Week one and Happy Easter

Week one, Nic and I rode 720km in 7 days. From Porto Alegre to Sao Fransisco in Brasil.
The just under three weeks in this beautiful country were set aside to get used to being on the road, comfortable riding every day and figuring out our kit and bike setup. A small trial, really as interviews and work towards the educational program and doco series begins once we reach Senegal and continues across the globe.

Putting in the kms ...

Being able to ride 100km and be fresh to interview and interact in a foreign language will be a challenge for the future. For now, we are just concentrating on

riding our bikes, and as Nic mentions in his post figuring out how to stealth camp, eat enough, and cook outdoors with out being seen.

camp site, just off the highway found!

While he has had these logistics on his mind, being a women, I’ve been more preoccupied with the relationship aspects. A full year on a bike all day with one person. Hmm, even a day on a bike all day with one person, when both are tired can turn quickly from happy dream to nightmare.

On day one, after a sleep on the plane and first time set up of our bikes with all the gear at the airport we headed out of Porto Alegre.

set up at the airport - first time!

With Nic in front, I was reminded of when we first met (on a bike) and our first weekends of riding together. How we met was through an email … I was moving to Australia from Nevis, and after writing all the triathlon and cycling clubs in Sydney looking for riding buddies, Nic was the only one who responded to me. We linked up my first weekend and rode all day, and every weekend after.

One of those first weekends, with Nic riding in front, I had this premonition of doing some extraordinary touring with him. I could see us in the future riding bikes on a big adventure and the thought made me smile.

On day one out of Porto Alegre, however I was snapped out of my nostalgia with Nic asking if I was ‘even riding my bike’ …. i was. Just tired.  Then, all day …, telling me: he is not even peddling, why can’t i keep up? Hm.

Some cycling bloggers talk about cycle touring as unpredictable, all sorts of things can transpire to make days shorter or longer then anticipated. Well, I’d like to throw relationships in there too. I think a fair chunk of choices will be made to make sure we are still together after the adventure!! Ha, we do have a wedding in the middle … 😉

Well, we made a very good choice to cut that first day short and hole up in a guest house to get a proper rest.

And what a difference a good sleep makes!! Everything is sunshine and smiles; fresh legs, fresh thoughts, and a good dose of Winston’s recommendation: lots of cuddle!

We are going to have an amazing year. But more importantly, I’d like to have an amazing life with the man I love most. So, if that means taking a break here and there, we just may have to sacrifice other things such as distance or speed.

With that in mind, we have had a lovely Easter weekend, and we hope you all did too. In Brasil, there is a tradition to fly kites and so we saw a lot of them high up in the country and cities. And now we are in Sao Fransisco, a heritage village with cobble streets like Montreal! I knew Nic was happy to take a break from ridding because he actually wanted to visit a museum! Everything was in Portuguese, of course, but we got a small gist and the pictures of old sailing ships were gorgeous.

A list of a some things I have noticed so far in Southern Brasil:

* Friendly drivers! So many motorists give a tut tut hello, or throw a thumbs up out the window. Only one driver pulled us over and that was to offer us a lift in his truck!

* Friendly people! many people wave, smile, yell excitedly when we pass, and every time we stop people stop to ask where we are coming from and where we are going. We have even been given gifts from strangers of sweets and bananas.

* Green hills. It is hard to imagine a world in crisis, with so much green vegetation and natural forest. Everywhere (outside the cities) is green.

* Cities, they look like small villages on the map, and when we draw near, we are confronted with massive high rises and tightly packed buildings – looks like the city planning is built up rather than spreading out.

* Advertising. Everywhere. Big bill boards of sexy women with surprised faces, usually in something red, are found even in the hills, the country, the farms. They look rather odd against the scenery.

* Small dogs. this must be the pet of choice. So many little dogs in the homes, cars, and arms of the people.

happy dog

* Bicycle commuters. So many people on steel bikes for transport! No helmets though.

* Nic’s bottom. Of course, as he is often in front 😉

That’s all for now. We will actually have to take the bus into Sao Paulo, to meet up with our new dear friends Rachel and Denize who have set up two big events, one a ride through the city with children and parents from schools with a presentation after. The other a ride out of Sao Paulo to Santos with a large group of friends.

Then to Rio! Until soon, xoK