Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 7 - Thessaloniki rest day

After 6 days of riding, covering 600km, we figured that Thessaloniki would be a good place for a rest day. First task: bike shop. Carrie had some more work that needed to be done and we had the sense that there would be another good bike shop for a while.

The bike shop owner, Kostas, was (* is *) the heart of the downtown cycling community. He had been a serious contender to represent Greece in mountain biking at the 2002 Olympics in Athens. He founded a bicycle advocacy group in the city, organizing rides and providing a voice for local cyclists. He took young cyclists out in the afternoon to develop mountain biking skills.

Kostas has committed himself completely to developing a vibrant bicycle culture in Thessoliniki and he reminded me of some great people that I know in the Calgary cycling community.

He generously squeezed in our emergency repairs just before he closed up shop to take some kids out for a ride. And his hospitality did not end there. We met up later for dinner later (along with a friend of his) to enjoy the Thessaloniki night life. This included some rounds of Tsipouri, which is one of those drinks that it celebrated more for its alcohol content than for its taste.

We had planned to leave the city at 5am to beat the heat; however, our 2am return home might interfere with that!


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