Tour de Cyprus – Day Two

The Baths of Aphrodite & Chrysochou Bay

Day Two began under blue skies & temperatures of 25 centigrade, with a light breeze – almost perfect cycling conditions, although the wind was forecast to pick up later in the day. Today’s ride started from Bob’s villa & we were on our way by 9am, heading for a day of exploration around the North coast of the island.

We joined the E709 for the 7 mile ascent to Kathikas & almost immediately had huge views out over Coral Bay & on towards Paphos, 100’s of feet below us. As we climbed, the gradient was a fairly consistent 7% – 9% (with one short, steep ramp), resulting in a 1,600 foot gain over the 7 miles. We had a bit of assistance most of the way up, as a tailwind helped us!

As we crested the climb at Kathikas, we found new tarmac, as we joined the E711. This took us along a ridge for a mile or so, before a swooping 10 mile descent into Polis. The road was fast & smooth, with corners that rarely required any braking, as huge views opened up to the coastline 2,000 feet below.

The descent ended as we skirted the edge of Polis & took a left on the E713, passing through Latsi on the way to the Baths of Aphrodite. We followed the coast, occasionally getting views of the turquoise sea just off to our right.

After stopping for a few photos, we turned back on ourselves & headed for the harbour in Latsi, where we’d arranged to meet Bob. After a brief stop for cappuccino & ice cream we were on our way again.

We crossed Polis & picked up the E704 coastal road towards Pomos. As we left town, we were able to join the cycle path, with the sea on our left. The wind was beginning to pick up & we were riding straight into a strong headwind. The views out to sea on our left & up to the Troodos mountains on the right took our minds off the tough conditions. We also passed a couple of small exercise spots, one of them having a static bike which I stopped at for a photo op.

As we reached Agia Marina, we turned around, picking up a proper tailwind back towards Polis. After a couple of miles, we were overtaken by a solo police motorcyclist who appeared to be indicating for us to slow down, but we weren’t too sure – he carried on past us, so we thought no more of it.

A few minutes later another police outrider went past me & was gesticulating for us to pull off the road – I looked behind me & in the distance I could see a convoy of 10 or 15 dark, SUVs heading my way, followed by an ambulance & more police outriders. After a bit of Googling this evening, the Presidents of Cyprus & Georgia met at the Presidential Palace & that was who was in the cavalcade that breezed past us!

We stopped on Polis for a quick lunch, before navigating across town again & embarking on the ascent back up to Kathikas – 2,000 feet of climbing in 10 miles, so it felt like a proper alpine ascent in approaching 30 centigrade conditions! The gradient was consistent throughout, so it was a case of getting into a steady rhythm & then keeping the pedals turning for the next 75 minutes. There were occasional views down towards Chrysochou Bay, which helped keep my mind off the big climb!

I’m out of practice on big, long climbs, so this was more challenging & tiring than I would have expected, but it was also good to test my mental resolve, as well as my physical fitness in such beautiful surroundings. As we reached the summit of the climb, we found out just how much the wind had picked up since the morning.

As we bounced along the ridge, we were taking a real buffeting – never dangerous, but enough to keep us focussed on keeping the bikes pointing in the right direction. Reaching Kathikas, we re-joined the E709 for the descent back into Peyia – this was the same descent we’d done on yesterday’s ride & we’d also climbed it first thing this morning.

This final 7 miles was over in almost no time – as yesterday, we stopped a couple of times to take in the big views towards Paphos in one direction & Lara Beach in the other. It was another cracking day out exploring the beautiful scenery of Cyprus.

We covered 58 miles, climbing almost 5,000 feet in the process. Unlike my normal cycling adventures, we only had 2 days of cycling on this trip, but I know I’ll be taking Bob up on his offer to visit again soon.

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