January 16, 2007

Cycling Colonia
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Two wheels, one smile.

One of the perks that the Hotel Colonia makes mention of in their lobby is the complimentary use of a bicycle for riding around town. I've heard this promotion before, only to discover the bike was broken or missing, and I was actually pretty surprised when a staff member showed me to one that I could use.

The bike was just barely on the side of functional, and hardly what I'd call safe and reliable—well, I suppose I could rely on it to probably strand me in the countryside some place. Only one of the two hand-breaks worked (partially at best), the tires were bald and somewhat flat, the seat awfully low for my leg length, and the rusted chain had but a single gear—but I was game for an adventure.

I can't remember the last time I rode a bike—I know it's been at least a good 10 years since I've even owned one. So I suppose I was truly testing the expressing "like riding a bike"—meaning some skills learned you remember again in no time (…assuming you call bike riding a skill).

Shirt off, peddling down sporadically populated roads, all five senses soaking in the surroundings—I was having a blast. Riding along the shoreline I discovered long stretches of beach, although the brown water was a little off putting (but surprisingly very warm).


I happened across a peaceful neighborhoods, a condemned bullring, and a horse track (an unexpected sight)—reminding me of an article I came across some time ago about how horse tracks were switching over to a special synthetic dirt (said to help reduce the number of animal injuries). I rode down dirt paths along a pair of abandoned train tracks, and found quite a few friendly, but curious, people living in poverty.

About the only sight that burst my bubble was when I came across Sheraton's sprawling "golf and spa resort." The complex and golf course felt totally out of place, but at least it's a good distance out of the way from everything.

The bike ride was great. I easily envision a tanned version of myself, living in a small beach-side town (with little or no elevation change), peddling an old Schwinn down the street. Dad tells me he's been doing these multi-day marathon rides—I can't imagine spending that much time on a bike.

…Maybe with a better cushion for my butt.



Craig | travelvice.com

January 17th, 2007

Dad tossed me a pair of great photos from Google Earth…

Race track and bullring

Greater Colonia

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