Monday, March 1, 2010

COSTA RICA Day 3: The quest for a spoke! (Lunes)

As promised, we awoke on Monday ready to take on Costa Rica! We even had the pleasure of a totally clear view of the Arenal Volcano, which is directly across from our hotel, another breakfast at the hotel, and then we were suiting up for a ride—first to a waterfall, then back through Fortuna to another town with an old bridge and a swimming spot on the River Arenal.  I had “way points” plotted on my GPS, and navigation was a snap. And by snap, I mean “snap,” as in, that what I heard as Jean and I were pedaling along a rutted gravel road. I was down one spoke—drive side of course (not that I had any extra spokes with me)—and my wheel, she was a rubbin’. We kept going as best we could, but as the terrain got steeper and steeper, my wheel was more and more wobbly and rubbing the frame something fierce. We decided to call it quits and head into town, to TRY to find a bike shop.

After a couple of loops through town, Jean spied a sign that said, “Ciclo Cali,” and that, coupled with the Shimano and GT logos on the front of the building suggested a bike shop. Sure enough, it was. The mechanic didn’t speak any English, but I was able to point to the broken spoke—that’s how good my Spanish is—I can point. 

Anyway, he fixed several other bikes before mine—all with the efficiency of a practiced mechanic. When he got to mine, he found that he didn’t have the right sized spoke. He did, however, hop on his little motor scooter to go get one. I don’t know where he went, but he came back in a few minutes and set to fixing my wheel. I was out of there for only 1,500 colones (about $3.00).

Unfortunately, about 15 minutes later, I snapped ANOTHER spoke. We limped back to the shop to start the whole process over again. But now, it was lunch time, so he said come back in about 2 hours. Jean and I wandered around Fortuna again, and this time had lunch at the Lava Lounge for some frio cerveza and Arroz con pollo. We killed some more time at the Gecko Gourmet CafĂ© with one of THE best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

Another 1,500 colones later and I was back on the road. I flipped the bike and took out some of the tension on all of the spokes, just to reduce my chance of popping another. We made it back to the hotel and took a dip in the pool, then the hot springs—ah! It wasn't the long ride we were hoping for, but it still turned out to be a fun day.

The hot springs at the hotel are great. It’s a secluded little pool surrounded by flowers, with a great view of the volcano. And, it’s right next to a bar… if you like that sort of thing. It was a relaxing evening after that with another killer meal at the hotel restaurant and then early to bed.

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