10 reasons to visit Crete with a mountain bike13 March 2016
What cycling clothes we wear in Crete13 March 2016
How to survive with a mountain bike in Crete
You decided to come to Crete for your cycling holidays. It is an unknown place for you and you do not want to have any problems. We give you some information - tips that we have gathered from our experience in the mountains of Crete and from our contact with cyclists from other countries, that will make your bike vacation on the island easier.
Bike tours difficulty.
Crete although it is a small island it is extremely mountainous. Most roads (mainly the agricultural) are steep and have many stones. Especially in the summer because of the heat, the bike conditions get even tougher. A mountain bike tour of 40 kilometers in Crete is equivalent or more exhausting than a tour of 70 kilometers in another country of Europe. This difficulty, however, is doing mountain biking in Crete even more exciting.
Advice. When you plan a cycling tour on the map or via Google maps the tours seem much easier than they actually are. When choosing a route from cyclingcreta make it to the directions we give you to avoid steep hills and pushing your bike.
Attention. The Google maps show roads in places that there is nothing.
Crete is a rocky and harsh island. The roads have many stones. Most plants have thorns which (particularly in the summer because of the drought are hard) puncture the tires very easily. Never go cycling without a pump, spare inner tubes and tire repair kit.
Advice: use tubeless tires. They have greater resistance to punctures and better traction on bad roads of Crete.
In Crete it is easy to construct a road, the difficult is to make it correctly and to maintain it. Too many roads are made wrong, inclined outward. Several roads are loose and full of stones. Nearly every year the rare but heavy rains spoil the roads.
Advicewhen you ride in places that you have not visited before and you have poor visibility, it is advisable to ride the downhill sections carefully.
The road network of Crete is very huge. Especially the rural network, which is ideal for mountain biking, it is enormous. The farmers (except at few regions) hold many small fields in many different locations. For most of these fields there is an agricultural road. Many of these roads lead to deadlock.
Good paths in Crete are rare. The rural roads were engraved above the old paths or the paths stopped to be used because of the cars. Many of them are difficult to ride even by experienced cyclists as they are full of stones and rocks. In cyclingcreta we build our own small paths where we are permitted or we maintain old abandoned so that we can ride them safely.
Advice: when you ride in places that you have not visited before, design your routes from the main agricultural roads. Do not ride through cultivated fields. Do not pass through properties when access is denied by the owner.
Crete is the southest island of Europe therefore has high average temperatures. Nevertheless in the summer, because of the cool north and northwest wind the maximum temperature of the day is not as high as in other areas of the mainland. The cycling it is enjoyable even in June, July and August.
Advice: It is advisable in the summer to avoid cycling at the midday hours. Use sunscreen or even better hand sleeves with sun protection and long summer gloves.
About four or five times per year in Crete blows southern winds. This effect lasts two to three days at a time and is characterized by high temperatures, for the season, and high concentration of dust in the air. These are the days with higher temperatures and it is advisable to choose cycling tours in areas at higher altitudes for coolness.
Take plenty of water with you. Crete is a warm island. During cycling you lose a lot of fluids. Consume at least 500ml of water every half hour of cycling. Plan you bike tour so you pass often from villages to refill your water Bottles.
Advice:The sensor for thirst is at the palate of our mouth. Drink small sips of water and hold for a few seconds in your mouth before swallowing. It gives the illusion that you have drunk a lot of water and reduces the feeling of thirst.
Due to the wide variety of flowers and plants Crete is filled with small bugs and bees. Also in summer due to lack of rain the dirt roads are full of dust.
Advice:Use sunglasses even with clear lenses to protect your eyes from insects which in a fast downhill can proved dangerous.
Crete is the safest island for the lovers of outdoor sports. In the island there are no dangerous wild animals, poisonous snakes or dangerous fish.According to mythology, the Father of gods Zeus to thank the Cretans (ancient Curetes) who protect him as an infant, relieved the island from the poisonous snakes.
Advice:If you are allergic to bees (or wasps) carry with you the necessary antihistaminics, especially the spring and summer months. Crete is the paradise for these insects.
Goats and Sheep:
In Crete there is a peculiar farming system. Most goats and sheep graze freely on the mountains. When we are at the mountains or at an area with many sheep, we reduce speed and ride with more attention when we go near them. They frighten and thrown suddenly and unexpectedly in front of us.
In many villages (at the entrance) there are tied dogs (the open door of a fence). Their purpose is to prevent sheep from entering the cultivated areas or eat vegetables from the gardens, not to frighten the cyclists. They are harmless.
Also in Crete there are many stray dogs. All of them live in the villages and towns. Rarely you will see stray dogs on the mountains.
In Crete, cycling is not a very popular sport and there are no many bicycle shops, with the exception of the large towns. If you plan to make your cycling holidays with your bike get some spare parts that you may need. Certainly a derailleur hanger. Never go mountain biking without replacement tubes, pump, multitool.
Advice: before you come in Crete for your bike vacation make a good service to your bike (brake pads, suspension, chain, gear shifts, etc.).
Notice: If you come in Crete for cycling holidays with your own bike and you face an emergency mechanical problem we provide you, free of charge, our fully equipped workshop in LYTTOS BEACH HOTEL to repair your bike. The transport of your bicycle must be done with your own car.
If you want to make a bicycle tour of Crete or a transCreta and every night you plan to stay at a different place, we inform you that free camping is not allowed. Camping allowed only in organized campings. However in most villages there are small accommodations (open even during the winter) and also taverns that offer food.
Advice: before you organize your tour, especially during the winter months make sure the accommodation in the village that you will stay, will be open or they have available rooms..