During my three odd months here in Florianopolis I’ve organized bike tours, hosted cyclists in my home, and met others under the most random circumstances. The bike karma has accumulated to boiling point. For fear of letting these stories go untold, I write this post as a collage memorial to others like me who bike South America for the fun of it.
The above video was made by four Brazilians who live here in Florianopolis. A friend of my friend knows them well. This third-party friend tried to organize a cyclist pow-wow in the city, but one excuse or another kept us from meeting. I’ve since heard the riders are now in New Zealand, or somewhere else not here. A shame. Their nicely edited film shows many of the same places I visited in Chile and Bolivia. Other videos and information can be found on their website.
In 1993, Brazilian Antonio set off an a world bike tour in which he visited 13 European, 1 African, 9 Asian, and 11 Latin American countries. Three and a half years later he returned to Brazil to pursue bicycle-related opportunities. Antonio and his partner Rafaela are now financially self-sustainable thanks to their business, The Brazilian Bike Tourism Project. A motorhome is their homebase as they travel the world, parking it periodically to pedal instead.
Antonio, Rafaela, and I had lunch together near the beach. When they arrived to the restaurant with loaded bikes I said hello and ended up giving them tips for their upcoming bike tour through Bolivia and Peru, two countries they have yet to visit. Their above video shows the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais that I also traveled by bicycle.
These French cyclists were my houseguests for four days, though we spent the majority of the time exploring Santa Catarina island by bike. We had such a fun time it was hard to see them go (perhaps I’ll join them on another continent, learning French in Asia?).
Having already pedaled Western Europe, northern Africa, and Brazil before their arrival, they have the Americas, Australian, Asia, and the Middle East ahead of them. They plan to end back where they began—France in 2013. Let their itinerary spark your imagination. The above video shows them departing France and arriving to Morroco. Warning: the downhill footage with Mediterrean background beginning at minute 3:00 will give you goosebumps. Check out their website here.
Colombian nice guy Juan Carlos doesn’t have a blog, no fancy editing software, not even a camera as far as I can tell. Biking is his life, not a project with a fixed beginning and end date. For the past 13 years he has continuously pedaled South America, stopping in various cities to live and work for months at a time. Most recently he arrived to Floripa—where I live—to earn money during the tourist high season.
Since his stay in my home we’ve become friends. Though just a grasshopper compared to his kilometers of wisdom, I understand his lifestyle when others may think him certifiably insane. (I doubted his sanity before meeting him, I admit). Now he arrives to our dinner parties, poolside BBQs, and is even accompanying our crew to tonight’s top model magazine party. We’re unlikely V.I.P.s indeed.