Chapter 6: Jungle, Highway ‘n madness until Vila Nova De Santo Andrè

DAY 6


Here Comes The Sun!

In the previous chapter we didn’t tell you that before having that marvelous breakfast we went to the beach to admire our first ever sunrise on the ocean. Could we ever miss a similar spectacle the first time we saw the ocean? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
After this great good morning we shared the breakfast with other cyclo tourist from Switzerland and New Zealand!
We spent the first our of the day talking about paths in Portugal and route to follow in other countries. To share point of view and tips it’s always a pleasure when you find such open minded people.

After breakfast we packed our things in order to start our day buuut not before a beer! We don’t know why Bruno had this amazing idea before to start pedaling but ok!
Not very healty but after all we ate it was mandatory to drink a beer! Do you agree? Yes, we know you agree! 🙂 That was what we needed! 🙂

We were leaving Casa do Adro when Idalia, the owner of the guesthouse, called and gave us a tasteful piece of chocolate cake. A little gift for our ride! Some people are just amazing!
Sometimes are the small gestures to enlight your day, and we will never forget about this. Thank you Nonna Idalia!


Next Destination: Paradise!

A quick look at the village, some photos of us and we were back on our bikes! We splitted the route in two parts: the first one from Vilanova to Porto Covo and the second one, the thoughest, from Porto Covo to Santo Andres.
The first part was quite easy, a little bit of wind but nothing really improving.
When we reached Porto Covo we thought we were in paradise. A little village and the ocean, the ocean and his amazing power. One of most magnific blue we have ever seen.
Blue and powerful. We stayed there for one hour watching the big waves and the 50 shades of blue. It was a very happy moment and the best way the take this moment to the next level
was to eat the piece of chocolate cake that Nonna Idalia gave us before our departure while we were watching this spectacle:


Next Destination: Unknown!

The second part of our day was the most incredible, the most risky, the most crazy of all the trip! First of all you have to know to know that from Sintra to Santo Andres there are no more cyclable streets. Yes, there is anything for the bikes. Yes, or rather there was a cycle path. What a pity it is not viable. At a certain point the only thing you can do is to decide if to take the highway or a dirty road. Bikes can’t go on a highway, right? Of course we decided for the dirty road. At the beginning. But let’s go for step. We were at the crossroad and the highway was cyclable once upon a time. When we arrived there was a big red prohibition for bikes sign. Ok, we had the other choice and so we did. At the beginning. After 500 metres we found ourselves in a jungle! Look at the picture below:

It was a freaking jungle with the vegetation folded on itself. We dismounted from the bikes and we tried to walk but after 100 metres we had to run away from a million of hornets. It was very scary!
The result? First of all we came back at the beginning of the dirty road, we saw an house and we knocked at the door to get some info. The only thing we had were an old couple that told us to use the highway because it was the only way to reach santo andre (10 kms far).
Ok, we tried to ask for a ride, we were hoping that a person with a truck would load us and take us to our destination, but that didn’t happen. So, after 30 minutes waiting in vain we decided to take the higway! It was the very best freacking crazy thing we did. Luckily, once upon a time, it was possible to cycle in that highway and the road was large enough for the bikes! We have never pedaled so fast and so desperate. We were seeing ourselves in jail or in a very very bad situation. We pedaled for 4 km when our navy told us to exit and to take a cycleble path just along the highway. Incredible. When we took the cycle path we met other cyclist and cyclo traveller that did our same thing. We were all asking each other how is possible to do something like this, to ban the bikes from a road that was used to be cyclable and don’t give any other alternative to the people who want to move with a bike.
We continued the rest of the trip on the cyclepath and they lived happily ever after.


Welcome To Santo Andre: Hotel Vila Park!

What to say? For sure, if you decide to pass from Santo Andre this is definitely a place where you have to stay for the night. We think is one of the best here for services and reception. We have been welcomed very well and they permitted us to leave the bikes at safe behind the reception in a locked room that only the receptionists can open! The hall was very big, there was a restaurant, a bar, a snooker table and a big swimming pool on the outside. Our room was very cozy and clean. Once arrived we soon decided what to do. We alternately took a looooong relaxing bath before to go eat something at the restaurant. We don’t know what there is on the nearby but we found the restaurant and its cakes very good!


