Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hace tres dias que arranquemos de Medellín. Hoy y ayer hicimos muchos kilometros, y nos tocó mucha subida. Ahora, nos encontramos en Aguadas, Caldas, Colombia. Es el tierro de pionono, del pasillo, del sombrero y el putas de aguadas. Vea a: El Putas de Aguadas para mas información.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Estamos en Medellin, Colombia ahora. De hecho, estamos en las afueras de Medellin, en San Antonio del Prado. Javier, Pedro y yo recorrimos todo Panama juntos. En la Ciudad de Panama, Gary nos alcanzo por autobus. Cruzamos a Colombia en barco de mercancias, pasando las Islas de San Blas. Llegando en Turbo, Colombia, Gary, Javier y yo recorrimos a Medellin, donde reunimos con Pedro. Estamos hospedados en la casa de ciclistas. Saludos.
We are in Medellin, Colombia now. Actually, we are in the outskirts of Medellin, in San Antonio del Prado, in a ¨Casa de Ciclistas¨, which in this case is the house of the owners of a local bike shop. Javier, Pedro and I biked through Panama together. In Panama City, Gary caught up to us, by bus. We crossed to Colombia in a small merchant ship, passing through the San Blas Islands. Arriving in Turbo, Colombia, Gary, Javier and I rode to Medellin, where we met up with Pedro again. Greetings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Now in Changuinola

I biked from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica to Changuinola, Panama today. Tomorrow, I will bike to Almirante, where I will take a ferry over to the Islas de Boca del Toro. Spaniard cyclists Javier and Pedro are there, and on Sunday we will ride out South together. We all met at Maya Pedal; a fourth Maya Pedal volunteer cycling South, Gary, will likely join us in a few days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I am currently in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, and getting ready to bike South to Panama, and hitch a boat ride to Bocas del Toro.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Nicaragua to Costa Rica

I am on the Island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. Planning to head South to Costa Rica, likely on Tuesday.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Slideshow of latest photos, Nacaome to Choluteca, Honduras

In Honduras, in a city called Choluteca.  Biked 52km today, 76 yesterday, which was the first day in Honduras.  Stayed at a firestation in Nacaome, Honduras last night, and tonight at the one here in Choluteca.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bike from Maya Pedal in Guatemala to El Tunco in El Salvador

Over the last week, we biked from San Andres Itzapa in Guatemala to  El Tunco in El Salvador.  Great riding.  Stayed with a family one night after I got a flat just outside their house.

Met a fellow cycle traveler on the road who had biked from the tip of South America up to El Salvador and was heading to his home country, Mexico.  His blog is: Rodrigo's Adventure

Plan today is to take a surfing lesson.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Finally preparing to move on, cycling South. Lots of great work, experience and friends at Maya Pedal. The road calls us South. Fellow Maya Pedal volunteer and traveling cyclist from Spain, who rode from Alaska to Guatemala, Javier, and I will depart together, in the next week or so!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

I am currently working at Maya Pedal in Guatemala.  It has been an extremely rewarding experience.  Eventually, I plan to bike on South, likely with another volunteer from Maya Pedal, Javier from Spain.  He biked from Alaska to here, and plans to continue South, likely to French Guayana, where he wants to learn and practice French.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Photos from San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala (city of Maya Pedal)

Bruce and Gavin as they leave San Andrés Itzapa for El Mirador in Northern Guatemala.

Joey and Vincent as they leave for Buenos Aires, Argentina, from Maya Pedal in San Andrés Itzapa.

Joey and Vincent heading out of Maya Pedal.

Joey, Myself, Mathias, Vincent, Maya Pedal.

La despedida.

The Market in San Andrés Itzapa.

Playing some futsal in San Andrés Itzapa.  Futsal is simply soccer on a basketball-sized court.

Cow foot at the meat shop.  Just came in from the campo.

Goats chilling on the side of the road, awaiting their owner.

Cow leads the horse down the road, gets nervous as I approach and begins to pee.

Typical San Andrés Itzapa geared up horse.

Itzapa woman heads home from the market with her tables, chairs and what is left of her produce.  She has a wrap on top of her head cushioning it from the table.  

Her friend prefers a wheelbarrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview in The Bicycle Story

A friend of a friend of mine is writing a blog called the Bicycle Story, and he just interviewed me about Maya Pedal and my tour.  Please check it out here.  I think it is a great interview.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Photos Antigua to San Andres Itzapa

Photos of Antigua to San Andres Itzapa click here.

