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Old 06-21-06, 09:57 AM   #1
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Commuting, Costa Rica Style

Started the new commute from the house to the office. It is 6 kilometers which would be a breeze except for the fact that the road is rock with a little gravel so pretty rough (thankfull small rock) and the rise is pretty steep.

Yesterday was my first day - It took about 17 minutes to the office, and about 32 to return (quess which direction is up hill!)

Going up hill, I had to dismount about halfway up on a couple of hills - but I suspect after a couple of months - I won't.

Weight is dropping like a stone because we are so active, so that will help. This morning, a lot of rain - felt like being in a shower!

I haven't ran over a chicken yet - but I suspect it is only a matter of time. Traffic is almost none existant - which is great.

The locals are amazed I can ride down the hill - most people kill themselves doing it - but with a good hardtail and clipless pedals - it really isn't that hard - but I am nearly sitting on the tire at times.

All in all, I am very happy with the commute. The temperature is perfect when I am going back and forth too - I leave around 7:30 am, and return around 4:30 pm - both times are pretty nice. A little warm, but not that bad.
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Old 06-21-06, 10:10 AM   #2
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What is your job?
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Old 06-21-06, 10:16 AM   #3
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grrr I still envy you. Maybe even more now!
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Old 06-21-06, 10:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
I haven't ran over a chicken yet - but I suspect it is only a matter of time.


Welcome to the HHCMF (Happy Healthy Commuting MotherF*ckers) club. We're a merry band of riders who like to pass angry cagers as they wait in line for very expensive gas while we eat donuts and drink lattes and don't gain an ounce. Welcome to the club and if you need a roadkill chicken recipe, please feel free to ask.
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Old 06-21-06, 10:29 AM   #5
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What is my job? Well, for about 3 days, for 8 hours a day, I write software - and for the other times, I am President (which includes before and after those hours) of a reforestation project called Finca Leola S.A. ( www.fincaleola.com ) which is like 2+ jobs! We have more than 12 employees now - and growing rapidly. The software job is to make sure we always have enough money.

Road kill chicken recipe - hmmm, might be pretty good! We eat free-range chickens - so it isn't much different.

Yep, definitely happy - I have to eat now - my wife, who weighs 112 lbs was commenting that she has to keep eating all the time know - before we had to watch what we ate. Life is very good.

I started the a fake commute about a month ago, and already I am down a belt notch - I suspect in 2 months, I will be a mere fraction of my former self.
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Old 06-21-06, 10:32 AM   #6
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THat sounds like a lot of fun I was wonderign what brought you to costa rica
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Old 06-21-06, 10:38 AM   #7
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What originally brought me to Costa Rica is my wife - she wanted to become fluent in Spanish after studying it for 8 years in school. It was her lifelong dream. Well, to be fluent, you really have to leave in a country where they speak Spanish - so, since she had supported me in my dreams for more than 20 years, I decided it was time for hers.

But, I am not just going to sit around and work on a tan, so I started a business here and I wanted to do something for the environment at the sametime. I wasn't really and environmentalist - but I love the outdoors - so I decided it was time to give something back.

Yes - it is a lot of fun, and a lot of work.
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Old 06-21-06, 11:37 AM   #8
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So jealous! Felicitaciones!
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Old 06-22-06, 07:58 AM   #9
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I may see you next May as my sister is taking a bunch of us to stay at a friends house in Costa Rica. My brother is a retired stream restoration expert and habitat restoration is one of my hobbies. After cycling and hot springs.

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Old 06-22-06, 08:39 AM   #10
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You would be most welcome to drop in - and you can rent bikes here as well.

Well, a bit of conscience is getting to me - as my legs improve and as I am used to riding where there is no oxigen (can you imagine the supercharging you get in a rainforest!) I smoke through towns. Since I have white hair, it is very disturbing to be seriously dropped by an old geezer.

The Ticos are in shock - I pass them going about 18+ MPH on the flat (yep, got a cyclometer) and they are putting along at no better than 8 to 10 MPH.