We were really tired and the day after would be the last long ride of the trip! We decided to go to sleep early and after a good drink we were already sleeping and dreaming Dreaming of the huge amount of jam we would eat the next morning.
Night, the moment when you think about how your day has been.
We did something crazy, we were happy. It was a good day.

Thanks for reading us.
Stay tuned for the next chapter and keep pedal!
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 5: Embrace the ocean in Vila Nova De Milfontes!

DAY 5


Never Give Up!

We left you in the last post with our night in the beautiful Odeceixe, and after all this time we remember
every single thing of the little town.
We woke up at 8.00 o’clock, a little bit tired because of the day before,Bruno had headache and Arthur was worried about his knee after what is happened at the beginning of spring in Bologna, do you remember it? –> From Bologna To Florence

The road wasn’t hard but due of our condition we had to slow down in order to avoid accidents.
Breakfast time! Before the road of pain we had a great breakfast in a local bar and then we mounted on our bikes to reach Vilanova de Milfontes, it surely helped to restore our condition!

Nothing is better than cappuccino & Croissants, nothing. 😀
From Odeceixe to Vilanova it’s just about 45 kms-50 depending on which route you prefer to follow. We followed the one that pass through S.Teotonio and proceed toward the crossroad of Odemira. Here we decided to skip Odemira and take the N393 in order to shorten the road.

We were in the middle of the route and  hungry, but a (not great) surprise was waiting for us.


Important Lesson: NEVER TRUST THE BREAD!

Bruno’s headache was killing him so we decided to stop at the local Aldi before the crossroads.
First of all (and this is a precious advice) keep your eyes on the price! We entered in the supermarket just to buy some bread and ham. Result? 16 euros! You may say what did you buy, if the bread was made of gold and dream and you know what? It was made of nightmares! We were cutting the bread outside the
supermarket when we realized that all the bread we bought was filled with a weird meat and GARLIC! A lot of GARLIC! The positive side is that we discovered what we don’t like! That’s why we came back in the supermarket and bought some real bread! Stretching and back on the road!

It was an hard ride but we reached Vila Nova De Milfontes very early, around 4.30 p.m.


Vila Nova De Milfontes: Embrace the Ocean!

Finally Vila Nova, finally the first beach on the ocean! What a spectacle!

The beach was very particular, to reach it we had to follow a little path in the wild and pass through a lot of rock stacked on
itselves. Rock stacking is considered a form of natural art which consist in stacking rocks and create something like a tower. Look at the photos below!

We relaxed on the beach talking and taking photos, then we decided to reach our guesthouse for the night.


The GuestHouse For Excellence: Casa Do Adro!

Once arrived we received a very warm welcome from Idalia and her husband, the owners of the guesthouse.
We have discovered that this place is one of the most known in Vila Nova de Milfontes and we also discovered why!
The 2 owners are simply the best! They welcomed us with a slice of chocolate cake and hot tea! What’s better after a day riding a bicycle?
The house is really spectacular, the atmosphere brought us to our grandparents houses. It’s like a gradmahouse with a very special touch of class! Our room was big enough for two person and the bathroom is the best to have some relax: a big bathub with hydromassage!
What else? A little courtyard where to park the bikes and a balcony where to enjoy the fresh air and the free beers for the guests!
Take a look at this cozy house:


W H A T   A   B R E A K F A S T !

Vila Nova is very quite at night and to have a walk till the ocean is something you can’t miss.

We decided to have a dinner in a local restaurant and then we went back to the guesthouse for the night.

When we woke up we had the best surprise of the world! The biggest breakfast ever seen on this planet.

Just look these photo:

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Bread, jam, bread, ham, eggs, a lot of fruit, a big choices of tea, toasted bread with honey.. ALL TOP QUALITY! 

