During each of my 17 stays on Alonnisos one of my very favorite things is riding a motorbike up and down the island’s twisting roads, and navigating around the numerous obstacles that one encounters while cruising through the crowded streets of the port town of Patitiri. With respect to the latter, my wife and I always joke that driving through Patitiri is like playing a computer video game because all sorts of obstacles just appear at the last moment to keep you on your toes.
There are two particular stretches of the tarmac that are the most enjoyable in my view, the first being the views on the road between the Old Village and Patitiri (see picture to the left), and the second being those on the road down to the port town of Steni Vala (photo below right). In both cases the vistas are just amazing, and I truly have never tired of seeing these sights no matter how many times I driven up and down these roads. There’s also something magical about the smell of the pine forests as you cruise down the road with the wind blowing softly on your face. There are times during the winter here in Chicago that I long for the scent of those beautiful pines and the visual treats that await me around every corner on the roads of Alonnisos.
To see a brief YouTube video of what driving the road down to Steni Vala is like, click here. The music clip attached to it is from a song called “Foreign Land” performed by a Paris, France-based rock and roll band called Televox.The band is led by my good friend Lorenz Plassman, who I met on Alonnisos in 2007, and who gave me permission to use this copyrighted audio content.
How Safe is Riding a Motorbike on Alonnisos?
If you are a person who is comfortable riding a two-wheeled vehicle, in my view there is simply no better way to experience the island than to rent a motorbike. One of the first questions that you may ask is, “is it dangerous?” Honestly, yes, it can be if one is an inexperienced rider. As the driver, however, you are the one who is ultimately in control of your destiny. So, if you drive carefully, and stay sober while driving (this is critical on these roads), your chances of getting into an accident on Alonnisos are no worse than they are anywhere else, and perhaps less simply because there are dramatically fewer vehicles on the entire island than one normally would encounter at any one moment in a typical medium to large-size European or U.S. city.
I&M Motorbike and Car Rental
So, assuming you are up for the challenge, the only thing you need to figure out is, who on Alonnisos to rent your motorbike from. In this regard, there are numerous businesses that rent them on the island, and I’m sure that for the most part you’d probably be satisfied with any number of them. There is, however, one particular business that I have rented from for over twenty years, and every time I return I don’t hesitate in going right back to them. The business I refer to is I & M Motorbike and Car Rental, and the proprietors are Ilias and Maria, supported by their son Apostolis.
They live in Volos during the winter, but come to spend every summer in Alonnisos where they offer a great assortment of motorbikes, backed by some of the friendliest service you’ll find anywhere on the island. I first rented from Ilias back in 1997, and since then he and his wife Maria have always provided me with a quality ride at a competitive price. More importantly, anytime I’ve experienced a problem (such as a flat tire), he’s been excellent about getting me back on the road as quickly as possible. I cannot say enough about the character and hospitality of Ilias, Maria, and Apostolis, and for that reason I highly recommend their rental business. In fact, over the years I’ve referred numerous people to I&M and all of them reported complete satisfaction.
Just so you know, they offer both automatic transmission motorbikes in the 125 and above size. In addition, if you’re into larger, traditional motorcycles, they can accommodate your needs there as well.
Finding I&M Motorbike Rental
I&M’s original location is in Patitiri on what we call “the back street.” The photo to your left of Ilias and his son Apostolis, provides some insight as to what the storefront looks like. It’s easy to find because there’s a large number of motorbikes parked across the street from it. To contact I&M by phone call (30) 2424-065010 (where 30 is the country code). To reserve a motorbike via email click here.
Happy motoring, but just be careful out there!
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