Cycling and São Paulo

Posted: August 9, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Ribble Valley – a slightly more picturesque and safer place to cycle… (c)

Phew! Sorry it has been a while since any updates. Busy days!

Well, a lot has happened – with the highlight being our two new bikes. Bikes are expensive in Brazil – twice what they cost in the United States. We wanted hybrid bikes as opposed to racing or mountain bikes, so bikes that are not too heavy but at the same time are built so they can carry baggage and be quite sturdy. Also, a good gear range was important.

It has been a long time since I have ridden a lot – when I was a kid really, I went with my older brothers Mark or Franklyn on bike rides around Lancaster and also the Orkney Islands (the way I learned to ride was when I was… I dunno, around seven years old on the islands, and my brother took me up to the top of a hill on the bike and just gave me a push… oh yes, I learned..!). The Orkney Islands were almost perfect for kids to ride around causing chaos on the bikes, and when we lived in Lancaster, we frequently went on rides of 40-60miles around the Ribble Valley and the area… so quite decent distances.

Merida Crossway

The bikes we got were a Kona Dew for myself and a Merida Crossway for Natalia (no more Konas). Both with 27 gears, so a healthy range to make life easier going up the hills (and we will definitely need these!). Natalia needs to learn how to use them first… that would definitely be a start! We finally got them setup for us by 6pm – the time it gets dark in São Paulo and, with no car, we had to ride them back a good 10km to our house. Not the longest distance in the world…

But São Paulo isn’t the Ribble Valley… it’s slightly busier and you are lucky if car, bus or truck drivers even acknowledge your existence to give you space. It isn’t pleasant, especially

Kona Dew

when you are getting back to grips with riding. And at night it feels even scarier, and riding along the roads in areas we know well just seemed a little bit more complicated not to get lost. We stayed off the main avenues though the going was pretty slow – and the gears hadn’t been adjusted properly at the store so they slipped in some of the lower gears – not particularly helpful.  

We made it back safe and sound eventually, and it was nice to see our cat again in the house. Riding along the roads made me remember why I had let my cycling slip since moving to a large city – but like it or not, we are going to get used to it and on Sundays at least there are hundreds of kilometres of cycle routes demarcated across the city, and we have found a group that does journeys along these as well as training sessions during the week… safety in numbers! So it will get better.

…And São Paulo… a slightly busier place for a cyclist to navigate…

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