Tu casa es nuestra casa – Your house is my house

Su casa es nuestra casa –  Your house is my house.

Our Casa!

Our Casa!

We all know the famous Mexican saying ‘mis casa e su casa’, my house is your house, but at the Guadalajara Casa de Ciclista, you are given keys on arrival and made to feel immediately like it is indeed your house. It’s truly an incredible feeling when you have been on the road for a long time. We really do feel at home here. Arriving in a place where you can spread your gear out and relax amongst fellow cyclists and bike lovers, is a very special treat. And with space and tools to fix things! And boy oh boy, have we had some things to fix.

The crack was so bad that when Bren loosened the bolts, this part simply fell out! Eeek!

The crack was so bad that when Bren loosened the bolts, this part simply fell out! Eeek!

The missing bit. Doink. it juts dropped straight out!

The missing part of the puzzle…perhaps a new necklace?

As you know, Falkor #1 had to be retired due to a massive crack that developed on the frame. When Brendon pulled it apart, a huge piece of the frame actually fell out! It was literally just held on by a few screws and we were pretty lucky to make it here without the whole bike falling apart underneath us. RIP Falkor #1.

Poor old Falkor #1. Stripped bare and left sitting sad and lonely in the bike car park

Poor old Falkor #1. Stripped bare and left sitting sad and lonely in the bike car park with the huge front chain hanging from the roof

Out with the old Falkor & in with the new Falkor!

Out with the old Falkor & in with the new Falkor!

The maker of the bike, Hase, arranged to send us a new frame and we spent a week with our eyes glued to the Fedex tracking website, refreshing every hour to get an update on the whereabouts of our new frame. It arrived last Friday, which also happened to be the day of our Casa Christmas party. Mexican Santa! You Totally rock!

This Fedex man also thought it was Christmas by  my reaction

This Fedex man also thought it was Christmas by my reaction

We were pretty stoked when the new frame arrived!

We were pretty stoked when the new frame arrived!

We have spent the last 4 days working full-time re-building the new frame. Well, I say we, which is true, but Bren has been the one with the greasy hands. I have been the dutiful assistant providing snacks and sustenance throughout the rebuild, and of course, documenting every instant with photos and video. And dance moves.

Go Brendy!

Wrapping the new frame with old tyre tubes for protection.

Brendon is amazing. I mean, obviously. But the very idea of pulling a bike part and putting all the bits back onto a new frame is just crazy. Pretty overwhelming if you ask me. And he approached it with patience and grace. Which some of you won’t believe, but it’s true. I think even he is astounded. To see him tinkering away every day in the work-shop was awesome. He was in his element with all those tools and the giant Falkor puzzle. And he fixed it! He took off every part, every little screw and nut and cleaned them, and found the right place to put them all back on again. He even had to do some soldering of the wires for our lighting system, and of course, a bit more wheel truing to keep us on the straight and narrow. Just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more, he goes and builds us a new bike. Way to go Brendo!

Soldering the wiring for our pedal powered lights

Soldering the wiring for our pedal powered lights

The final tinkerings

The final tinkerings

Of course, there have been some other important players in this rebuild too. Jorge and Bernado (“BERNADO!”) from the Casa have given us hours of their time and without their expertise, patience and positivity, this would have been a very difficult time for us. We can’t thank them enough.

With Jorge & Kevin in the Casa workshop

With Jorge & Kevin in the Casa workshop

Bernado! He spent hours making sure our wheels were completely perfect. Gracias amigo!

Bernado! He spent hours making sure our wheels were completely perfect. Gracias amigo!

Hooray! Introducing Falkor #2!

Hooray! Introducing Falkor #2! Ready to ride!

There has been a lot of tinkering going on in the casa workshop and the other excellent bike tourers that we have met here have all added their mark to Falkor #2. There have been endless tours through the city to the many bike shops. We could’ve opened an account at most of them! But there has been a lot of great times and amazing connections too.

