How to (or maybe how not to) buy a bike in Bocas

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A guest post by Kyler

Three weeks of biking to the surf, possibly twice a day, requires not only heaps of grit and determination, it also requires a bike. Bikes can be rented here at 5 dollars a day. Three weeks at five dollars a day is, carry the one, $105. Seems smart to buy and sell. I asked my friend Sam at the dive shop where to find a used bike. He said, “I know a guy. His name is Junior, he has a small ‘shop’ across from the billiard bar. He is cheap, but very unreliable. You will likely have a flat tire the next day.”

Junior's 'shop'

Junior and his “shop”

Siri and I thought we would find Junior to see what he had on offer. It is a small “shop” with many bike frames, wheels, tires, gears etc., but no full bikes for sale. “No problem, tengo dos bicycletas lista a la manana a la ocho, $60 cada una”. We think “sweet, 60 bucks each, ready tomorrow, boom!” So, we pay the deposit and ask for loaner bikes. Junior gives the una momentito pinch

un momentito pinch

un momentito pinch

and arrives back in about fifteen minutes with a sweet ride. Siri’s yoga is close, so one bike will do for now. Psyched to have a bike to get surfing, I peddle the 8km out to Punch Beach the next morning. My friend and I are almost there and “POP!“, blown tire! Flat tire the next day, I should have seen it coming! I surfed then had to start the long walk back. A long walk it was.

kyflattire

“You will have a flat tire the next day”. Sam was right.

Siri and I later return to Junior to pick up our two bikes. Junior is not to be found, check the pub. He comes out and says they are almost ready and to come back in the morning. I come back the next day early and after the second mementito pinch and am given another loaner. Luckily, I made it to the surf and back sans flat tire.

loanerbike2

Second loaner bike

On the fourth day of Junior trips, we are presented with two snazzy cruiser bikes and are super psyched.

twobikesSmall

Two snazzy cruisers

Can you guess what happened the next day? Flat tire. A one hour momentito later, fixed and back on the road. Couple days later, a bent rim and another 8km walk back from the surf. Next day, loose chain on loaner bike, lots of walking. Now, 2 weeks into our 3, I just got my Black Beauty back with a new, old rim and Siri’s Pink Panther is also in full operation. Well, Siri’s bike does have a pretty major bulge in the tire….

Will it burst?

Will it burst?

All and all, it has been a frustrating, funny and time consuming affair; a travel experience that I would never trade for an unreliable, rental bike in Bocas.

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2 thoughts on “How to (or maybe how not to) buy a bike in Bocas

  1. B-rent

    Classic! Love it. It is so fun to see the photo of Cheche in there. You have to say whats up to those guys for me? How is the surf, I hear talk of it, but no report. I want my money back from this blog thing. I am back in the states right now, but will be returning to hold down the fort in El Tunco for your long awaited return. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve at Mopelia. Set dinner for 25… Patty’s cooking was amazing of course! Finished with Belgian waffles and ice cream, the Mopelia standard! Okay, well I will throw another log in the woodstove for you here at my Brothers! B-rent

    • The surf reports will have to come from the K Dubs! I know he’s been stoked! Too many reefs with too little water for my liking… Christmas at Mopelia sounds awesome. (So does a crackling fireplace!) We’re looking forward to our El Tunco return!

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