At the starting point, we will spend around 15 minutes to give you a quick safety briefing, a demonstration on how to use your e-bike and all its’ functions and hand out your equipment. Once you are all set up, we are ready to go on our adventure!
We will start off by heading straight to the heart of the city of Ribeira Grande, where we can take the opportunity to take a walking tour through the city. Here you can observe the architecture of many of the older buildings including the Holy Spirit Church, which is one of the few existing examples of baroque style in the archipelago, the 8 Arches bridge which was built in the 19th Century and connects the shores of the river after which the city is named, and the 17th Century City Hall and clock tower.
We will continue cycling by a small canal and along tree lined roads, passing by pastures with horses and cows as our spectators. We will cycle up small ascents on typical volcanic gravel found in this area, accompanied by the sound of rushing water associated to the occurrence of many springs in the foothills which have been responsible for the fast creeks flowing in deep ravines.
Pipelines going to the hydroelectric power plant will guide us to the Fajã do Redondo Dam where we can stop to take a closer look. Continuing on our way we will take the road down to the nearby Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande. Here we find 9 holes in the ground which are used for the confection of stews and other local delicacies that are made using the heat of the volcanic activity. A few meters away we will stop at the thermal baths of Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande which dates back to the 19th Century. Here you can find an 1803 bath tub, one made of stone, which was later integrated in the “crown baths” built in 1811.
Following a cobblestone road, we will pass through secondary roads built by Azorean forefathers which are picturesque in their own making, with a variety of flowers and trees lining the street making this a very scenic ride to our next stop at the viewpoint of Coroa da Mata. A few meters away, crossing the main road we will take a look out from the Viewpoint of St Iria which offers breath taking views of the Northern Coastline, where the impact of volcanic eruptions on the island’s geology is impressive.
Cycling forward, we will take a dirt track through a valley, wind our way through quaint village streets and alongside pastures until we reach the Port of St. Iria. Here we can stop to take a closer look at this old fishing port, which was built in the beginning of the 16th century and was once the primary waypoint for northern commerce. Here you can appreciate the volcanic coastline up close, with small islets, caves and massive rock formations.
Ribeira Grande is known as the Azorean “Surfing Capital”, where every year surfers from around the globe gather here for an important round of the World Surf League. We will cycle along the coastline through dirt roads until we are back on the paved outskirts of the city, where we will encounter the unique black sandy beaches of Monte Verde and Areal de Santa Bárbara, which deserve a stop to relax and a refreshing dive into the clear ocean waters after our morning of cycling.