Here are some of the highlights:

-  Meeting all the inspirational people from and through the Casa, and the many projects they all manage and get involved with. From painting their own bike lanes, the ‘Ghost bike’ monuments, publishing the magazine and the many rides they arrange through the city. Its awe inspiring to see how strong the power of bicycles is in the hands of this focused crew. We totally love your work! Check out these links to just some of the projects they are involved with;

Cars as potplants

Creating bike lanes

Over the wheel – A documentary about city biking

Bicicleta Blanca – Ghost bikes 

One of the Casa projects, symbolising a greener way to use your car

One of the Casa projects, symbolising a greener way to use your car…and possibly what my VW looks like in my Dad’s garage

Installing bike awareness signs throughout the city

Installing bike awareness signs throughout the city

-  Going on the monthly Guadalajara night ride with 1000 local cyclists (even though Falkor was lame and we went on separate bikes)

The Casa night riders!

The Casa night riders!

The night ride

Starting the night ride

The cyclists take over the roads and ride as a pack. It's an awesome feeling to be a part of it. Imagine if in every city 1000 people rode bikes instead of driving their cars everyday....

The cyclists take over the roads and ride as a pack. It’s an awesome feeling to be a part of it. Imagine if in every city 1000 people rode bikes instead of driving their cars everyday….

- Meeting so many wonderful mates on their own cycle tours including case friends Alicia, Carmen, Pedro, Urs, Sean, Brendan#2 & Jared.

IMG_4822

- Catching up with the Aussie cyclists ‘Branjo’. We love their company and hope to spend more time together at Chrissie with some days coming up on the road cycling together.

Joe getting involved with the  pinatas

Joe getting involved with the pinatas

- Hanging with Kevin the Irish-man, hearing his travel tales and getting to hear his original songs at his live performance.

Enjoying sunset with Kev

Enjoying sunset with Kev

Kevin live in GDL! www.influenceanaudience.com

Kevin live in GDL! www.influenceanaudience.com

-Meeting up again with Vanessa & Jorge the Spaniards we met on our first day in Mexico.

Jorge sin pelo, Raffa, Vanessa, Jorge con pelo, B1 & B2

Jorge sin pelo, Raffa, Vanessa, Jorge con pelo, B1 & B2

-  Christmas at the Casa. It’s not always easy to celebrate Chrissie on the road, so we decided that while there were so many of us all together, we would celebrate early, complete with Secret and Bad Santa gifts! And even a cactus Christmas tree complete with flashing bike lights and dunny roll for tinsel. Everyone got involved with cooking and preparing special Chrissie treats and it was a bloody good night enjoyed by all. Thank you Casa Family!

A very Casa Christmas

A very Casa Christmas

A Mexican Christmas tree by cyclists.

A Mexican Christmas tree by cyclists.

The Christmas feast!

The Christmas feast!

-  Going to the Mexican wrestling “Lucha Libre”. That was a ridiculous amount of fun and we highly recommend that you go if you ever get the chance.

Totally Lucha libre

Totally Lucha libre

We smuggled our camera in wrapped our wrestling masks and snapped this pic

We smuggled our camera in wrapped our wrestling masks and snapped this pic

So yes, 2 action packed weeks at the casa and finally, we are ready to leave tomorrow. With mixed feelings. The friends we have made here will definitely make it hard for us to go. But you will all certainly always remain in our memories and hearts. Alas, the road calls us and we have to get our mission on! We didn’t fix this bike for nothing! In exactly 1 week, we will be meeting Kiki in Ixtapa, about 700km south of here. Let’s hope the hills are kind to us and Falkor #2!

We will spend the best part of 2 weeks chilling down there and planning our next move. With all the food and good times we have consumed in the last 2 weeks, the next weeks riding is sure to be difficult. And surely after Christmas, it is gonna take us a while to get our cycle fitness back up to par. But we feel certain that the volcanic highlands of Mexico will get us back into shape in no time.

Feliz Navidad & feliz año Nuevo!

Happy holidays everyone! Here are some random pics from our time in GDL. Enjoy!

The city centre decorated is very festively decorated

The city centre decorated is very festively decorated

IMG_3928IMG_3943IMG_3950IMG_3923IMG_3937

Sunset from the casa rooftop

Sunset from the casa rooftop

A day riding with the streets closed to cars, ending in the old centro of Tlaquepaque
A day riding with the streets closed to cars, ending in the old centro of Tlaquepaque

Hanging with Jorge in our fancy necklaces that Brendy made from Falkor's broken chain ring
Hanging with Jorge in our fancy necklaces that Brendy made from Falkor’s broken chain ring

The casa full of bikes!
The casa full of bikes!

