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Ride Rating System

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Ride Info

Ride Overview

Azores Bike Hike: Climbs and Trails of São Miguel

  • Arrival
  • 7/3/2022
  • Departure
  • 7/12/2022
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Michael Ballinger
  • Tour Company
  • Easy Rider Tours
  • Starting Location
  • Ponta Delgada
  • Finishing Location
  • Ponta Delgada
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3600
  • Deposit
  • $1200
  • Number of Riders
  • 1 (min. 16 /max. 22)
  • Space Available
  • 21
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

3A  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Coordinator Comments

We have not had any official interest in this epic adventure and we know there is interest from many who signed up for the cancelled 2021 ride. Please email the ride leader if you have any interest. Our touring company can’t hold rooms too long if we do not commit.

Ride Description

RIDE COORDINATOR COMMENTS

This tour was customized for the BAC by Easy Rider Tours, who has run several previous tours for the club, including the Azores. It was scheduled again in 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19.

RIDE DESCRIPTION

SUMMARY:  If you think you might enjoy cycling and hiking on volcanic islands with a European culture, the Azores are for you.  This Portuguese-owned archipelago is located three-quarters of the way across the Atlantic between New York and Lisbon; there are flights from Boston to Ponta Delgada (Azores Airlines) and from JFK via Lisbon (TAP Air Portugal).

The Azores have a sub-tropical oceanic climate boasting gardens of exotic flowers and Japanese cedars, hot springs, and crater lakes. Our route explores São Miguel Island, hugging its coastal cliffs and forested mountainsides for challenging yet rewarding cycling. We’ll spend our time there exploring the island’s natural wonders by biking and by hiking: the Val das Furnas, a luxuriant green valley of geysers and steam vents; the secluded beaches and picturesque fishing villages of the coast; and a botanical park with flora from around the world. Imagine Hawaii-like landscapes with Portuguese customs, culture, and cuisine. Special events will include a traditional cozido dinner cooked in a volcanic fumarole and a dressage performance of high-stepping Lusitano horses.

We will stay in each of our hotels multiple nights, including 3 nights at the Terra Nostra Garden, an Art Deco-era retreat in the middle of a botanical park. This also enables different activity options. There are only three days of required riding. The other days offer choices of riding various distances and degrees of difficulty or hiking among beautiful natural areas including waterfalls and rocky coastlines. All rides require substantial climbing (2 - 6 miles). If you don’t enjoy a challenging climb, this is not the tour for you. 

LOGISTICS:  The trip meets in the late afternoon (5 pm) on July 3 at the Hotel Bahia Palace in the seaside village of Agua do Alto, where introductions and the first group dinner will take place. After arriving by air at Joao Paulo ll Airport (PDL), Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel, transfer with the Easy Rider van or taxi to our first hotel in Agua do Alto. There will be an included pickup to meet the flight arriving from Boston.

The trip ends after breakfast on July 12 back in Ponta Delgada. Easy Rider will transport riders and their luggage (including packed bicycles) back to the airport. This transfer is included in the cost of the tour and will coordinate with late afternoon return flight to Boston (Azores Airlines).

RIDE RATING:  The daily routes are planned with the intent of providing enough time to fully enjoy the scenery and sites along the way.  But do not be fooled.  Although the distances are short, this is a hilly tour and there are occasional steep climbs that exceed 8%.  The 3A ride rating is based on only the 3 mandatory days of riding (average 26 mi/2614’ gain).  These easier days are interspersed with some optional hard days. The rating with all options included is 4B. 

WEATHER: Average low temperatures in early July are in the low-70s and the average highs are in the upper 70s F.  Although rain is less likely during the summer months, a shower can happen at any time.

LODGING & MEALS:  

Lodging - 9 nights

·        July 3+4 Pestana Bahia Praia (Praia Agua do Alto) 

·        July 5, 6, 7 Terra Nostra Garden Hotel (Furnas)

·        July 8+9 Santa Barbara Eco-Resort (Ribeira Seca)

·        July 10+11 Hotel Marina Atlantico (Ponta Delgada)

Meals

·        Full breakfasts every day at hotel

·        Substantial snacks at Happy Hours

·        Five Group Dinners

LOGISTICS:  The trip meets in the late afternoon (5 pm) on July 3 at the Hotel Bahia Praia in the seaside village of Agua do Alto, where introductions and the first group dinner will take place. After arriving by air at Joao Paulo ll Airport (PDL), Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel, transfer with the Easy Rider van or taxi to our first hotel in Agua do Alto. There will be an included pickup to meet the morning and midday flights arriving from Boston and Lisbon.

 

The trip ends after breakfast on July 7 back in Ponta Delgada. Easy Rider will transport riders and their luggage (including packed bicycles) back to the airport. This transfer is included in the cost of the tour, and will coordinate with the return flights to Boston and Lisbon.

Day 1 (July 3) Arrival, transfer to Praia Agua de Alto - welcome meeting, rental bike fitting.

Day 2 (July 4) option day: loop ride 9 miles, 1398' or 16 miles, 2119'. Loop hike 5 miles, 800’.

Day 3 (July 5) Agua de Alto to Furnas - 16 mi, 2001’ or 28 mi, 3027.’ Ferry en route to islet of Vila Franca natural crater lagoon.

Day 4 (July 6) option day: loop ride 47 mi, 5395’ or 53 mi, 6995’ or relax in Furas at botanical park, thermal pond, hot springs.