We were ready to face another day!
Thanks for reading, see you in the next post: From Vilanova to Santo Adres! We’re going to speak about
Porto Covo, a jungle and the highway! 🙂


KEEP PEDALING!

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 2: Beaches and fresh fish dishes in Lagos!

Day 2


What to eat to boost you up?

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Sunny day!
Just a little bit of stretching to wake up our legs and we were ready for the new day: 51kms to Lagos.
We followed the main route with the exception of the first strecth of road. It was funny but dangerous.
As we said in the previous post you have to be well equipped to go offroad in Portugal.
Some roads are not easy even if you have a good gravel, for example we had to stop many times to screw the screws back in; and above all have the right wheels.

We can’t deny that it was so much fun “skating” with our bike on the shingle! 😀
After this little offroad we went back to a secondary road on the hills where we discovered the joy of long descents after big climbs.
As well as being sweaty we had to look pretty desperate, so desperate that an old lady who was selling oranges along the way stopped us to give us a couple!

Ahh vitamins! It’s so beautiful when you met this kind of person with a very big big big big x5 heart.
With this load of energy and love we continued our route trough beautiful and different landscapes: from the red rocks to cozy villages, cows and the beautiful bridge of Portimao on the Arade river.
Cycling makes you hungry, so we stopped in the first place that we found along the road.
RIGHT CHOICE: Piri Piri Chicken makes you better, a better person! 😀 and of course it will.


it’s so spicy that had  invigorated our legs to the point of making us do the last 20km in just an hour!


The Azulejos City: Lagos

Lagos, together with Albufeira and Faro is one of the most famous tourist resorts in the Algarve.
It is not BIG, but it is very pretty. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and the walls of the houses adorned with azulejos, small tiles that resemble Sicilian majolica and give a taste of freshness and antiquity at the same time to the city.

Here you will find many of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, for example the beautiful beach of Dona Ana near the city center. Look at this beauty!
In addition to the beaches there are several monuments that you can visit including the entirely covered with azulejos “Igreja of sait antonio” or the “Forte da ponta da Bandiera” from wich you can have a beutiful view of the sea.

We gave a quick look to the city and we decided to reach our resort in order to have a shower, relax a little bit and come back in the evening to have dinner!


Time To Rest:  ALDEIA AZUL RESORT

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It was half past 5 o’clock when we arrived at the Aldeia Azul Resort where we met Lucas, the most prepared receptionist about Algarve! He spent a lot of his time giving us precious tips about what to do, what to visit and what dishes try in the cities of the algarve. He was so convincing that we need to come back in Portugal because we didn’t visited Sintra! He spent some fantastic words for it! 😛
Once we did the check in he accompanied us to our apartment. Just look at the photo below?

Was it paradise?
If we have to buy an house we definitely ask for a copy of this apartment. Or Maybe a copy of this resort! PRETTY COOL!
You can find anything you need: Spa, gym, Swimming pool, tennis and beach volley courts, soccer field, minigolf and a good bar where we drunk an excellent gin tonic!
For sure, it’s good especially for families and cyclist who want some good relax.


Time To Dinner Ladies and Gentlemen!

If you choose a resort outside the city center, our suggest is to absolutely bring the lights because the roads are not enlightened. For what concern us we decide to take a taxi that for 10 euros brought us in the city center. Much safer and not expensive 🙂

As Lagos is a sea village, its speciality are fresh fish dishes!
So, don’t miss the fabolous fish soup that many restaurants propose to its clients! And don’t miss the sweet potatoes too!


The following morning we decided to get up early and take some fresh air in front of the swimming pool. What’s better for your spirit?

Dawn, fresh air, respiration exercise and we were ready for the new day! We know that every single day traveling by bike has something different from another one! We love that feeling!

We were ready to reach vila do bispo, but first passing through Sagres and Cabo De Sao Vicente, the southwest point of the European continent.

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Keep on traveling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 3: Bologna & Florence, What’s better?!

