The bar buy-back may have departed alongside old favorite NYC dives like the Mars Bar, Max Fish and Trash Bar, but love and loyalty to your local can still have its unexpected rewards. You know, like when it’s the depth of winter and the owner of your neighborhood bar calls to say that her brother wants to swap his Mexican beachfront villa for your 3rd floor walk up on the wrong end of Grand Street. You gotta love New York… one man’s hell is another’s heaven. This was a free round we were not going to pass up. So chalet escaped to Bucerias, Mexico, with bikes and a few friends. We were happy to swap trainer rides for beach rides, limp deli sandwiches for tacos, hot chocolate for horchata and post ride thawing showers for dips in the pool.
As we drove from the airport we were surprised by the lack of traffic and the absence of tourism. Bucerias was shutting down for the season. Our slightly ridiculous villa was right on the beach and we had it all to ourselves. This was cycling heaven: no phones, computers, tourists or obligations. Just us, bikes, beer, food and a pile of books.
Bucerias is divided in two: the gringo area (admittedly where we were staying) is inexplicably populated with Canadians. Its streets are dotted with surf shops, yoga studios calling out to you in Papyrus font, and a multitude of pharmacies offering "performance enhancement" without a prescription. On the north side is the locals area: where you can eat fresh fish tacos, drink a Modelo on the street, meet actual Mexicans, and buy as many colorful skulls as your heart desires.
You have two options for your first ride in a foreign place: figure shit out on the fly, or connect with the local cycling community. Going freestyle here was not the easiest thing, many of the roads aren’t paved or practical for a bike. The latter is always a gamble since cyclists are not always the coolest people on earth. Nevertheless, here local guidance was key, so we hooked up with one of the million Canadian gringo’s in town… who also happened to organize rides around Bucerias.
After some trial and error we found a few of the roads we had been dreaming about. One of these loops, favored by locals, wound through the mountains and down along a beautiful coastline from Bucerias to Sauylitas. This quickly became our favorite ride.
Sometimes exploration is overrated. Just like having your favorite local bar, the satisfaction in a ride can come from repetition and familiarity. So we settled into our daily routine and began to explore the idiosyncrasies and quirks of this route, with thoughts of our overheated Grand St apartment gradually drowned out by a heady mix of sand, water, beer and asphalt.