Friday, December 11, 2015

Back on the saddle

It's 3:30pm and I write this from the rooftop of the hostel, Plantas y Blanco, in BaƱos, Ecuador.  There's a nice breeze coming through and the sound of a waterfall can be heard in the background.

On Dec. 3rd I flew back down to Quito to continue my cycling journey through the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.  My bike which I, unfortunately, went sailing down on into a cement drainage ditch back in January 2015, was waiting for me in Tumbaco.  Tumbaco is the home of a very welcoming and friendly cyclist house run by Santiago Lara & his family, who have been hosting cyclists from all over the world for the past 25 years.

Here's Santiago in the middle, Javi from Spain on the left & me on the right, with my newly fixed bike.

From the crash, the bike needed a new front suspension and rim. I also added a front rack I brought down with me from California, allowing me to put some weight on the front and have 4 cat litter panniers.

The first day getting back to tour riding has always been frustrating. I was cycling regularly in California before I left, but, here I'm carrying full weight, am starting at about 7,000 ft above sea level, and am a country where I don't know the roads and they're not big on road signs here.

The first night I slept at the fire station in Amaguana, about 25 miles from where I started.  I know this sounds strange, but in the underworld of tour cycling it is known you can stop at any fire station and they will, 99% of the time, let you sleep there for the night. I think it goes back to the Che Guevara days when he took his legendary motorcycle trip through South America and stayed at some fire stations. I have also slept at police stations, churches, truck parking lots, floors of restaurants & anywhere I can put my tent up.

Anyways, the firefighters in Amaguana had a meeting room upstarts they let me have for the night, so I slept on floor and had a bathroom and cold shower right down the hall.

Honestly, when cycling I'm happy to sleep anywhere with a roof over my head and an available bathroom. A shower is a bonus.

I actually slept pretty well and headed out early the next day for a long ride to Latacunga, approx. 70 km (45 miles) south.