The bright red bicycle

I have my first set of wheels in Chile!!!

No, I have not bought a car or even a motorbike…instead I had a late visit from Viejito Pascuero (Santa Claus) and I came home on 6 January to find a bright red bicycle waiting for me!!!

I was like a child on Christmas morning and technically speaking 6 January is considered Christmas in some parts of the world such as Spain. This day is known as “El Dia de Los Reyes Magos” and celebrates when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem to visit baby Jesus. So in Spain, presents are actually given in January.

My new bright red bicycle

Despite it being nearly 2am when I got home and saw the bike, I had to take it out for a test drive around the block!

A few weeks with my new transport and I am loving it. I have even begun riding to my early morning english classes. Santiago being quite flat, means that the 8km or so I have to travel are not that strenuous…at least not for the legs, although I have to admit that my butt is taking some serious strain. I might have to invest in some oh so attractive cycling shorts…

Let me take you along the route I use to get to my classes and you can see for yourself how nice it is…

I leave home at about 6:45, just when it is getting light. The first part of the journey is using a cycle lane running through Parque Forestal…

Then passed Plaza Italia (scene of all protests/celebrations in Santiago and mentioned in many previous posts)…

through another park…

before crossing over Avenida Andres Bello, and riding along the river for a few hundred metres…

until Parque Uruguay, with a wonderful cycle path winding alongside Rio Mapocho and under lovely, big trees which are great for shade…

then passed what will soon be the tallest building in South America…

past the Titanium Building…

and into Isadora Goyenechea, which at other times of the day is a street packed with pedestrians on the sidewalks, but at 7:15 in the morning, is pretty much empty...

then into Presidente Riesco and along another cycle path until I reach my destination.

Usually within the last 15 minutes or so, I can see the sun starting to rise over the Andes Mountains in the east

Now having my own bike I am beginning to realise that Santiago has quite a bicycle culture. Apparently tens of thousands of people use bikes on a daily basis in the city. As I mentioned before, the topography of the city, the few cycle lanes and the wide pavements all help make this form of transport an attractive alternative to the metro, buses or cars. yet, while the infrastructure is fairly good, there is definitely room for improvement…

I am also realising that it is quite fun to think about accessories for your bike…I have fitted a rack over the rear wheel to enable me to carry my backback and books etc with more ease and less persperation. I have cool flashing rear and front lights for when I am out and about at night, Right now I am using Rodrigo´s helmet, but I will soon buy my own flashy (hopefully red) headgear.

I have many exciting ideas of how to make maximum use of my bicycle for recreation and fitness and not just as an alternate way to get to work, so keep reading for what should no doubt be entertaining cycling stories from “the bright red bicycle….

Perhaps the photo below is a sign of things to come…

 On Sunday we went to watch the final stage of “Vuelta Chile” which was happening in our neighbourhood. This is an annual bike race covering 15 different cities in Chile and 1400km in two weeks. Kind of like Chile´s Tour de France. After the final ceremony, the road was still closed at the finish line, so I had great fun zipping around on my bike.

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One Response to The bright red bicycle

  1. linda koch says:

    Och my darling the bike is JUST TOO WONDERFUL. I Hope you have many many happy pain free hours riding it not only around Santiago but perhaps further afield. But please do invest in a helmet.. OK. Talk about colour coding… it is just fantastic and the journey to classes looks amazing and at that hour of the day quite peaceful by the look of things. what a wonderful way to start each day. Well done and THANKS to Rodrigo for your first set of wheels… oh it is all so exciting. enjoy. I am looking forward to reading about the “girl with the bright red backpack and her bright red backpack..” Have fun, lots of love. Mum.

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