Searching for cyclists is easy with an emu

Searching for cyclists is easy with an emu

The gang at Kevin's gig

The gang at Kevin’s gig

Delicious eats at the local market

Delicious eats at the local market

Never too old to ride a bike!

Never too old to ride a bike!

With Salvador from www.roadoutfitters.com and the casa crew sporting our new tees! Thanks Salvador!

With Salvador from http://www.roadoutfitters.com and the casa crew sporting our new tees! Thanks Salvador!

Another mission to another bike store

Another mission to another bike store

Funny faces!
Funny faces!

Falkor #2 1st test ride!

Falkor #2 1st test ride!

High 5 Brendo! You did an awesome job!

High 5 Brendo! You did an awesome job!

14 responses to “Tu casa es nuestra casa – Your house is my house

  1. I’ sure the VW at Kalaru only has weeds growing out of the entire car. Not flowers in the boot…sorry to dis allusion you EMMA..love Chez xxxx

    • Thanks Andrew, hope you have had an awesome chrissy and break at the end of the year. Hopefully everything stays on track from here on out. See you towards the end of 2014.

  2. Great to hear you guys are back on the road, what drama. Sounds like the two weeks in Guadalajara were great times despite the stress of a major breakdown.

    I am currently in Guatemala enjoying Spanish study and meeting lots of new people_ heaps of Ausies.

    There should be a lot of downhill to Ixtapa ( I assume that you will be in Zihuateneho, which is the cool little fishing village, as opposed to Ixtapa swanky resort side of town). Best beaches are actually just south of Zihua, around the bay.

    If you stay in Acapulco, stay near the Zocalo, it’s a lively and beautiful spot, especially at night_ the rest of the city is shit.

    Heading farther south, the beaches of Oaxaca are my favourite. The gringos start to pick up when you hit Puerto Escondito. Farther south still and the best place to hang for a while is Zipolite, and Lo Cosmico is the place to stay. About 35km south of there is Bahia Huatulco, another swanky beach resort that gringos have not discovered, it’s over priced though so dont bother. Heading south farther along the coast things start to change, the rolling coastal hills give way to a flat coastal plane near Salinas Cruz that extends all the way to El Salvador. Now this may sound great for biking but it’s hot, humid and the beaches are nothing exciting. Lots of swamp and black sand from nearby volcanoes.

    All the cultural highlights are in the mountains in Chiapas. Maybe a days ride after Salinas Cruz is the turn off to head into the mountains passing through Tuxla Gut. , a big city and government center. San Cristobal de las Casas is the real gem just beyond. Another place to chill for a while. Two options await from there head toward the Caribbean Sea to see Mayan ruins at Palenque and other sites then head into Guatemala at one of the obscure crossing points or from SCDLC head more directly to Guatemala. Either way you loose altitude that then needs to be made up once you get into Guatemala.

    That’s enough to chew on for now, I have lots more info on Guat when your ready.

    Michael

    >

    • Wow! Aren’t you amazing! Thanks for thinking of us and sending through all this info! Muchas Gracias Amigo! Very helpful! Hope you had a marvellous Chrissy in Guatemala. Spewing we couldn’t catch up with you, but who knows what 2014 holds eh….? Salud!

  3. Bremma! Felice navidad. I will raise a cerveza or two for you two for the day of the birth of our lord: Falkor II!
    Your journey is inspiring and reminds me a lot of a great prophet’s description of life itself: It’s just a ride. It has twists and turns, it has thrills and chills… but in the end… it’s just a ride.

    Incidentally… I fly into Santiago on June 4th. Will have six weeks in Chile, Brazil y Buenos Aires. I hope that we may meet up and will explore space together, inner and outer, forever.
    Maximum love.
    R

  4. It’s so amazing to see and read all your report! We can see the incredible hard work both you’ve been doing. Please take care and experience each wonderful day. Moko

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