This trip is situated in the Natural Park of Serra de Aire and Candeeiros. It starts at the modern and high quality Youth Hostel of Alvados and than follows paved roads up to Serra de São Mamede where the official mtb tracks of Pia de Urso are located. This small historical village has been recently recovered in the traditional way and has now many facilities for the visitors, including a mtb centre with toilets, free showers, bike-wash and a self-service repair shop. There is a restaurant and a bar that offer special menus for bikers. The village is the focal point of seven officially marked mtb tracks recognized by Portuguese Cycling Federation with four different grades (Green, Blue, Red and Black). The track presented here combines two red graded tracks: P5 and P3. These are considered difficult with several obstacles drops, wide range of surface types (rocky single-tracks with loose stones) requiring good technical skills. I started with P5 near Lagoa Ruiva and followed the marked route until I got to Pia de Urso where I stopped for an espresso. From here I followed the signs of P3 all the way up to the summit of Maunça and down to the valley. From there the P3 tracks goes up again in a steep climb until it joins P5 again close to Pia de Urso. At Demó Novo I left the marked tracks and returned to Alvados following the road to Barrenta until I joined the N243 back to the youth hostel.
Where to sleep:Youth Hostel Alvados - Porto de Mós(Modern facilities with good quality at affordable prices (double room with breakfast and a great balcony: 34 Euros/night)MTB centre of Pia de Urso:Centro BTTFacebook page