The wind in your hair, the sun on your back, the gentle crunch of tyres on gravel, the sounds of nature all around you, a glimpse of the sea sparkling in the distance, the smell of pines all around. Up ahead a tiny medieval church beckons to be discovered. If this is your idea of travelling, then cycling in Cyprus is for you.
In the last few years Cyprus has taken off as a destination for cycling enthusiasts both as a place to enjoy the sport and as a means to explore the island. The island has perfect weather for cycling, especially in the months between October and April, when temperatures range between 15°C and 25°C, while annual rainfall is also quite low in comparison to European countries. What's more, unlike other European or Mediterranean countries, the strong headwinds that are a bane to cyclists, here are rare.
But what makes Cyprus stand out as a heaven for cyclists is its compactness. It is like a whole continent condensed into a small island. The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus combines attractive beaches with pine-clad peaks, busy modern Europeanised towns and tranquil old stone villages, vineyards and olive groves and ancient ruins. The short distances mean that there are rapid changes of terrain entailing a variety of different road surfaces over short distances.
Within the space of 10 km you can go from rocky to clay, and steep to flat, enabling you to experience all surfaces within a short period of time, and making the island into one huge mountain bike arena. Bikers can hone their skills on the unique trails of the mountains of Troodos or Machairas, or in the Akamas region, riding steep slopes that have been ridden and tested by many world champions. Quiet roads add to the attraction.
Being a world-renowned tourist destination, Cyprus benefits from a strong tourist infrastructure, such as a wide range of accommodation to suit all pockets, an excellent road network, and first class services. An additional attraction is that visiting the island during the winter months means it is easier to find accommodation and one can benefit from lower off-season prices.
Cypriots as a whole are friendly people and cyclists can be assured of a warm welcome, particularly in the more remote villages and countryside, where modern life has yet to spoil their traditional hospitality. English is widely spoken throughout the island, but particularly in the tourist resorts, so asking for directions should not be a problem.
Cycling Races in Cyprus
Cyprus is a haven not only for active cyclists and cycling tourists. In recent years many top athletes have chosen Cyprus for their winter training.
Renown riders like World Champion and Gold Olympic Medalist Jaroslav Kulhavy who always starts its racing season in Cyprus stated " 'I started coming to Cyprus years ago. Cyprus is perfect in this time of the season. Good weather, good opportunities for training on the mountain bike and on the road as well.There is less traffic and the people are friendly.'
In the competitive field, the Cyprus Cycling Federation, which is a member of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has been organizing road races since 1978 on an annual basis. The island nowdays hosts nine annual mountainbike and road cycling events and races for sportive, amateurs and proffessional riders