Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guadalajara Bike Treats - the good and the better

One thing that can be tough to find while bike touring in Mexico is a plateful of good veggies that you haven't put together yourself. Imagine our surprise at seeing snack carts like this stationed all over the centre of Guadalajara...

I felt all virtuous seeing the cyclist stopping in to refuel at one of these veggie carts. Could it be that through him I was vicariously living the healthy lifestyle misnomer that Basil and I have somehow perpetuated as professional bike tourists? Truth be told, this is what I truly crave post ride:

Oh yeah, CHURROS! aka dough - hand kneaded, fried in fat, sliced open and filled with homemade caramel then rolled in sugar and cinnamon. So simple and yet when made by this trio of angels it is like ambrosia...

Clearly I will never be a Pan Am games contender, but I can certainly take you to the best churros in town. God Bless these Guadalajaran churros makers. To sample these treats while in Guadalajara go two blocks up from the San Juan de Dios market kiddie corner from Hotel Azteca (any afternoon except Sunday). You won't regret it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Change of Plans

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.”
--Natalie Goldberg

As planned we started out pedalling on our Day of the Dead Tour in the Meseta Purepecha, but, following the unexpected and sudden twists that life so readily hands out, we ended up in Guadalajara. Sad to be losing our riding partners who returned home to address family matters, Basil and I turned to embrace what new direction this change of events might lead us.

We awoke the following morning having barely slept due to the noise of the traffic outside our hotel window. After some minutes of complaining to each other, we realized the noise of buses and trucks and cars had stopped completely. Peeking outside our window felt more like a dream than any possible reality - a river of bicycles silently glided past our hotel. What a relief it was to hear conversations and laughter instead of brakes and engines. It was Bicycle Sunday! better known as Via Recreactiva. On top of this, Guadalajara was also hosting the Pan Am Games. Everything was busy and everyone was at their friendliest.

So many distactions and yet with all our unexpected extra free time we were devoted to finding the maps needed to trace out a new cycling route. Top of mind was a trip along the road from Durango to Mazatlan also known as the "Espinazo del Diablo" (Devil's Backbone). Our first stop was to the bicycle friendly Casa Ciclista who offers a free place to crash and wash up for folks travelling by bicycle as well as city bikes for rent through Guadalajara's public bike rental program called bicipublica. Bernardo at Casa Ciclista pointed us in many directions for links that might help us gather more info. Best of all, he confirmed that our desired exit from the city was the lowest traffic of the two options we had for heading towards Zacatecas.

After gathering all the necessary maps, we decided to reward ourselves by attending our first ever Lucha Libre match - a definite must for pure gut busting Mexican entertainment.