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The tour helped us see much more than we would have by ourselves on foot and helped set out which landmarks we wanted to explore further at a later stage. Dimitri was an excellent guide and very helpful - and his knowledge of the city and it's history was great. He even helped to suggest an excellent traditional Greek restaurant which we went to 3 times afterwards!
One tip though is ask for a children's bike if you are short my wife is 5 foot 2 and the bike team very kindly helped to arrange a smaller bike. We're not strong bikers, but the electric motor on the bike makes the hills and roads a breeze.
I rate this a 2 mostly because there was rain the morning of our tour, so we had an abbreviated time frame until the rain stopped, and you can't really spend time at any one place. It's an overview...no ore. Our guide was friendly, funny and engagaing. I was disappointed in other Athens tour guides, so Jimmy was refreshing and lively he gave us tips on Mykonos that proved to be a Winner. I liked the whole experience of biking through the town to see a lot, but the issue is having time to return and see
the sights more closely. It's a good acclimating tour, but hard to keep track of where you are in the city zipping around so fast. I should have asked him to show me on a map where we were or what our route looked like in a map before getting going, just to be oriented better. Nonetheless, it was stress free and fun turning over the reins. I think anyone comfortable on a bike is good to take this tour. I never felt there was a situation that I couldn't navigate, but I live and bike in a big city in the US, and it's no different ....
This was a pretty unusual trip for us. We wanted to visit the Acropolis and several other sites, but only had a few hours of time off our cruise ship. took a random shot at electric bicycle tours to be able to maximize the experience. I'll have to separate out the tour and the electric bike stories separately.
First our tour. We arrived by cab at an address that initially didn't appear to exist. We got our of the cab and discovered that the tour shop was still under construction and we peeked around the corner and saw a small fleet of bikes out with a few people standing by them. We were greeted by the guide, Jimmy who began to make introductions. There were four of us, my wife, adult daughter and son-in-law, and another couple. Jimmy gave us a brief into to each bike and we were off.
I was initially a little concerned that we were in downtown city traffic. While it wasn't a big street, the traffic was heavy and signals and stop signs are merely suggestions. Thankfully we were off the main drag and on the way to our first stop. We pulled a pretty steep hill and got to the top to see the astronomical observatory. Interesting, but nothing terribly special yet.
Later on we got to the heart of the tour and were riding through the city park and zoo, past the Parliament and Prime Minister residence, watching the uniquely dress change of guard think Ministry of Silly Walks and the Benakis Museum. We weren't able to visit either the Akropolis nor the National Archaeological museum simply as a matter of time, but we were outside of them. More on that shortly.
Our guide Jimmy DImitris was charming, witty, and connected with each of us immediately. He managed to get me talking about music and politic very early in. Normally a dangerous conversation starter, he is perceptive enough to pick up on cues that allowed him to engage me in a conversation that spanned early Frank Zappa catalog to Trump sublime to ridiculous? all while effortlessly speeding up and dropping back to check in on each of the riders. Jimmy and I became Facebook friends and message regularly. I met a lot of really nice people while we travelled for two weeks, but no one else with whom I would have chosen to stay in contact .
Jimmy isn't the owner, but a friend of the owner who was filling in while they worked on the build out of the store. He's a pretty cool guy with encyclopedic memory of rock and roll.
Now to the bikes. I chose electric bikes because I have back and leg injuries that make it difficult to engage in a favorite pastime for extended periods. Why not find out about them? Electric bikes range from tiny little folding toys with barely any grunt, to massive off-roaders with scary fast power. Our mid sized urban cruisers were perfect for the city. We had several variations but they allowed us some special opportunities.
We began our tour with individual instruction to each bike and then a test ride up and down a tiny side street so we could get comfortable with controls and dynamics. First, in that heavy traffic, Jimmy told us to stay in single file and tight formation so he could truly guide us the safest way.Then, as we got out of congested traffic, we fanned out through wide pedestrian and bicycle only areas, climbing hills effortlessly. Most places allow electric bikes anywhere you can ride a non-motorized bike or Segway. And while a Segway is an interesting mode of travel, much like a BlueTooth earpiece, they're impossible to use without looking like a dork. Electric bikes ooze cool. They also permit the user to cover six-ten times the distance one would on foot. Yes, it isn't the cardio workout of a conventional bike, but understand that you will be pedaling. As much as you like or as little as you need. It is just easier for and old banged-up guy like me to do it for three hours. Especially in 90F degree heat. Sure we sweated some, but we truly didn't feel worn out.
I became slightly obsessed with the concept of electric bikes. It will take forever for them to be adopted in any significant numbers in the US and that's a shame. I live west of Ft Lauderdale with a lot of great weather, good riding spaces, and zero decent public transportation. We are gradually seeing more and better lanes that make it practical. I finally broke down and got myself one for Christmas. Initially I shopped for something similar to what we rode. They can go as low as weak motored older models with heavy lead batteries for about 700 up to 3000 for super lightweight Lithium Ion battery whiz bang models. I broke down and forked out somewhere in between for a behemoth Fat Bike e-Grizzly with beach tires. It is completely insane and makes me feel 35years younger.
So wrapping up, the tour was great, the guide was fantastic, and the bikes were truly something that changed the way I see the world.
PLEASE TAKE THIS TOUR!!!!
The bikes were fun, the sights were amazing, and the guides catered the entire tour for us and seemed in no real hurry the whole time. Demetrius, our guide, was hysterical and was a highlight of our trip. When riding on the tour, you'll see a lot of regular bike tours and you will be SO glad that you are on an electric bike. The days get hot and I can't imagine tackling those hills in the heat. Electric bikes make the tour easy and comfortable. We found them no trouble at all, but I think if you're not a confident biker, they may be extra challenging for you.
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