and a more relaxed Carvoeiro/Ferragudo circuit. The first, a more demanding full-day tour designed for more energetic clients, sees a group of at least four people cycle down from Fóia, in Monchique, to the Arade river with its manypontoons, covering around 25km in just over two hours. They will then embark on the kayaks, either after taking a water taxi to the mouth of the estuary in Ferragudo, or paddling to Sítio das Fontes in Estombar where they will have lunch.

The second tour, a half-day circuit, is a great day out that’s perfect for all the family. With plans to set off from Carvoeiro, the group (a minimum of two people) will cycle along the cliffs – avoiding roads – to Ferragudo, where, from Praia Grande, they will kayak back and stop halfway at a desert beach where lunch will be provided and where they can snorkel, swim or just sunbathe. With eight kayaks available in their distinctive blue (six doubles and two singles), Algarve-born Ricardo, who admits he feels most at home by the sea, will explain about the various rock formations and their native species along the way.

Combining both their areas of expertise, Colin explains: “I went with him on the kayaks and he has come out with me on the bikes, and between us we’ve worked out what we think is the perfect route.” With a transfer service available, all clients are fully insured, with the organisers adding that spectators can join the tour, either in the minivan or on the boat that accompanies the kayaks. “It’s a great idea,” notes Ricardo, whose kayak tours have become extremely sought after since the company was established last year. “They are two eco-friendly sports and it’s
great to promote the future of sustainable tourism.”

With a relaxed approach to the tours and taking it upon themselves to provide something different for people to do, Colin notes: “One of the great things about the Algarve is that as soon as you cross the Algarve corridor, just 2km from the sea, you’re in completely rural, unspoilt countryside. We’re offering people a peaceful day, physical as it may be.” Currently in its early days, Pedals and Pedals will provide tours until the middle or end of October, depending on weather conditions.

Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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