What a lovelly bike-life we have in Costa Rica (lots of pics)

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After a month traveling in Costa Rica, I decided to stay in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side. It´s a beautiful beach town, there is some surf around (I´m so happy I finally tried it) and it´s absolutely ideal to ride a bike.

This is because it´s all flat, asphalted (thank you tourism industry, the public school and the local playground kind of suck, but the car infra-structure is fine), roads by the beach and we have to go from one village to the other by bike, riding 2 kilometers here and there every day to go to school, to the bakery, to the other beaches and just for the classical bike ride with no urge to get anywhere rather than just flow.

A real bike town

sweet adjustment to cruise with Luísa everywhere

There´s such a bike culture here, many bikes are adapted to carry children by jus adding a regular seat in front of the main seat and two bars for the feet, like in this picture. I had it made for Luísa copying the model I saw all around. I´ve never seen this before and will definitely upgrade my bike back in Brazil to this as well.

At the school, most moms take and pick up their children by bike. The children are taken by bike in various ways, commonly just sitting on the handle bars. I know it sounds totally dangerous, but you see them carrying 2 year olds like that all the time.

Luísa´s school at 8am

Back home in Brazil, we live in a small town too. Crazy enough, it´s not that common for people to ride bikes there. It´s a mystery that I think only culture can explain. There, there´s no bike culture at all and here, the bike is a given factor.

Ethan recently wrote about his experience in Puerto Viejo with his son riding and watching everyone else using bikes too, he describes well the biking practice of the town.

Luísa´s new bike was her birthday present

I promised Luísa a pink bike a long time ago. I kept telling her that as soon as we decided on where to live and she went to school, I´d finally buy one. Now it was her birthday coming up in April as a good excuse to do it.

So we went to the border with Panama to buy one (everything in Panama is half the price here, this was true with the bike that cost US$ 37,00).  This time, we crossed through some funny border, a canoe crossed us from Costa Rica to Panama straight into the store, just like that. I wish I had pictures of this wild shopping.

There was no pink bike in the store. Instead, we could spot immediately this blue beauty with pink flowers. Luísa loved it right away. We then saw a purple bike, but she didn´t think it was as beautiful as this one. I was surprised.

Her first bike ride on her own bike was like the first time for me. This was making a dream come true. Not just hers, but mine. It´s part of the dreams that make me the happier: watching her ride the bike, swim, dance… Will I one day see her surfing? I wonder (until now, she usually says no to this invitation) but I have faith that with my new vision board full of women surfing she will be just as inspired as me to go for it.

Luísa was about 1-year old here.

We´ve been riding my bike together since she was 8 months old. She always loves it and when I had a car, she preferred the bike, when given the option. Right now she is learning, but I really want to see her coming along with me to any given distance and going to school with it. Nothing like this family of four on bikes that rode from Alaska to Argentina, though…

This was our previous celebration to her birthday on April 23rd. I told her that the bike was her birthday present, that soon she would be four. It´s the first birthday present I buy for her. Before, she got so many presents as a baby from my family and friends, that I kept some sealed for special occasions. There is really no need to have many toys and having too many is actually bad.

Luísa also knows she will have to leave this bike behind when we go back home, there her new bike will probably be pink, as I have not seen any girly bike there of a different color.

One of the special things Luísa will have to remember of her fourth birthday (if she will) is having a bike-beach life. It´s my present for her that she can be totally immersed in an active and close to the nature lifestyle. Not bad as a start for someone´s first years in life, don´t you think?

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on April 11, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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