The Solo Sagrado ride

Posted: August 18, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , ,

After the relatively flat and calm ride through the cycle ways of São Paulo, the Bicicreteiro group organized a ride that would take us a little further out of the city in the direction of Interlagos and the Solo Sagrado temple. A few more hills which required lower gears and a few more main avenues meaning more cars to deal with – not helped by the fact that we went on the Saturday (because of Father’s Day on the Sunday) meaning that there were much fewer cycle ways. With Father’s Day, it also meant that the group was much smaller this time with only nine of us – we were following a route printed out from André’s instructions, with a guy called Ricardo leading the way. We probably averaged around 20km/hour though had plenty of stops to work out where we were and where to go next.

The Circle South – route planned by O Bicicreteiro

The route started off at Vila Olimpia, at the cycle path along the River Pinheiros – probably one of the worst smelling rivers I have passed by in my entire life, in all the countries I have been to. It is just a slow-moving cess pool of filfth, filled to the brim with chemicals and pollution from people and industries. The local government has had the decency though to put in a nice long cycle path which must go for around 40km along the side of the river. I guess that as the cars are not killing off the cyclists fast enough, poisoning us all with the foul fumes from this stench hole might do the trick. Okay, sorry, I am being ungrateful – it is definitely nice to have the path there. Going along the path for about 8km, we turned off, went along the Marginal Pinheiros highway (extremely busy road with about six lanes of traffic in either direction), along the pavement, for a few hundred metres before crossing a bridge over the river and then moving up into Interlagos.

A bit of relaxation at the Solo Sagrado

It probably took us three or four hours or so to get to the Solo Sagrado which is only around 30km or so away from our start point. The Temple is a very nice and calm place above a lake, and we took the chance to relax and walk around, have a picnic on the grass and look at the giant carp. We even got a mini free tour from one of the people there, and Natalia saw a snake in the grass as we sat down – fortunately she only told me after we got up.

Going back was different – half of the group went back the way we had gone, while Natalia, Ricardo, myself and one other guy decided to keep following André’s route… which meant going along the Rodoanel and the Rodovia Regis Bittencourt (BR 116). The Rodoanel is a giant ring road around Sao Paulo which is used by all heavy traffic and as you can imagine, plenty of cars. We went along it for about 20km or so. The surface is smooth which definitely helped, and there is a hard shoulder, which helped even more so: the giant trucks and long vehicles passing by occupy the entirety of their lanes and you wouldn’t want to be in front of them steaming up behind you. These trucks come with a considerable amount of fumes coming out of them, and plenty of wind pressure which pushes you forward but also sideways – every time they went by, you could feel yourself and the bike getting bushed a bit to the side. The drivers all probably thought we were crazy, but fortunately everything was okay and I even quite enjoyed it – especially in comparison to the BR 116. This road connects São Paulo with Curitiba and is another main trunk road. There is a hard should but there are many more vehicles going off and on it than on the Rodoanel. The surface is much more patchy than the Rodoanel meaning that you had to pay much more attention to where you were going as this is not a road where you would like to fall off…

We all made it safe and sound though eventually, and it was lovely being back on the smelly cycle path a few kilometres north from where we started. Natalia and Ricardo pulled up the rear though it was good seeing Natalia increasing in confidence with downhill riding and also with her gears, even though theses gears needed a good adjustment. We felt better afterwards than after the ride the previous Sunday, and looking forward to the next ride.

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