Day 3 & 4


Home of the arcades: Bologna

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The alarm was ringing, it was time to get on our feet!
Just a little problem, Arthur’s knee was hurting and neither a strong breakfast with 2 slices of cakes and hot tea could help him.
After discussing about what to do, we decided to look for a therapist in the city before doing our next step. Luckily the knee wasn’t hurting so much to stop pedaling, but we didn’t want to make things worse.
We left the hotel, and the first thing we did was going to the only one therapist we found, but unfortunately he told us to come back at 6.pm.. It was 9 o’clock and our plan was to reach Roncobilaccio ( half way to Firenze) through appennines. We definitely couldn’t wait!

So we decided to pedal slowly to visit the beautiful city of Bologna.

What to see in Bologna, capital of Emilia Romagna.
Bologna is a small, welcoming city, it is like a warm hug from a person who really loves you. Bologna is a living city, a city in which, in the tumult of people, you can feel its blood flowing.
Its famous arcades, streets and people make it a picturesque city. This city famous because of its food and before that, because of its art. In fact, Bologna is considered the crossroads of Italian culture.
So, we’ll be brief: here’s what you shouldn’t miss if you visit Bologna for one day:

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  • Piazza Maggiore: the principal square in Bologna, it hosts the Basilica of San Petronio and it is surrounded by historical buildings. This square is really important because it was one of the first squares to be rebuilt after the fall of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants needed a space of aggregation, a space to be used as a market so the municipality bought and demolished the old popular buildings to make the current square. This sanctioned the birth of the Italian squares as a meeting place.
  • Basilica di San Petronio: one of the most known curches in the city. It hosts the longest sundial of the world in a structure and Bologna’s people love it.This church is a world record for many things: the 4th in italy by size, the 6th in Europe and the first Gothic brick church in the world always by size.
  • Torre degli Asinelli: The Asinelli tower, one of the main towers, is known as the symbol of the city. The tower can be visited by paying a free entrance. After 498 steps you will be able to see Bologna from above. A popular saying says don’t climb to the top if you are not graduated yet because in that case you won’t succeed. Would you challenge popular says??
  • Arcades: the arcades represents this city, they are renowned in all the world because of their extension of 40 kms. Just perfect to take a walk in all season 🙂

Walking down the streets, just before lunch, we met Hokito, a funny equilibrist with whom we talked for half an hour. He left his job 14 years ago to start traveling by bike earning a living with small shows along the road. It’s surprising. We really admire this kind of people! We do not know if we could ever make such a decision.

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Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.

Good luck Hokito!


 Time to make an HARD DECISION

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Once satisfied by the food we took a last look at the city. And here we are at the moment of the difficult decision, at the crossroads, the crossroads between heart and mind, between continuing to ride on the mountains putting in serious danger the knee of Arthur or recognize when it is time to stop.

It was hard to decide, when you think you are well trained, when nothing seems can’t stop you an old pain comes back. It’s life, and sometimes BIP happens. And sometimes the only thing you can do is going through it, through the rage, through all the “i could have trained better”. Arthur struggled for many hours with this thoughts… then he drinked a beer, took a coffee and an ice cream.

Basically a child, an happy child! 😀 DO NOT LET BAD THINGS RUIN YOUR TRIP 😀

We decided to to save energy and recover the knee for the last few days,so we went to Florence by train. It’s just an hour and a half of travel with a change to get to your destination.

We’re gonna talk about carrying your bike on a train in italy in a further post 🙂


What an ART, Florence!

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We do not believe that Florence needs introductions, but for all those who do not know what it is, we can say that it is simply the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.

It is in fact the Italian Renaissance city FOR EXCELLENCE, All those who appreciate art must at least once in their lives visit it and observe how a city can be artistic and expressive.

If you have only a few days to visit this beauty, you can’t miss:

  • Dome of Florence and Giotto’s belfry : Your visit should start with Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, heart of the city. It’s the third largest basilica of the world, second only to San Pietro of Rome and St.Paul of London. We assure you that you would only spend hours observing Brunelleschi‘s magnificent and majestic dome.

  • Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi The most famous square in Florence that houses the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civil and administrative power of the city. You will be addicted to ancient marble or stone sculptures, such as Donatello’s Marzocco or the fountain of Neptune, the first fountain in the city.After a few steps you will find yourself under the “Loggia dei Lanzi”, which was the seat of the ancient public assemblies. The Loggia today houses numerous marble sculptures, including Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece: The Perseo, dating back to 1554, which with an athletic gesture proudly exhibits the beheaded head of Medusa. Take a look at it:

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  • Galleria degli Uffizi: The Uffizi Gallery needs no introduction, just think that it is one of the most famous and visited museums in the world, incredibly full of priceless and unique artworks, open to the public since 1581!
  • Ponte vecchio: Symbol of the historical Florence, allows the passage over the waters of the Arno river where it narrows. The bridge is sprinkled with artisan workshops, which were once butcher shops and today are goldsmith shops. However, the shopping strip will stop in the middle, where two terraces await you. Panorama insured.
  • Giardino di Boboli: Private park of Palazzo Pitti, the ancient residence of the duchy, connects the famous palace with Forte Belvedere. 45,000 square metres of garden with museums, statues and residences. Its beauty will not leave you indifferent.

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We forgot to tell you that another essential thing to do in Florence is eating like crazy!:D

Your stomach will thank you, scout’s world of honor.

But let’s go back to our story! previously we said that due to the physical mishap we stayed two days in Florence, but we did not have a facility in which to stay the first evening and we decided to book blindly, checking Booking availability.

WE ENDED UP IN A FANTASY PLACE. The receptionist seemed to have come out from some thriller film in which he was the crazy killer: Very thin, bewildered eyes, very rapid and sudden movements, elegant jacket with sleeves covering almost entirely the hands and jeans.

Arthur asked him if by chance they had a bag of ice to try to appease the pain, but the recepetionist replied that he would have to check later because at the moment he was very very very busy. The problem was that while he was saying this, he turned and stared at his empty desk. COMPLETELY EMPTY.

In the meantime, a young man arrived and presented himself as the new receptionist on his first day in structure. Our protagonist, after welcoming the new employee, decided to accompany us to the room, climbing up the stairs when suddenly the phone rang!

PANIC! He began to run up the stairs yelling to the new receptionist (who was arrived only two minutes before) to answer the phone. In the distance we heard a shy and sketched “hello?. We laughed so much that we will hardly forget it.
That is not the end of the story! In fact, after a small evening tour in the center, we came back to the hotel thinking about how funny was the scene of the afternoon.

As soon as we crossed the threshold of the hotel we didn’t see anyone at the reception. We advanced towards the second entrance of the hotel from which on the right you can access the stairs, when an unidentified boy passed from nowhere hopping the entire hall and making strange verses. We laughed so much that Arthur risked to fall off the stairs. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT HOTEL!


How to end this Experience

The next day we stayed at Plus Florence, youth hostel and multicultural: Just think that the receptionists know at least 3-4 languages.

Meanwhile Arthur’s knee was almost healed so we explored the city passing by the riverside (“Lungarno”) and along the beautiful streets of the Florence.

While we were walking through Florence we were stopped by Filippo, who recognizing our BRN equipment and told us about his journey from Florence to St. Petersburg.

it’s incredible how two travel bags catch the eye: in fact we’ve been stopped several times by other like-minded people.

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In this photo you can see Arthur with a lovely couple of New Zealanders on an European bicycle tour of 6 months.

Despite the misadventure this experience has been beautiful, because the most exciting thing is that each of our adventure gives us emotions, feelings, circumstances and memories that we will always take with us and that push us to explore more and more with the bike this beloved world.

True freedom is only in yourself, never stop looking for it.

Keep pedaling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

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Why should you cycle in Winter?

