Friday, 2 January 2009

Cycling in Lima, Peru

There probably isn't too much to say about cycling in Lima. Quite a few people use bikes but the traffic in the city would be too intimidating for me and one only seems to see bikes here in Miraflores which is quieter and in the parks and back streets, usually for shopping. Often they are of poor quality, probably copies of more well known brands like Trek. A lot of stuff is counterfeited here including money, books CDs and DVDs so I wouldn't be surprised. The cycling weather right now is perfect, usually 24 degrees and sunny with a light sea breeze. At the beach there is one narrow cycling path in places shared with pedestrians and a rail track seems to serve as a cycle path but I didn't see any cyclists.

On my first morning here in Miraflores I met a happy band of cyclists gathering for a ride. As you can see from the photo they probably won't be bothering the UK Olympic team this coming season! I also chatted to another young woman waiting for friend; she told me it wasn't far to the mountains but she wouldn't risk cycling during the weekdays. Traffic here is quite aggressive – cars buses and taxis drive in close formation and only slow down at the last moment before hitting you. They say if you can drive in Lima you are prepared for anything and I can believe it. Horns are in constant use warning others – I am coming through so don't you dare pull out – and they mean it.

The other day I met Ezra from Austin, Texas – he had cycled that huge distance but seemed fairly happy. His bike didn't seem very sophisticated although I noticed a Garmin. You can read his account here. Otherwise, I saw one guy flash by on a Cervello but really cycling here is of necessity rather than a sport - almost all would seem to aspire to owning a car, many of which are old and have dirty emissions, although I noticed 2 taxis converted to natural gas which is cheap and in plentiful supply here in Peru.

So, no cycling for me this week, but I have walked quite a bit and have had one 55 minute jog. It feels as if I am eating less here but maybe this is due to lack of exercise. Otherwise, I am reading an interesting book from a Scottish cyclist/traveler, Cycling to Panama (from Mexico) this is a very good read and can be obtained from Amazon. I am not sure it would be my kind of cycling but he has certainly covered some miles and experienced several countries. I emailed him recently and he has promised to come and chat to Addiscombe Cycle Club if he visits London.

Well maybe I can rent a bike when I get to Piura – we'll see. Enjoy your ride!


snoopdoug said...

Top blog Alan. Great writing style and lovely pictures too. I'll be back and if OK with you can I put a link to here from mine? Hope you're having a blast out there. Blimmin freezin here in blighty. Piling on the Xmas poundage waiting for the thaw!


malarkey said...

Doug, have added your link, so thanks, Missing you all but not the weather, but that said lots of resfrios here including mine. Cheers, Alan