Nope, not going to slow down for anyone. The friends and workers yell out as me as I am zipping by "May God go with you!" I think they think I am nuts...
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Old 06-22-06, 10:32 AM   #11
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Hmmm I am still jealous. I am planning on trying to make it down there next year maybe I will have to look you up.
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Old 06-22-06, 11:29 AM   #12
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Nice sight and pics -- I was planning to go in May but ended up going to the Yucatan instead (beautiful as well).

Perhaps this fall, would love to see Arenal and the countryside. Actually looks like you have a lot of potential visitors Perhaps a group ride starting in Tuscon and heading south? I know a few folks in Mazatlan...

Would love to sample the coffee and continue working on my spanish!

All the best- keep the stories coming! james...

oh another really good site by Gringos is www.yucatanliving.com I've been reading it since I returned from Merida.
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Old 06-28-06, 09:16 AM   #13
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Thanks,

Why does the chicken cross the road? To avoid the crazy gringo bike rider... Almost ran over one too stupid to get out of the path - acted just like a squirrel. (dodged back and forth - could make up it's mind.. what little they have)

Solid rain pretty much all the way here today - I came in soaked - but I have a towel - and office clothes, and sandals - so, no problem.

Last week was only partially on the bike - we had so many errands in town and so forth (and carrying boxes, etc.) that it just didn't work very well. This week is doing better.

I am already doing better on the hills - a bit further each day - a little faster as well.

Our shower has a heating element on it that the foreigners call "suicide shower", Imagine a electricity wired straight into your shower head... Anyway, the more pressure, the colder it is. After a ride, I tend to jump in the shower and start and the normal temp - and then just keep increase the pressure until it is nearly lukewarm or a little cold. If I haven't been biking - I wouldn't be able to stand it - but after a ride, it just feels good.

Bit by bit the routine is coming together.
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Old 06-28-06, 01:03 PM   #14
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It's fun to read your posts because it allows me to dream a little bit. Perhaps someday I'll turn my envy into action and try something like you're doing myself.
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Old 06-28-06, 01:43 PM   #15
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Warren Buffet said that you are rich when every day you get up and do what you want - that pretty much describes how I like to live. I suspect Buffet needs more money to achieve that than I do...
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Old 07-03-06, 09:37 AM   #16
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We finally have a big yellow thing in the sky again - we were starting to wonder. Solid rain and clouds for a couple of weeks. We drove out to La Fortuna yesterday and saw three mudslides, a couple were big enough to block the road. Someone had already shoveled them out.

Last week I received digital copies of topographical maps for around here so I am starting to plan alternate routes - same elevation - but less steep. We shall see if it is really any better.

Nearly got a chicken this morning. I wonder if I can bunny hop over a chicken...?

I have to head back early today - a neighbor is slaughtering a pig and we are invited for chicarrones... YUM!
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Old 07-04-06, 12:56 AM   #17
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There was a guy at the Rochester Twilight Criterium a couple of weeks ago who did tricks on a special Trek mountain bike -- which included getting a volunteer from the audience (a kid about 8 years old), having him lay down on the street, and bunny hopping over him, one wheel then the other, back and forth, even once with just the rear wheel (front wheel in the air the whole time). He also jumped the bike from a platform, down right next to the boy, and over (again, rear wheel only). I was freaked out just watching it; I think if I were the kid I would have just resigned myself to death. But he never touched the kid with the bike. Truly amazing skill.

So I'm sure you can bunny hop over a chicken...with a little practice.
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Old 07-04-06, 08:29 AM   #18
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It is amazing what you can bunny hop when sufficiently motivated! I figured I will clear a fer-de-lance by a couple of feet - if I don't aim for the head...