Yes we know, winter has begun(one month ago) and it will be with us for next two months until spring when we can ride our bikes happy through green fields and along the canals with swallows all around.
Buuuuut it’s still winter, it’s cold outside, the cities are covered by the fog and the flu is always lurking. oh, and there is the risk that the blood freezes.
ALL EXCUSES! 😀
one of the questions that our friends often ask us is if we have not become crazy about cycling in winter.
The reality is that there are many people who feel the way we do.
There are a lot of people who use regularly their bikes during the cold season.
Just think about the countries of the north Europe: wind, rain and cold seems not to be a problem for them, so why it should be a problem for the people who live in the warmer countries?
Down below 5 good reasons +1 to pedal in winter.

1. Quietness

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While in summer cities are more chaotic and the cycle paths are overcrowded, during winter the tranquillity reigns supreme.
Pedaling along waterside or through country road without noise helps to clear your mind, come up with new ideas and learn to appreciate the romantic winter landscapes.

2. Health

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Winter brings many diseases: fever, flu and pains of various kinds. It is widely known
and demostrated by a lot of studies that keep training during winter on the outside helps to build antibodies that reduce the possibility of contracting bacteria and viruses by 45%.

3. Mood

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You have to know that exists a mood disorder due to the change of season and who more or less, we all suffer it.

Riding a bike is one of the best tonic for these mood swings. It is proved that getting on a bike during the winter hours of light with the fresh air is a boost for the mood.

Try it before work: you will be more productive and friendly with your collegues and more than everything your boss! 😀


4. Traffic

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A little bit of rain or snow and roads are clogged up, cars don’t move and public transportation is always overcrowded.

What’s better than a bike? It avoids the stress of traffic and you won’t be late! Two drops of water with the right induments are better than stay stuck in the traffic screaming with the other car drivers.


5. It helps to reflects on organization

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It’s quite easy to ride a bike during spring or summer because you just need to bring with you a k-way and a repair kit. But what about winter?
Winter requires attention, it requires that every details be studied from clothing to the route to be taken.
There are many variants to keep in mind: How cold will it be? Will i go through muddy roads? How do i dress? The secret is to not overdressing but use breathable clothes that avoid an excessive sweating. And of course, even if they are unaesthetic, you should mounts the mudguards.

+1. The bonus one

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YOU WILL BE READY TO ROCK DURING THE SUMMER SEASON: You trained hard while the weather was against you, you forged your body, your mood and your determination. Nothing will stop you, neither the questions of your collegues who are trying to catch you in a moment of weakness.

WARM SEASON IS FOR EVERYONE, WINTER IS FOR THE BADASS! 8D
Pedal the winter!
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

About Us

Click here for the italian version!


Arthur and Bruno.

Passionate travelers and bicycle lovers.

We know each other since elementary school and our paths crossed many times:
We played together in the same football team and we have also been bitter opponents.

in the last years, for a series of events, we discovered to share the same passion for cycling, that’s why we decided to open this blog in which we promote a healthy and sustainable way of living, traveling and exercising.
Obviously this madness started from a joke!
We were talking about bike culture in The Netherlands and the beauty of their cycle paths so we decided to challenge ourselves to something that we never did before: a short trip from Amsterdam to Utrecht and back via some little towns along the road.
We weren’t really prepared, but 50km a day can be do-able for everyone.
It was a great experience that had a profound effect on us.
Do you know the fabled maxim “Happiness is real only when shared”? If you don’t know it you need to remediate immediately watching  the film “Into The Wild”.
For this reason we decided to share with as many people as possibile our passion and our way to travel.


How we travel

We both work and we do not have a lot of time to spend on the road, so we want to show that is possible to travel in just a few days and that you don’t need to be on the move for a great number of days.
We want to demonstrate that is possible to enjoy freedom even also without quit your job and there is no reason anyone else can’t do it.
For the moment we are exploring Europe.
We like to explore a country at a time without crossing borders to try to understand how locals perceive bikes.
Travel by bike is the best way to enjoy slowness, to live a nation in its uniqueness.


Safe travels to everyone and keep pedaling.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook if you want know more about our adventures.

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy