Cuenca Bike Tour

Back at Millka we check on MacKay. Still out. Man that sucks. Definitely staying the night here then. No biggie, it’s a really cool place, lots more to see. Hopefully he’ll shake whatever he’s got by resting in bed all day.

We’re having a well earned patio beer. Martin comes up to join us. What are you gonna do now? He’s going biking. We’re coming! Go down and apply a little adventure detective work to the bikes. Steve had mentioned earlier that he’d taken one out, gotten a flat down by Paradise Park, and ended up walking the thing back. There are just under 10 bikes all in various states of disrepair. Drisdelle grabs one but the tire needs air. Martin picks a decent one off the bat. I inspect the bikes for tire pressure and whatnot. Looky here, a bright pink bike. Now i bet that gets underused. No self respecting male is gonna drive that around town, and half of the girls probably wouldn’t touch it either. Yep, probably in good shape and muy bonito. That’s the bike for me.

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We take off through the streets to the river side bike path. Martin, too tall for his bike, has his knees in a V shape out past the handlebars. My pink gem is a rickety unstable mess. Odd sounds behind me indicate Drisdelle’s is in similar shape.

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A section of the bike path turns into construction and now we’re off roading by the river. A nice trail through some woods and we emerge at Paradise park. A really pretty, sprawling park with a couple smaller ponds and streams running throughout. Agent Getz takes a moment to get pumped up on some of the public workout equipment.

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Out of the park we take a different route back to the hostel and instantly get Lost down a series of one way streets in rural Cuenca. People going about their days and odd shops and restaurants. Back on track we stumble upon a Terminator looking statue emerging from a mound of rubble and precious metal veins. This is by the Museo del fuego. There are a series of Benefactor stones for people who’ve contributed to the museum, presumably the stones increase in size depending on the size of the contributions.

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We get back on track and crank our shanty bikes uphill past an old Inca Fort, legs feeling the pull now. Stop at a shop for a water break by alternative hostel. Looks like a cool place, but not a great location. Millka definitely wins in that department. Hopping off the bike, my right leg scrapes the metal fender and i get a long narrow cut across my knee. That’ll be fun on buses. Grab some waters and chill for a sec, Martin gets a heart shaped ice cream bar to cool off with.

Break time is over and we’re back on the bikes. Got lost again. Up hill again. Pushing our one gear bikes up a hellacious hill. We spot old town in the distance to our left. All down hill from here on cobble stone streets w limited breaking power. Whoa rattling the bike to pieces, cars beeping by, arms shaking just trying to maintain on my pink shitmobile. My fender comes off, the front light shimmies down, down to face the ground. And we’re back into old town. Wish I’d had the go pro on for that quick, brakeless descent. There’s lots of car and pedestrian traffic and we’re weaving between it all on our cruisers. We grab some pics in the central plaza.

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On the way back to the hostel I mastered the angled, one-legged push along the sidewalk beside cars at the lights. Splitting the defense between busses and cars. The last stretch by the river is a series of downhill twisting switch backs for the final sprint home to Mallki.

When we get back they’re building a ping pong/beer pong table. Gonna be a tournament tonight. Check in on MacKay and he’s still out. Maaaaaaan. Sucks. Not getting out of Ecuador tonight, that’s for sure.

We grab a cab up to a lookout over Cuenca with Martin and Alex. Good view of the city from up there. Sunny spots of greenery on one side and a storm culminating wherever. We stop in a café for some cappuccino and a tamale as the rain picks up on the hillside.

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Back to the hostel again, I ask Andreas for another dinner option since his suggestion of Chill and Grill the day before was so baller. He recommends Pronto taco, a Mexican joint down in the same area. Haven’t had Mexican for a few weeks. Alex and Martin tag along, MacKay is still outskie. Ramped up the taco count (although we’ve lost count post-Mexico).

Night time included some ping pong out front with Vincent adding another dimension by chasing after the ball the whole time. I gave Martin a guitar lesson on the upstairs balcony. Andreas came out to play as well and we jammed on some Spanish tunes, him playing and singing, me adding some lead riffage. Iliana cane up as well and described how the hostel only opened in April. They’ve put a lot of elbow grease into it and the place already had a nice chill vibe. The bikes were a nice touch. It used to be an abandoned houseand they bought it and fixed it up. Great location and everyone working there couldn’t be nicer. Highly recommend it.

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Pretty chill night, we were really enjoying Cuenca. But the rally blood is thick and pulsing, our incessant need to keep pushing onwards was fueling a desire to split town. Really hope MacKay can kick whatever he’s got so we can cross into Peru tomorrow and thrust on to what will probably be a rally highlight: Machu Picchu

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