The Spoked Traveller | ...connecting cyclists to local trails, food and adventures.
Trails and advice cycling around the world as solo female cyclist and adventurer
mountain bike, adventure travel, cycling travel, bike tours, outdoor, solo travel, female mountain biking, badass female cycling, female travellers, women travel, adventurous
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The Spoked Traveller

…connecting cyclists to local trails,

food and adventures.

It never occurred to me to leave my bike at home on my first overseas trip. Twenty years later, nothing has changed. Whether at home, or in a foreign country, riding makes me feel closer to people and places.

I created this site as a hub for all things cycling; it’s a celebration of bike culture. Where to travel next, how to travel, where to get advice, see some cool practical bike fashion, what to eat. I’ll share what I know; and I invite you to do the same.

Over the next few months keep checking in as I’ll be adding some new menu items.

See you on the trails. Melanie

Built into a giant rock mountain, Montsanto is called the most Portuguese village of Portugal located southeast of Porto -- about a four hour drive.  Tiny streets curl up to a town. I parked the car and walked about 15 minutes through a rock trail--literally it went through giant bouldersIMG_5785 (640x359) IMG_5788 (359x640) IMG_5791 (640x359) IMG_5801 (640x359) IMG_5807 (359x640) (359x640) that leads to a 12th century castle 

The week I arrived in Porto, colourful flower arches straddled the streets in preparation for Sao Juan Day. Also the start of summer solstice, on June 23 everyone eats salted barbecued sardines and caldo verde (cabbage and potato soup) followed by pastries. IMG_5669 (640x359)Hammer-time! Then, everyone takes to the streets hopping from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, all night, in search of a dance, a drink or chance to bop passerby's on the head with a plastic hammer.

Born in Newfoundland, with a Newfie ma, then moving to Nova Scotia, I ate my share of cod fish as a child. Salted cod, cod tongues.... If you're Portuguese, who historically sailed over to our Grand Banks to fish, then the same applies. Since arriving here, I've heard more than one person say: "did you know we have 1001 ways to serve cod?" In Mark Kurlansky's book, Cod: A Biography of The Fish That Changed the World, he talks about this incorrigible fish that was prized for its nutrition, made of 80% protein, and fortitude: it hung on until it was fished to almost death. The Newfoundland moratorium over 20 years ago was done, hoping, it would bring the fish back.

Arrived on June 10. It's Portugal Day and the town of Porto is shut down--except for cafes serving port (fortified sweet brandy wine) and pastries like famous custard tarts (pasteis de Belem). Curse my luck! IMG_5256     Arriving on little sleep, luckily, getting to my apartment was easy--a short half hour metro trip. What a concept: a metro joining the airport to the city centre (psst, Toronto, that's a dig).

After a few days in hot southern Ontario, riding through Hardwood Hills' Trails near Barrie, we drove almost four hours north to Killarney Provincial Park only to see snow outside the tent on day two (minus 6 with windchill!). We spent the day playing pool inside the deserted and eerie Killarney Bay Inn, which felt like the inn from The Shining. Population 500, this was the only place open in Killarney, besides the general store. Tourism season starts May 24 weekend. But, it was already summer in my heart. After a jog around the park, I ran into the water, then I ran out of the water. Earth shattering cold. IMG_1158 After a few all natural hot dogs over the fire, I grabbed my Art Kit from the park office (the Friends of Killarney loan out watercolours, paper--all the tools for a Group of Seven wanna-be). In many ways, the park wouldn't exist if it wasn't for their efforts.