So I arrived on the island of Zankynthos, Greece on Sunday 14th May 2017. Filled with mixed emotions, nervous, excited and filled with questions as I ventured into the unknown.
The flight was pleasant enough, although a very early start and the roughest landing I have ever encountered, I think the pilot almost run out of runway on accounts of his braking!!!
I got through the small airport, bags and bike box in tow and headed out into the Greek sunshine to be met by the gang and my new family at the Peligoni Club for the next few months. I am lucky enough to get the job of bike guide, so taking people on bicycle tours around the island from the club. We have in stock eight road bikes (Stork Aernario 20th Anniversary disc editions..beautiful bike), six Giant Stance mountain bikes and four Giant electric assist mountain bikes, all supplied from my good friends at Spokes of Bagshot.
From the airport we go back to the club for a quick meet and discussion on how things were going to go. We would drop our things at our accommodations and then head back in our scruffs to get straight into work.
My accommodation is a lovely new build house right up on the hill with views overlooking the port and I am sharing with some lovely people, a couple who are head of fitness and the beach and my room mate, the spa manager who, lucky for me just so happens to be a qualified physio!
We dump our stuff and get changed and head back to the club, which although it is in a beautiful location, it admittedly looks like a shell of a place in need of a lot of TLC…. there’s a lot of work to be done!
The first week was pretty much spent on jobs to get the club back to looking good – including my new bike shed which I am very excited to have for the summer. We start work at 9 after we are fed breakfast, lunch is at 1 and dinner is usually 6pm as long as all our jobs are finished. Jobs include but not limited to, painting, weeding, sweeping, building, moving stuff and more painting! It sounds hard work and it is, but at the same time, everything just feels so much better when you are in the sun and by the sea!
By the end of the week as the bigger jobs are fulfilled and more staff arrive the head of each department are able to focus more on their own sections and so there I am merrily building bikes in my little bike shack to the sound of Led Zeppelin and an almost sea view (will be once the hedge gets cut down!), could life get any better??
It is Sunday before I manage to get out on my road bike for my first ride, although I have managed to scope out some of the roads in the land rover before hand.
The roads here are amazing and much better than I expected in terms of the road surface itself. They are very hilly though and unfortunately after my month off and rehabilitation of the knee, my cardio is left with much room for improvement! Ah well, it will come back in a couple of weeks and I plot to myself how to claim as many QOM’s as I can whilst I am here 🙂
The views are just spectacular though and some of the descents are just incredible – its not often I actually say ‘wow’ out loud on a ride but here I just cannot help it. The roads are beautiful, with little lanes through olive groves and green forests to soaring descents with coastal views – the absolute slogs of the climbs (and they are big old slogs!!!) are definitely worth it!!
The mountain bike trails I feel are trickier to find and so I head out on the E-bike to save my legs a little whilst I am exploring. I’ve been on E-bikes before but only zooming around car parks or industrial estates and I discover a whole new love for them as I smash up the hills effortlessly to be greeted once again with views to die for. This is going to take some time I think to myself, as the tracks are very dried out and very rocky and although I glide effortless over them with the full suspension, I am not comfortable with the prospect of guiding along such dangerous routes with the guests and so more riding is required to find some reasonable and safer trails.
So we are a couple of days from opening and it has been amazing to watch as the club transforms itself so much each day. A lot of hard work has gone into making the club looks so amazing, yet maintaining its natural feel. Every path you walk, every garden you admire, every decoration and so much more has all been hand made by the staff here and that’s what makes it such a special place to be.
The next couple of weeks will be exciting as the guests arrived and everyone gets used to their new roles and share their fun and experiences with them.
I hope they will enjoy the riding here as much as I do and I will definitely be selling the big climbs as the ‘gateway to heavenly views’!!!
I’ll keep you updated from Spiceys Bike Shack!
All the best!