In Mexico we ride our Trek mountain bikes on paved roads, dirt roads, cobblestone streets, and some cat tracks. We try to ride two or three times a week with distances ranging from 10 up to 55 miles.
Here are our Mexico bikes on the day we bought them. Kay's purple Trek 3700 is in the foreground and Steve's silver and black Trek 4300a in the background. They are in the bike shop where we bought them in El Pitillal, a large, blue-collar suburb of Puerto Vallarta.
We happened upon this bike shop by accident en route to another one. It turns out that this one is the largest and best stocked of the six or so that we have so far found in the Vallarta area.
The name of the store is Bici Partes Flavio, and here is the Flavio the owner behind one of his parts counters.
He seems to have a very large inventory of parts as well as clothes and accessories. He's had eveything we've needed thus far.
Here's Flavio's workshop. Like most bike shop owners, Flavio is an avid cyclist himself and we often see him out on the backroads on Sunday, his one day off from running his shop.
Kay pedals easily on one of the many pleasant farm roads of Valle de Banderas (Valley of the Flags).
There aren't a lot of places where you can go for a bike ride and come within a few feet of a wild crocodile, with nothing between you and it except for a steep dirt bank.
There were actually two very large crocs in this mangrove estuary beside the road. Just as we were preparing to leave, an argument ensued and the crocs began snapping, hissing, biting and rolling wildly. Quite a show.
Kay standing beside the largest Parota (aka Huanacaxtle) tree we have ever seen.
We estimated that it would have taken at least six arm-spans or about 36 feet to encircle it.
Parota trees, with their delicate leaves are one of the most beautiful and important shade trees in this part of Mexico. The wood is also used in furniture and cabinetry, having a sligh resemblance to teak.
Steve's fellow riders taking a break on 31-mile mountain ride from San Sebastien to La Desembocada.
This was one of the easier stretches. Much of this ride was steep and rutted cat tracks, what the experienced riders call "technical".
Here's Kay at the Rancho Las Vegas restaurant (much bigger than it appears in this photo of just one corner). Getting here requires making a long climb from sea level to 1,100 feet on a decent gravel road, and then descending down a rutted cat-track road to the rancho in the canyon of the Rio Mascota.
Steve crossing the Rio Mascota after lunch at the Las Vegas restaurant.
We had to ford the river thirteen times in order to get to the pueblo of La Desembocada and the road back to Marina Vallarta.
As the dry season wore on, the river got shallower to the point where it was possible to ride across at the majority of crossings--if you had some skill and a little luck. Steve's friend Hugh McCarthy made it across 11 of the 13 one day.
Kay crossing a creek en route to La Palapa, a small cantina at a rancho also on the Rio Mascota, further upstream from Rancho Las Vegas.
This beautiful route seems almost smothered at times by the surrounding jungle of trees, vines and bushes.
Kay, as we are leaving La Palapa cantina, the lean-to affair in front of the building in the background.
This is a rather long, strenuous ride with no place to buy something to drink until you get here.
Over the course of the season, Steve met other riders in or near the marina.
Here he is in the middle, with Hugh and Joe to his right, and Les and Rande to his left.
Whereas Steve is primarily a road bike rider, the rest of the guys are "mountain bike animals."
It's about 8:30am and we are just heading off to do the Rancho Las Vegas, La Desembocada ride