Winter Weekend in Rio: Biking the City

Hearing all my friends and family complain about the heat in the States, I started to think how enjoyable the weather was here. Then it hit me–this is WINTER in Rio!

I have never been one to follow the weather and even after years living abroad, Celsius still doesn’t quite register with me. Instead I try to gauge the weather by watching people pass by my apartment. But here it is impossible. One person will pass by in shorts and a tank top, the next with jeans, boots, and a jacket.

Some days I leave in jeans and a t-shirt and by the time I get to the bottom of the hill, I realize it is too much. Other days it is just the opposite.

This weekend wasn’t hot or cold, but chilly enough that we knew that the beach wasn’t really going to be an option (for us–nothing seems to deter Cariocas from going to the beach). So we finally had the push we needed to get our bikes ready to ride.

We found a bike shop a few blocks away, filled our tires with air and continued to the beach. Biking the city is less than ideal. With no bike lanes we had to weave between pedestrians, parked cars, and newspaper stands on the sidewalks to get to the bike path along the beach. Once there, it was lovely.

On Saturday, we rode to Ipanema and stopped for lunch at Manoel & Juaquim. While the food looked good, the fish was dry and the broccoli and rice were greasy. We were less than impressed. From there we biked to Lagoa and up the mountain to the house. I had been dreading that incline alone, let alone with an extra 40 pounds (L plus the bike seat) on the back of my bike, but I made it, and I feel it today!

On Sundays the city closes Avenida Atlantica during the day and people pour out to run, bike, skateboard and walk. But mostly people come out to stroll along the waterfront, which just gave us more room to weave in and out of a pedestrian maze. While somewhat annoying, it provided the perfect venue for people watching and a game of I Spy.

We rode to the edge of Leblon and took a break on the beach where we could watch the parasailers land in the distance and tractors move sand. Biking home we found a street leading home with an actual bike lane. It was hard to tell if it is actually respected, but we took our chances and enjoyed a few blocks of uninterrupted riding.

Now that L and I have the bike, I am ready to take on our mission to visit every park in Zona Sul, provided my successful trip up the mountain wasn’t just beginners luck!

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