Maya Pedal

Greetings from Maya Pedal in San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala. The ride here yesterday from Antigua was great--it was fun to bike through small towns like Jocotenango, Botas, and Parrojas. Jocotenango has a beautiful church and a mixed-use basketball-soccer court that was being well used. Botas is a town that has upwards of 20 boot factories and storefronts--cowboy boots, that is. And Parrojas is a town up in the hills with a large, flat plaza complete with lots of recreational space, delicious food vendors, church, town hall, gazebo, bus stop, and stores. There, I met 4 of the 8 Peace Corps volunteers in training there; they will find out their placements in three weeks.
I finally made it to San Andres Itzapa and Maya Pedal. Some of the stretches of road between here and Antigua were quite steep, and using my not-so-low 30-34 gear (30 teeth on the smallest chainring in the front and 34 teeth on the largest cog in the back), it was quite a workout. I feel I am getting stronger in my legs and also in my heart and lungs (believe it or not, cycle touring rarely becomes an aerobic workout).
Maya Pedal is located quite high in the town; I recruited a local on a BMX bike to guide me to the location of Maya Pedal. Even though he wasn't going there, and probably wasn't going to venture anywhere near as high, he gladly led me up the hills with his single speed. We wound our way up narrow streets, passing men leading donkeys carrying firewood, past boys playing soccer in the streets, and past many a young couple sitting on the curbside benches making out.
When we arrived at Maya Pedal, finally, I beheld the building--a three story row-house with a couple of murals on the wall and with the name painted next to the mural. I took some photos and then knocked on the door. It was almost dusk. Matias opened the door. He is from Austria. He welcomed me in and said I could find a space on the third floor to sleep, put my belongings up there, and store the bike in a room on the first floor. Soon, I began to meet all of the current visitor-volunteers at Maya Pedal: there was Shelby from Minneapolis, Rylee from Oregon, David from Chicago, Cameron and Ryan from Colorado, Zippy from Chicago, Gavin from I don't remember, Anna from California/Arizona, Katie from not sure, Emily from various places; a healthy bunch, all but Matias from the States. Later on that evening, the director and engineer, Carlos Marroquin showed up. I met him at a BikeBike! conference in Pittsburgh and stayed in touch since. He welcomed me with a big hug, very glad I had finally arrived. I will get to work alongside him on Monday, learning welding and how to make and design bicimaquinas, or bicycle machines.
After Carlos left to be with family, we all shared a meal together, as sort of a Maya Pedal family. A group effort in obtaining the food, cooking it, serving it, cleaning up, etc. We spent lots of time around the table, and got to know each other better and bonded. The conversation turned toward a neighborhood party they had hosted the night before, on the street just outside the shop, complete with a large, hard-to-crack-open pinyata in the shape of an owl. We all went to bed around 11pm, with talk of crepes in the morning.
Many of the group are on bicycle tours or are going to start. Cameron and Ryan biked from Colorado and are headed to Panama; Rylee and Shelby are heading north to Palenque and Minnesota. Anna and Katie are thinking of taking a trip somewhere after they build their bikes; Zippy is working on a bike and wants to do a tour around Guatemala if she can get some company. She and I may ride together to Lago Atitlan.
The weather is beautiful here. High 60s and breezy. Hilly/mountainous terrain. The view from the shop is quite vast as we are on the top of the hill overlooking the town.
My plan is to stay here for about a week, help out and learn, and then move on, biking to Lago Atitlan. Photos of yesterday and this morning currently uploading on Facebook; link here.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

San Andres Itzapa - Maya Pedal, here I come

Hi all. I am in Antigua and about to bike to San Andres Itzapa, home of Maya Pedal, the great engineers of bicimaquinas, or bicycle machines. These use pedal power to accomplish any number of tasks from grinding corn, pumping water from the ground, blending ingredients to create shampoo, making smoothies, producing electricity, and more. I hope to learn to weld there, plus help them using my bicycle technician skills.
Antigua has been great, especially the campground, which is quite beautiful, on the grounds of a former hospital complex and administered by the tourist police, Asistur, provided free, though participation in maintenance and some sort of donation is expected. I donated English lessons (audio, recorded). The folks I met on the campground were quite interesting. Hailing from California, Switzerland, Brazil, France, Germany, England. Many were traveling in truck or RV to South America. A couple on motorcycle. I was the only one on bicycle there at the time, but I heard from several people that bicycle travelers are quite common passing through Antigua, as I would expect, since it is such a tourist magnet, and the channel of Central America funnels people through a relatively narrow strip; there are only a few tourist magnets at this latitude on this stretch of land.
Some notes: I started uploading my photos to Facebook on an Everyone can see them access basis, and link to them from here (my blog). It is easier to upload photos to Facebook, and more people see them there.
Bicycle: I love my bike. The best thing I did recently was change my handlebars to the touring/trekking bars--any back/shoulder pain has disappeared. The positions are perfect; the wide grip is perfect for the often bumpy roads I come across. If you are thinking about getting a big dummy, don't hesistate. They are awesome, absolutely lovely. Also, 26 inch wheels have been a super choice. I have replaced tires and tubes several times now, and the availability of the 26 inch size has been highly convenient; I think 700c stuff is almost nowwhere to be found except in places like Guatemala City.
Camera: I am using my 3.1 megapixel cellphone camera for photos and videos now! I know, they look better. I lost my camera in Mexico, but as I had it insured, the debt on it should be forgiven (papers are processing). But I am in the market for a replacement. I am now thinking the Panasonic Lumix TS2 which is super-durable and waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, freezeproof and takes good photos. But I am looking for someone who could transport it from the States, someone who is flying here anyway, because to send it by mail would incur a 100% technology import tax, and buying it here is twice as expensive, too. Any help or suggestions here is welcome.
Well, as I need to head out to San Andres Itzapa now in order to make it in before dark, I will sign off. Saludos!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Today I biked from San Cristobal (suburb of Guatemala City) to Antigua, Guatemala. The photos from today are here: San Cristobal to Antigua. Yesterday, I biked around Guatemala City and took the photos shown here: Guatemala City.