Day 5 (July 7) option day: hikes from 5 mi to 9 mi loop, 950’ to 1433’, from hotel to Lagoa das Furas - Pico do Ferro.

Day 6 (July 8) Furnas to Ribeira Seca - 20 mi, 2192’ or 27 mi, 3353’ with hot springs waterfalls or 33 mi, 4485’ with Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake) overlook.

Day 7 (July 9) option day: coastal loop hikes of 4-8 mi, 570’ to 1404’. Ribeira Funda - Praia do Viola cobble beach. Or free day for hotel beach, a surf lesson, or museums in nearby Ribeira Grande. 

Day 8 (July 10) Ribeira Seca to Ponta Delgada via the mythical crater lakes of Sete Cidades ("7 cities") - 43 mi, 3650’ or 47 mi, 4643’

Day 9 (July 11) option day: Ponta Delgada sightseeing, museums, whale watch (not included), or coastal hike of 2-5 mi (561’ - 1050’) to Rocha da Relva headlands via ancient donkey trail.

Day 10 (July 12) free morning. Morning and afternoon transfers to Ponta Delgada airport.

 

ROAD CONDITIONS AND BICYCLES:  27-speed hybrid bicycle rentals are available from Easy Rider Tours -- arrangement must be made directly with Easy Rider Tours. Cost is approximately $260 US.

Cobblestones are common in towns and villages and there are two optional sections (3 to 8 miles) that are dirt roads.  If you bring your own bike, the recommended minimum tire width is 28mm. You also need to bring spare tubes and any items that may be non-standard or unique to your bike.  

A maximum of 1 tandem can be accommodated by the van.  If you plan to bring a tandem, please notify the ride leader via email when you apply for the ride.  

Storage of bike cases during the tour, and transfer of the cases from the start location to the finish location, is included in the cost of the tour.

E-BIKES 

A limited number of e-bikes can be accommodated on this trip. We can accommodate a maximum of 2-4 e-bikes on the tour.  A local Ponta Delgada bike shop has e-bikes available to rent.  The shop would rent to our riders for 39€/day and can deliver to our first hotel. So the cost for 9 days would be 351€, approximately $420.

E-bikers would need to ride the daily distances, van pickup would be strictly for emergencies.  E-bike riders should be experienced with riding an e-bike and with the "rules of the road" and be prepared to ride in a group setting.

Anyone interested in this option should contact the Ride Coordinator for more information.

COST:  The cost of the trip is $3600 and includes:  9 nights lodging with breakfasts, 5 group dinners including wine, 2 picnic lunches, substantial snacks at social hours, maps, cue sheets, GPS files, daily luggage transfer, emergency van pick-up, bike box storage/transfer, transfers from Ponta Delgada to the seaside village of Agua do Alto and from our last hotel back to the airport in Porto Delgada.  A suggested tip for the guides is included in the cost but the final tip details will be discussed during one of the happy hours.  Due to hotel restrictions, there will be a cash bar at most social hours.  Not included in the cost are drinks at social hours, but wine will be provided at all group dinners.

The first deposit of $1200 will be due within 2 weeks of acceptance on the ride.  At the same time, the $100 BAC fee will be due in addition to the deposit. The second payment of $1200 will be due December 1, 2021.  The final payment of $1200 will be due February 1, 2022.

Singles sharing a room are welcome and the ride coordinator can assist in arranging roommates. No single sharing a room will be moved from the waitlist to the participants list without having a roommate. Solo rooms will be limited to two for who wish to pay the solo supplement for a room of their own.  As noted above, there is one night where solo singles may have to share a bathroom. The solo single supplement is an additional $800 and is due with on December 1, 2021.  

CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Easy Rider Tours may impose the following fees if a rider cancels AND a replacement cannot be found: cancellations prior to January 15, 2022: $150 fee, cancellations between January 15 and Feb 15, 2022: $750, cancellations between Feb 16 and April 3: $1500, cancellations after April 3: $2890.

RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: The most important rider responsibility is to read and fully understand the ride description.  BAC tours depend on participants providing much of their own support.  The primary purpose of the support vehicle is to transfer luggage and provide emergency support (illness, injury, major mechanicals), not to shuttle cyclists. 

Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles.   All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour.  Respond promptly to calls for payments and emails from the ride leader.  Do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour.  Keep the ride leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the ride leader’s decisions. 

Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what you have is sufficient. If it isn’t, you should purchase additional travel medical coverage. BAC maintains a policy that provides coverage for expenses related to medical emergencies and repatriation when members are on tours outside the US and their home country. The policy ceases to be applicable if a member makes a personal deviation (e.g., makes a side trip not related to the planned BAC tour), has limits on expenses covered for family members and only applies for 45 days following departure from home. None of the policies maintained by BAC will cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If travelling outside your home country you may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure that the appropriate vaccinations are up to date.

COVID CONSIDERATIONS: We are requiring all participants to submit proof of full vaccination prior to starting the tour. In addressing any COVID risk, we will follow all the necessary rules, change activities as needed to remain COVID compliant, and keep our tour as safe as possible. You may be asked to wear PPE in public, maintain social distance in public and limit social gathering according to the destination’s mandate at the time of the tour. We’ll assess those conditions 30 days prior to the tour start and communicate by e-mail any COVID-related requirements.

SIGN UP: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit $1200 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.


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Telephone (858) 715-9510 office@bicycleadventureclub.org

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