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Thursday 30 May 2024

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The thrill of Brazil – country of the moment


Brazil is THE place to be at the moment. Not content with being one of the most stunning holiday destinations on earth, it’s the host of the 2014 World Cup and is gearing up to welcome the planet back again in 2016 for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. If you fancy somewhere different for your triathlon cycling training then why not make the leap to Brazil – and come 2016 you can watch the Olympians on television and say “been there, done that”!

The first thing to consider when planning a trip to Brazil is that it is a big country and in some parts very different culturally from the UK. It is therefore probably a good recommendation to seek out an organised tour so that you are in the company of local experts who know not only the terrain, but the way of life. Various companies specialise in cycling trips to Brazil and in fact you could join a charity expedition and raise funds for a good cause at the same time as discovering this beautiful country.

If you fancy taking the charitable route, Discover Adventure organise fundraising expeditions to destinations all over the world and have a number of Brazilian trips lined up. Their Cycle the Coast to Rio challenge sees you first of all fly into São Paolo, from where you are transported to the coastal resort of Guarajá. Guarajá is where you begin five days of cycling that will also take in Juquehy, Ilha Bela, Lagoinha, Picinguaba and Paraty, before driving to Rio de Janeiro where you get to spend a free day and enjoy sights such as Copacabana Beach and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Rio de Janeiro itself is an interesting city in which to cycle. It has an impressive network of cycle paths that takes you through an eclectic variety of surroundings – from tunnels and busy highways to beachfront promenades, where you will be in the company of other cyclists, joggers and inline skaters.

The rest of the country offers variety too, not least in terms of the landscapes. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul for example, the landscape from Chuy to Capão da Porteira is pretty much flat the whole way – which lends itself to the farmland that will make up much of the scenery that you see. Rio Grande do Sul is also home to the Taim ecological reserve, and if you are a nature enthusiast this is the place to have your camera ready – crocodiles, marshland birds and the unique capybara rodents are among the sights to see.

The state of Paraná is a little more hilly than Rio Grande do Sul. Here – on the 644km stretch between Foz do Iguaçu and the state capital Curitiba – you can expect an altitude gain of over 8,500 metres.

With so much colour, so much variety and so many weird and wonderful sights, after a cycling experience in Brazil you will never view triathlon training in London in the same light again.

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