Finally, I moved on from Guatemala City. I accomplished there what I needed to accomplish, mostly obtaining bike parts, mailing some forms to the States, and receiving some replacement glasses in the mail. The last couple days I have had some great fun biking through and around Guatemala City.

I should be moving onto Maya Pedal pretty soon here, within the next couple days.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chilled Chocobananos are the best

Frozen, Chocolate-covered bananas on a stick are common in Guatemala, and are sold for 20 cents each. Sometimes they are nut covered.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pro Bikes by José, Guatemala City, Guatemala

So I worked out a deal with Pro Bikes by José. They gave me parts at cost in exchange for some English lessons in the form of MP3s, plus some publicity work including putting them on Google Maps, publicizing them on my blog and letting people know about them in the Lonely Planet forum.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I am in Guatemala City, staying at the offices of Sister Parish (family connections); I am learning that it is an excellent organization connecting parishes in the US with ones in Guatemala and El Salvador, creating solidarity, cross-cultural understanding, and exchange of ideas and resources.
My objectives here are to replace a few parts on my bicycle: front derailleur, tires, new rimstrip in the front. I have had fun biking around the city, visiting bike shops in search of the derailleur. Finally found a shop that has it, Pro Bikes by José, and I am currently in the process of proposing an exchange of help: I give them positive publicity and some recorded English lessons, and they give me the spare parts I need. I will report back later on that.
It is nice to be in a place with all the products and services I could ask for; I am rather confident that nowhere else in Guatemala has the replacement bike part I need, and conveniences like reliable, high-speed internet, grocery stores, cafés, etc. are abundant here.
Once I obtain the parts I need and the bike is ready to go again, I plan to head back to Antigua, then to San Andres Itzapa, home of Maya Pedal, then to San Lucas Toliman on Lago Atitlán, and then to Esquintla, San José (beach), along the beach and then into El Salvador, taking a coastal route. Such is the current plan. Hilly territory ahead, most of it paved, then then it is downhill to the coast, followed by relatively flat terrain for awhile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Antigua and Guatemala City

Guatemala City Palace

Outside the Church in Antigua

Playing Puppies, Antigua, Guatemala

At Asistur, the Tourist Police free campground

Road leaving Antigua

Chicken Buses, Guatemala City

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cowboys driving calves down the road, near Santo Tomas, Peten, Guatemala

In Raxruja, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Went to Cuevas de Candelaria yesterday. Thinking of going to Lanquin and Semuc Champey today and tomorrow. Been away from internet access for some days until now. The internet service is very poor; hence my post is very short.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sayaxche, Guatemala Surly Big Dummy 5 kids around park

This was last night.
I don't care what Lonely Planet and everybody else says about Sayaxche; I love it! The vibe; it is right on the river, lots of people and activity. People are very accessible, approachable easy to talk to. I already made friends with the professional, division 2 soccer team; the folks at the pousada I am staying at are very warm and talkative, and the place is beautiful (Hotel Yaxkin).
So yesterday I biked from Flores to Sayaxche, 65km. Today I shall bike to Entre Rios, where the Belgian cyclists are now. The town, I just found out, was set up as sort of a refuge and rebuilding place for folks who were displaced in the civil war. The ride should be about 70km.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

My plan is to ride again today! South from Flores to a small village called Entre Rios La Renita, near El Ceibal and Sayaxche. Relatively short distance-wise, I think 50km/30mi max, though on mostly dirt roads. The motivation is to meet up with some fellow cycle tourists I met in Flores; they are from Belgium and started in Mexico City, destination Argentina. Unfortunately, they were relieved of their bikes shortly after starting their trip near Cuernavaca. I have suggested that they obtain replacement bikes at MayaPedal, near Antigua, Guatemala; the shop uses donated bikes and bike parts (and some new parts) to create refurbished bikes for sale as well as "bicimaquinas", which are pedal-powered machines to do any number of tasks including pump water from a well, blend ingredients to make soaps and shampoos, produce electricity, mill and grind grains, etc. They had planned to buy replacement bikes in Costa Rica; I believe they can obtain a better, more eco-friendly product, pay less, and support a great organization by going through MayaPedal. We plan to meet up there in the next couple weeks. Today, I would like to see the small village where they have been doing community service.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just got word that the glasses should be here within three days. That opens the window to continue cycling by this weekend!