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  • Writer's pictureIan Partridge

Taking the Happy Cyclists on Tour

There is a link on my page to a cycling group in Paphos, Happy Cyclists. One of the things about moving to a new town is trying to find a group of cyclists to ride with, I know we do a solitary sport, but riding in a group, getting coffee and experiencing new rides is also an attraction to most of us.

When i moved to Paphos, there was it seemed a lack of group rides, lots of ex-pats doing their own thing, or small groups of local cyclists riding before work.

So i put a message on a local chat group, Janice replied, we met up, had a slow cruise and coffee and then i left it to her, before i knew it, more riders a healthy whatsapp group and all of a sudden a group of riders enjoying rides and coffee together.

For my part, i work them hard when we get chance, take the social coffee rides and then occasionally challenge them with a crazy day ride, pushing them out of the comfort zone - this ride is one of those challenges.

Paphos is not big as a region you can ride West to East in about 50km and South to North the same, however it is hilly, well, mountainous really, you can easily go from sea level to over 1000m in its boundaries, most of the time we will ride on the coast, or up and over the coastal range (600m) elevation, but rarely go inland to the higher climbs. So on that basis i came up with the South to North ride, start at sea level and ride to the Northern district border, about 55km, but topping out at 1100m with a 600m climb to start with, drop back down to 200 and then climb all the way to the border. All in about 110km round trip, with over

2500m elevation, a big day out.

A full compliment of 'on-island' Happy Cyclists signed up for the ride, we agreed to meet in Panagia, 800m elevation, about 40km into the ride, as the climbing speeds of the group vary, then from there we would ride the remainder of the ride on the stunning Cedar Valley road to the border, and then return home via the abandoned villages and stunning rural roads that Cyprus offers. Almost all traffic free. The weather was perfect, cool and cloudy for the climbing and then warming up for the return, mainly downhill, ride back.

Its a hard ride, from the coast you get the first climb, 600m elevation @ 6-7% avg, then the main climb up to Panagia, another 600m elevation about a slightly tougher 7-8%avg, 2 good workouts and then final loop to the border included another 300m elevation, luckily at a much nicer 3-4% gradient. Of course what goes up must come down, so the ride back is much nicer (if you ignore the 2 short climbs to get back up and over the coastal range!)

I think they all enjoyed it, roads that they normally wouldn't ride, a good group coffee stop and ticking off a ride that you cant really do in the summer when its too hot.

Now i'll just have to think of another challenging ride for the group!

Here is the link to the ride route.

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