Friday, July 5, 2013

I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride my Bike!

Ever since arriving to Colombia I have been on the hunt for a bicycle to use while I'm here.
I have gone to just about every bicycle shop and rental company in town and what I've found are heavy, rusty, junkers that cost $15 per day to rent. The hostel that I'm working at also rents bicycles (perhaps the most junky in town) and they have graciously allowed me to use them for free when not in use. I've claimed one of them by replacing the pedals with my clip-ins and this baby has taken me to some amazing places!
Meet "Azul":

With all my trips to the bike shop to buy tubes, get advice on places to ride, fill up my tires, etc, I have become friends with the bike shop owner, Henry. 

I've found that it's easiest to get around town by bike, so I take Azul out almost daily. She's also taken me to some amazing places surrounding Villa de Leyva. 

Out to lunch:

Visiting nearby attractions:

Azul in front of the Monastery: 

Azul on fossils:

Azul and some friends in the town Raquira:

I've made some companions along the way too:
Herman and Alfonso (tomato farmers):

Mauricio (wine maker) and Ali (brother in law of hostel owner):

I didn't catch this little lady's name:

Oh the places you'll go:

I even participated in a grueling group ride up some seriously steep dirt roads with amazing vistas:

These guys were quite impressed that I kept up with my heavyweight Azul in tow. They also aren't used to seeing a lady pushing herself like I do. Henry asked me how I became so strong. I kind of laughed and shrugged my shoulders. He became serious and said, 
"No really, what is it? Do you eat lots of potatoes??" 
"No, but I do eat lots of chocolate". "Chocolate?" 
"Yes. Dark chocolate (chocolate oscuro)"
"Dark chocolate. I see."
My answer seemed to satisfy his curiosity. He then said goodbye to everyone and took off to get back to the shop (and presumably stop by the market to get some chocolate oscuro!)

The feeling from riding a bike is completely fulfilling. You feel the breeze, the sun, the rain even more when you are zipping down a road or a trail on a bike. You feel your heart beating, your legs moving, your lungs working.  The cyclical movement of pedaling and rhythmic breathing becomes meditative. When the endorphins rush through your body you notice even more how incredibly beautiful your surroundings are. Nothing can stop you. 

PS: here is a little piece of chocolate heaven that keeps me strong: 

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