Tag Archives: Quad Bike

Do As I Say Not As I Do!

On 10th September 2008 we woke to a glorious morning on the island of Milos and after a cup of tea I walked briskly into the town to hire a vehicle to transport us around.

I found a place and negotiated the hire of a white, sport model, quad bike, but before being allowed to proceed with the hire I had to undergo a short driving competency test to satisfy the renter that I was safe to go out on the open road.  He explained that as a rule English and French people were generally ok, but Italians, who think they know all about scooters and bikes, are not so good and are liable to fall off and injure themselves sometime during the day but the Americans, who know nothing about them at all, are absolutely hopeless and are very liable to crash and cause a multiple pile-up within seconds.

I passed the test but I couldn’t help but feel a total hypocrite because I have always told my children for safety reasons not to do anything so rash as ride a scooter or a bike like this when on a holiday but I had total disregard for my own advice and was completely euphoric about driving around like Peter Fonda in Easyrider on my four wheels as I returned to the hotel.

Once on the open road the first thing that we had to do was to negotiate our way out of the harbour and this involved a steep climb to the town high above the seafront and this proved quite difficult because it soon became obvious that the quad bike that I had rented was hopelessly underpowered.  It was only 50cc and completely unsuitable for two people, the steering was light because of the weight distribution, handling was a nightmare and it was inevitable that within only a few minutes we had our first near death experience when the thing refused to take a tight hairpin bend with two of us on board and we had a confrontation with the driver of an impatient mineral lorry who was not minded to be very helpful.

I was very careful after that because the thing was very difficult to control, it was hard work, essential to keep your wits about you at all time and the slightest road undulation resulted in wobbles and panics all the way to our first stop.

With some relief we stopped at Sarakiniko beach, which is one of the famous picture postcard sites on Milos.  It was approaching midday and we walked around the sleepy village of Pollonia and up to the top to the inevitable blue domed church and an uninterrupted view of the nearby island of Kimolos.  We left and returned back along the coast road stopping frequently to admire the colourful rock formations, the pretty beaches and the excavations at the Papafragos rocks all of which were along the route.  To be honest I was glad of the frequent stops because I didn’t feel too confident about the quad bike and the way it was behaving with the pair of us, and our luggage, on board.

In the middle of the day we arrived at the main town of Plaka, which overlooks the port of Adamas below and we parked the bike and walked into the little streets of the busy town.  Next to Plaka was the village of Trypiti that had restored windmills and Christian catacombs that were sadly closed due to excavations and an ancient Greek amphitheatre that we missed because it looked like a long way to walk in the blistering heat of the afternoon.

After a couple of Mythos I was much more confident about the quad bike so we left the high level towns and returned again to the beaches on the north of the island and then we had our second near death experience when we stopped for a photo opportunity and I left the bike in reverse and when I started off again almost tipped us backwards into the deep ravine that had provided the backdrop for our dramatic biking pictures that almost proved fatally to be our last.

Later we rested and recovered from our biking experience and debated whether to use it again to return to Plaka for evening meal, but after we had reflected on the earlier dangerous incidents we decided instead to leave it safely parked up and stay instead at the harbour.

A Life in a Year – 10th September, A Quad Bike Against All Advice

On 10th September 2008 we woke to a glorious morning on the island of Milos and after a cup of tea I walked briskly into the town to hire a vehicle to transport us around.

I found a place and negotiated the hire of a white, sport model, quad bike, but before being allowed to proceed with the hire I had to undergo a short driving competency test to satisfy the renter that I was safe to go out on the open road.  He explained that as a rule English and French people were generally ok, but Italians, who think they know all about scooters and bikes, are not so good and are liable to fall off and injure themselves sometime during the day but the Americans, who know nothing about them at all, are absolutely hopeless and are very liable to crash and cause a multiple pile-up within seconds.

I passed the test but I couldn’t help but feel a total hypocrite because I have always told my children for safety reasons not to do anything so rash as ride a scooter or a bike like this when on a holiday but I had total disregard for my own advice and was completely euphoric about driving around like Peter Fonda in Easyrider on my four wheels as I returned to the hotel.

Once on the open road the first thing that we had to do was to negotiate our way out of the harbour and this involved a steep climb to the town high above the seafront and this proved quite difficult because it soon became obvious that the quad bike that I had rented was hopelessly underpowered.  It was only 50cc and completely unsuitable for two people, the steering was light because of the weight distribution, handling was a nightmare and it was inevitable that within only a few minutes we had our first near death experience when the thing refused to take a tight hairpin bend with two of us on board and we had a confrontation with the driver of an impatient mineral lorry who was not minded to be very helpful.

I was very careful after that because the thing was very difficult to control, it was hard work, essential to keep your wits about you at all time and the slightest road undulation resulted in wobbles and panics all the way to our first stop.

With some relief we stopped at Sarakiniko beach, which is one of the famous picture postcard sites on Milos.  It was approaching midday and we walked around the sleepy village of Pollonia and up to the top to the inevitable blue domed church and an uninterrupted view of the nearby island of Kimolos.  We left and returned back along the coast road stopping frequently to admire the colourful rock formations, the pretty beaches and the excavations at the Papafragos rocks all of which were along the route.  To be honest I was glad of the frequent stops because I didn’t feel too confident about the quad bike and the way it was behaving with the pair of us, and our luggage, on board.

