Su casa es nuestra casa – Your house is my house.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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;
Over the wheel – A documentary about city biking
Bicicleta Blanca – Ghost bikes
– Going on the monthly Guadalajara night ride with 1000 local cyclists (even though Falkor was lame and we went on separate bikes)
– Meeting so many wonderful mates on their own cycle tours including case friends Alicia, Carmen, Pedro, Urs, Sean, Brendan#2 & Jared.
– 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.
– Hanging with Kevin the Irish-man, hearing his travel tales and getting to hear his original songs at his live performance.
-Meeting up again with Vanessa & Jorge the Spaniards we met on our first day in Mexico.
– 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!
– 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.
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!
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
Oh Chez! What the? Only weeds! Maybe you can have a weekend gardening up there and grow me a lemon tree at least!
Excellent to see you back on the road. May the wind be always at your back!!
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.
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.
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!
You rock Laguna Beach Michael! Thanks so much for all of this. have been using your tips with great fervour! Keep ’em coming! Salud!
Well done, Brendon!!! Merry Christmas, guys!!
Thanks Maureen! Wonderful to have you guys riding along with us!
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.
Rohanso! Santiago June 4th! Man! That is our END destination…..set for Dec 2014! The further north you travel, the better liklihood of our paths crossing bro. And we would LOVE that! Stay connected to our travel plans and get ready to ride with us! xx
Oi Rohanso! Did you get our email bro?
Oh, and inspired by yours, thought I would match you a youtube clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS8nudsRxNs
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