It all started back in December 2022
It was winter time when Helmet Head announced he had plans to fulfill his dream of travelling the world. Posted on Youtube was a video where he explained his goal.
"But first of all, we are going to be heading to France, then to Spain.
There is a Leg 3 planned but I don't know if it is going to go that way (points West) or if is coming back and headed that way (points East)..."
This meant that there was a 50% chance that we was going to miss Portugal (westernmost country in Europe)! No way we could let that happen...
We (PinkMyBike) all identify with such a dream. Who doesn't? Travelling the world in your motorcycle is definitely an extreme adventure.
We messaged Alan saying that we would like to help, by storing his motorcycle for free if he wanted to. Despite our shop being a small one, if it fits through the door and there's space, we are able to store any bike for free to whoever visits our location.
PinkMyBike is all about adventure, fun and friends. Helmet Head noticed it and proposed a collaboration: we would be featured on his channel and he would bring some friends to ride a custom tour. It's a win-win and a no-brainer. We accepted on the spot and started making preparations!
We couldn't let down a British Lord and his friends. We knew Helmet Head by his videos but knew nothing about the person behind the name (let alone his friends)...
What are they into? Nature? Beaches?
What kind of food do they like?
How many Km's can they ride in one day?
And so on... The pressure was building up until it hit us:
"Let's test our product to the max! Let's give them the tour that we envisioned as PinkMyBike: the tour we would like to have ourselves."
It was decided that Helmet Head's tour would have the following goals:
Amazing roads (no highways)
Starting in Porto and ending in Bragança
4 days (3 nights)
Avoiding "tourist traps"
With history/cultural/gastronomy themes
Maximum fun and adventure spirit
It wasn't an easy tour to plan. The start/end points are no more than 2 hours apart via the A4 highway and we wanted to take 4 days with non-stop fun, amazing places and to not be repetitive.
As always, we also needed to account for "buffer zones" and shortcuts to provide for alternative routes in case the weather or some unforeseen circumstance happened which caused delays that could jeopardize our restaurants/booked rooms at the hotels. This is easier said than done... The places we were going to visit would sometimes cross by "deserted" places and empty villages.
After some work, we settled on the following route:
This tour checked all our objectives and provided plenty of stuff to experience with amazing roads and loads of "shortcuts" if needed.
We were happy, we knew it was going to be epic!
Day 0- The warm-up
The day comes. We were really excited and loaded all the motorcycles in the van and we were eager to start. We knew we had a long day ahead as Helmet Head's motorcycle had an issue in 2nd gear which should be no more than a roadside fix by Nightcrawler666 (the creator of the awesome bike), provided he had all the tools.
"An impact wrench? Sure we have one..."
We had no idea what lied ahead for us...
Day 1- A chaotic day (in a good way)
As you might have seen on the video above, day 0 ended with the motorcycle fixed (despite being really late hours, around 3 a.m.).
With the motorcycle fixed, everyone was happy, energized and ready to go.
9:00 a.m. and we were all ready to start, but then something was wrong: a custom mount for Helmet Head's forward-facing GoPro was missing. Finding a mount shouldn't be difficult: there was a shopping center nearby.
Spoiler alert: It was difficult... Check the details on the video.
It was around 11:00 when we passed again by our starting point. We were starting off with a 2 hour delay and was almost lunch time.
We made it to lunch and notice a culture shock: English people don't eat that much fish. Especially if the head is still attached 😃
Lunch was great and "surprising" to our guests. Traditional Portuguese sea food? Check.
My phone kept ringing all the time. Portuguese people really wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget anything for our guests. One of the callers stood out: "The President" (Mr. Luis, who is known for organizing events around Monkey Motorcycles in Portugal) wanted to say hi to our guests and invite them for dinner at his place. This meant a detour but still awesome content. After proposing this to our guests, they were really excited and a detour was made. We were meeting "the President".
We end Day 1 as scheduled, in Guimarães. Time for some beers, chatting and relax with some non-alcoholic beers 😅
Day 2- The Douro Valley
We start early but relaxed. The day will feature one of the highlights of the Tour: the Douro Valley.
For those who don't know, the "Port wine" has very little to do with the city of Porto (despite Porto city keeps trying to establish that relationship). It is only the shipping location to where it is sent to all over the world. Port wine comes (and is made) in the Douro valley.
From Guimarães to Vila Nova de Foz-Côa there's many possible roads, but we definitely wanted two of them: the N304 (we spent more than 1 hour without crossing seeing other drivers over amazing scenery- close to the waterfall) and N222 (which was one of the highlights- "The best road in the world").
This would be one of he best days, but a packed one too.
We headed to the "Fisgas do Ermelo" (not before seeing the Guimarães Castle), which is an amazing waterfall in the middle of nowhere and the only way to get there would lead us to the N304. Amazing road...
After lunch in Régua, we were going to do a guided tour on the Douro Museum, which would set the tone for what was to come and give context to all the vineyards we were about to experience on the N222.
After the museum visit, disaster struck: rain came pouring down, spoiling the N222 bends and made us fear the planned sunset would be delayed to night-time riding.
While it was still amazing, we still wish it didn't rain and we made it to the hotel.
It is safe to say the place we stayed was amazing. This is what we know is available outside main tourist destinations in Portugal: authentic and unique experiences.
Day 3- Viewpoint in Portuguese is "Miradouro" (to see the Douro)
This day would feature the raw landscape and how life is on the Portuguese "frontier".
The fertile soils were replaced by high vantage points, inhospitable grounds crossed by a wide and deep canyon. This canyon becomes a natural border between Portugal and Spain.
These lands mark the start of our district (Bragança). We know this area like the back of our hands and we feel relaxed and at home. Time to show what this place is made of!
Amazing landscapes and viewpoints set the mood, the roads and the motorcycles make it unforgettable and the people make it an authentic. Nothing was missing and we all loved it:
Day 4- The (truly) grande finale
Day 3 had been another amazing day. Day 4 was a new day. It was also Helmet Head's birthday (which we didn't know of) but it turned out EPIC.
We had scheduled a few surprises: traditional gifts for our guests. We decided to offer them something that every "Transmontano" (how we call ourselves in this area) needs: a custom pocket-knife.
Crazy to think out things turn-out, a surprise gift on someone's birthday? By chance? No, we call it "Fado" (destiny in English).
Day 4 was also the day the motorcycles would rest. It had been a long ride...
To sum up
We all had a blast and felt like we shared more than just a road. It was amazing and unforgettable. Truly a proper PinkMyBike Tour.