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Yikes! Bikes! Vallarta Style

Many years ago, when we arrived in Puerto Vallarta and began enlightening and enjoyable observations, we rarely saw anyone riding a bicycle. If we did spot a bike, it would often be supporting well more than one rider. A man usually pumped the pedals with someone on the handlebars, often a person hanging on the back and sometimes another on the crossbar in front of the rider. Not kidding. The most we ever saw on a bicycle was five. A mama had a baby strapped to her back; an entire family just as we would pile the crew into an SUV and make sure they are all buckled up. A single rider would have been on a stripped down machine, pedaling like mad, baseball cap turned backward to protect the ever exposed neck from the beating sun.

Though there have been, in past decades, triathlons and other races through the Sierra Madres, lone bicyclists commuting and joyriding have been scarce.

Finding a bike shop in Puerto Vallarta, it was necessary to wind through the streets to the top of Gingo Gulch to find B-B-B Bobby’s, where all (or at least the most important) needs for bicycle enthusiasts could be found. Alas, when Bobby passed away, there were few places to compare to his.

Things have changed.

Bikes can be rented at a number of shops around town; bike repair and accessories add to a growing commerce in Puerto Vallarta. Bike tours are all the rage and it’s no longer necessary to schlep one’s own equipment, sometimes adding phenomenal amounts to airfare. Up and down the coastal corridor on Highway 200, enthusiasts will find an abundance of shops willing to sell, rent, repair and suggest areas to explore. Nor is there a shortage of willing tour guides. Ask at any of the local tiendas or tallers (store and repair shops) and you will be led to enthusiasts who not only know the terrain but are also very familiar with the flora and fauna, eagerly willing to share their knowledge.

We need to make whatever contributions possible to the nurturing of our environment and be as green as we can be. Less and less Hummers and more and more bicycles show Puerto Vallarta on the cutting edge of environmental progress.

A friend recently visited Denmark, where hearts and bicycles are national symbols. She exclaimed while in the city of Copenhagen “Wow, all the bicycles!” And they have the right-of-way. Imagine Puerto Vallarta with less taxis, busses, fumes and accidents. A certain trust level exists with bikers, as well. To steal a person’s bicycle is akin to stealing a horse.

Que es cómo es.