In the middle of the day we arrived at the main town of Plaka, which overlooks the port of Adamas below and we parked the bike and walked into the little streets of the busy town.  Next to Plaka was the village of Trypiti that had restored windmills and Christian catacombs that were sadly closed due to excavations and an ancient Greek amphitheatre that we missed because it looked like a long way to walk in the blistering heat of the afternoon.

After a couple of Mythos I was much more confident about the quad bike so we left the high level towns and returned again to the beaches on the north of the island and then we had our second near death experience when we stopped for a photo opportunity and I left the bike in reverse and when I started off again almost tipped us backwards into the deep ravine that had provided the backdrop for our dramatic biking pictures that almost proved fatally to be our last.

Later we rested and recovered from our biking experience and debated whether to use it again to return to Plaka for evening meal, but after we had reflected on the earlier dangerous incidents we decided instead to leave it safely parked up and stay instead at the harbour.

A Life in a Year – 8th April, The Venus de Milo and a Quad Bike

To lose a work of art is unfortunate but to lose three is careless and the island of Milos has the unfortunate distinction of being famous for three lost works of art.  The statue of the Greek God Asclepius has been taken away to the British Museum (not lord Elgin this time), Poseidon is in Athens but the most famous of all is the statue of Aphrodite, or the Venus de Milo, which was discovered here on the 8th April 1820 and promptly taken away to the Louvre in Paris.  All over the island archaeologists still search for the missing arms but there remains a lot of debate about just how good the statue of a podgy overweight ancient Greek lady of dubious artistic origin really is and it is unlikely that they will ever be found. 

We woke early because we had plans for a very full day and we thought we might hire a bike and join the search for the missing appendages.   After breakfast on the terrace with a persistent black cat that seemed to think I was a temporary Merlin and the wind still rushing in and agitating the sea we walked back to Pollonia to catch the ten o’clock bus to Adamas.

The bus journey took about twenty minutes and was curious because here on Milos you pay for your ticket when you get off the bus.  Very strange, what would you do if the inspector got on to check?  Our first job was to find a bike shop and hired a death machine from a man who had forgotten to take his early morning happy pill. 

We wanted to do the bike thing again because someone told us that these things are so dangerous that within two years they will be banned from hire in Greece so we thought that it was important to try them out before they are no longer available.  Apparently as a rule English and French people are generally proficient, Italians, who think they know all about scooters and bikes, are not so good and are certain to fall off and injure themselves sometime during the day but the Americans, who know nothing about them at all, are absolutely hopeless and are very liable to crash and cause a multiple pile-up within seconds of taking to the road.

The first thing that we had to do was to negotiate our way out of the harbour and this involved a steep climb to the town high above the seafront, the thing was very difficult to control, it was hard work and essential to concentrate at all times because the slightest road undulation resulted in wobbles and panics all the way to our first stop.

We arrived at the main town of Plaka, which overlooks the port of Adamas below and we parked the bike and walked into the little streets of the busy town.  First we walked to the top and to the Venetian castle and then returned to the shady alleys of the town with its pretty squares and tavernas.  Like all island towns it was predominantly white with blue doors, external staircases, kittens and discreet little shops, most of which were closed on account of this being siesta time.  There must have been some sort of priest’s convention in town today because there were dozens of black robed ministers everywhere, in the bakery having morning coffee and later in the taverna having lunch and what we thought was really strange was that they were almost constantly on their mobile phones.

We walked around the town and couldn’t help noticing that there were three distinctive smells.  Proctor and Gamble Tide detergent (no longer popular in the UK), which clung to the fresh linen hanging on the washing lines outside the houses, incense, leaking out under the doors of the churches and the divine aroma of fresh moussaka and other Greek specialities being prepared for lunchtime in the tavernas.   As it happened, it was lunchtime now so we stopped and had a leisurely lunch of salad and moussaka (what else), wine and beer and then we reluctantly moved on.

Next to Plaka was the village of Trypiti that had restored windmills and Christian catacombs that were sadly closed due to excavations and an ancient Greek amphitheatre that we missed because it looked like a long way to walk in the blistering heat of the afternoon.  After a couple of Mythos I was much more confident about the quad bike so we left the high level towns and returned again to the beaches on the north of the island.

First we stopped at the seafront village of Klima, a little fishing community with gaily-painted boat garages cut directly into the rocks.  The season was finished now and the village was strangely quiet but I imagine this place would be busy in summer with lots of activity, busy bars and cafés and the aromatic smell of fish cooking on the grills at the sides of the streets. 

We drove east back towards Pollonia and on the way stopped at Sarakiniko beach, which is one of the famous picture postcard sites on Milos.  The island, like Santorini, is volcanic in origin but there the similarity ends because it is completely different in character and in appearance and here the cliffs are so brilliant white that from a distance they seem to be covered in snow.  There are great swirling formations of sea chiselled rocks in the most spectacular and attractive formations. 

In the late afternoon we arrived back at the Nefeli Sunset , it had been a good day but we didn’t find the missing arms of the Venus de Milo!