Changed my commute today - having found topographical maps of the area, I discovered a road that goes around the back side - it is longer (8.5 kilometers compared to 6.0) but the rise is much more gradual AND THE ROCKS IN THE ROAD ARE MUCH SMALLER! Mainly just hardpacked clay with a little gravel for traction where it gets a little muddy. There are three bridges that I crossed yesterday with our Montero - and I can tell you I won't do THAT again in a while! But, they are fun on a bike. Instead of about less than 20 minutes to work, it just under 30 minutes - but well worth it. Besides, as I learn where the good stretches are, it will be faster.

In the back of our property we have the Rio Cote (if you are curious - take a map of Costa Rica - look for Lake Arenal - at the Northern end is a lake called Lago Cote or something like that - follow the river to San Rafael de Guatuso - that is the River.). I now parallel this river for a while, it is a beautiful, deep jungle river - lots and lots of fish. If I get too hot, I am going to jump in!

Nice people along the way - of course I got a bit of a strange look - but I am used to that. But, we exchanged creatings - I am sure today they just thought I was lost... but pretty soon I will be the crazy Gringo who passes by at 7:30 am.
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Old 07-04-06, 08:27 PM   #19
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I can say without reservation that I never really thought I would read about someone pondering bunny hopping a chicken. I think that's just what the doctor ordered for the week. Thanks, and for the record, there is no shame in striving to be the "crazy gringo".
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Old 07-05-06, 09:16 AM   #20
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Thanks for the encouragement - not that I particularly need it to be a bit daft at times.

We have been at the new place just shy of 3 weeks and I have already dropped more than 4 lbs - the return trip usually has me gasping before I am done and needing to take a breather - but I have high hopes of eventually completely the whole thing on the pedals.

But, don't expect it to be finished without stopping - the Rio Cote is far too inviting. Yesterday in the afternoon I counted at least 3 groups fishing it for Sabalo. You probably know this fish by another name - tarpon. We get tarpon in the Rio Frio up to 200 lbs - no, that is not a mistake. The spawn upstream which would include the Rio Cote. Some Guapote too (Peacock bass) - I am thinking my ultralight reel and packrod gets added for tomorrow... I am hoping I don't hit a monster with my ultralight... but I have seen sabalo in the river that are about a meter long. I don't think there are any 100lb plus Sabalo Real in the river... (same fish, but called Royal Tarpon because of their size)

The ride back was wonderful - but long - about 45 minutes. This is great, I am getting to ride my bike about 1 hour and 15 minutes a day now. The ride to the office is downhill which is nice, and I get to kill myself off on the return. But, the ride to work is enough to get the endorphins flowing.

All is good.
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Old 07-05-06, 10:30 AM   #21
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You wouldn't need a guy with a masters in biology in a few years would you? Hey, and you'll also get a riding partner out of it too. Have fun on those crazy roads. Pura Vida!
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Old 07-05-06, 01:39 PM   #22
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In your dreams! When you get old and grey, perhaps you can live here this way too...
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Old 07-07-06, 11:29 AM   #23
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I figured out something that was wrong with my bike yesterday - the disc brakes were too tight or something - but if I hit a rock, the wheel would shift (I have lots of rocks!) and then start rubbing - since I wasn't just rolling on pavement, it was a bit hard to tell - I just figured I was getting old.

Anyway, this morning I did the commute downhill and nearly wiped out I went so fast - more brakes was necessary. Much, much faster than before.

We will see how well I do on the return trip.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:19 AM   #24
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Interesting ride in today - I was dodging cows and horses at times. Maybe this is the Monday morning traffic jam here? I don't mind the cows or horses as long as they are looking at me - but pointing the other end at me causes some concern. There is the possiblity of spooking one and having it kick me or the bike and worse yet, for them to decided that now would be a good time for a potty break - if you know what I mean.

If you think mud is slick... well, there are things that are worse.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:56 AM   #25
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By the way - on a similar note - there is a bike shop (really small) just down the street from me. I have arranged a Monday morning makeover (clean and lube) for every week for 1,000 colones - if you want to know, that is less than 2 dollars.

At least once a week - I will ride a clean bike - for at least half the ride...
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