I found the tour company Eco Ride Mexico on trip advisor while planning out my daily Puerto Vallarta adventures. What initially caught my attention was a 30 mile bike tour they offered along the rugged Mexican coastline. I really wanted to test myself, and this ride certainly would have done that.

A week before I left I get an email stating that they don’t have enough riders signed up and so this ride unfortunately had to be cancelled. They did have another three hour tour open though. I was a little dejected, but took them up on the offer. Next thing I know my uber ride is bouncing along cobblestone side streets in the early morning trying to find the Eco Ride building.

No one is up this early, and so I quietly knock on a door, hoping I am in the right place. I small window opens and a gent with shaggy hair that looks like he just rolled out of bed greets me warmly. I enter to the smell of coffee brewing and wall to wall bikes. Behind the counter is an open area kitchen where a woman is feeding a baby. The gent checks me in, letting me know that this is his home, the woman and child behind him are his family. The wife feeds me and offers me a coffee, which I graciously accept. Soon others arrive that will be part of this bike ride.

I am fitted with a full suspension bike, and test it out on the cobblestone streets as the others get set up. We have a fairly large and diverse group, young and old from all walks of life. We get started just as the sun breaks above the clouds, shop owners are opening up and washing off the sidewalks in front of their businesses, getting ready for another day.

The guides can tell I’ve biked before, and we share tales of single track trail adventures as we ride. I recognize that we are biking along the same path I took earlier in the week on my ATV ride into the Sierra Madre mountains. That dirt road was a pretty steep incline, and I wonder if we will actually be riding up the same path. The sweat pouring off my brow soon answers that question.

The rain from the night before has created puddles that are meant to be ridden through, covering my entire body in specks of glorious mud. About halfway up the mountain, we veer off the main dirt road to a smaller single track trail, with an even steeper incline. My lungs are on fire, but I am able to switch gears and continue to peddle forward without having to walk my bike up the mountain. Other riders are not so lucky. This tour is not some easy bike ride along a flat path as I think some may have thought it would be.

We make it to the halfway point, a small little restaurant by the river. It’s only 10:30 in the morning, but I am famished after the grueling climb and ask if I can get the veggie fajitas.

“No problemo senor!”.

As we rest and eat I get to know some of the other riders. The best part of traveling, for me, is learning about other people’s cultures and experiences. I talk to a Jewish family of four, and they tell me about how Jewish children can fly to Israel for free (up to a certain age) so that they can learn about their genealogy and history of their people. It is a moving experience to hear from one of the girls re-tell her time there learning about the holocaust.

With full bellies, everyone saddles back onto their bikes and is ready for the descent. Although we are cautioned to take it slow, the guides pull a few of us aside and tell us we can go as fast as we want since we seem to have the experience. That was all I needed to hear….

I think you knew that I was going to hit every puddle on the descent.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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