After riding up these mountains of Mexico, I’d be comfortable just about anywhere: between two broken down semi-trucks on the side of the road or on a bench outside the fire station, for previous examples.
Sometimes we get the chance to rest our legs in the comfort of someone’s house. Casa de Ciclistas open their doors for any cyclist passing through. And through their generous hospitality, these houses unite members of a worldwide community of cycle touring.
This group of two-wheeled travelers has a familial bond upon introduction. They speak the same language, not necessarily in words but in the experiences that come to the tongue, like knowing the feeling of being on the side of a busy freeway changing a flat tire while dozens of 18 wheelers race by.
Stories of getting lost, robbed or being trapped without water build up this community of cyclists. And the Casa de Ciclistas is where these stories are best understood. Each one of these crazy travelers, whether by going from Alaska to Argentina or Avenue A to Avenue B, is dedicated to making their world have a little less contamination.
The owners of these houses, such as Guerrero in Guadalajara, Othon in San Ignacio, Tuly in La Paz and Alejandro in Mexico City, gladly open their doors to this community. Despite them having no idea who they are or where they come from, they know what it’s like to be traveling by bicycle, and how grateful they were to have a warm and welcoming place to rest.
Su, his first time in the Americas, spends hours sharing recipes with Kevin, an American cyclist, who both are crossing the span of the continent on two wheels. Local journalist Raul is teaching them both over a warm meal the importance of December 12th in the Catholic celebration here in Guadalajara. Two British gentlemen, Toby and Jamie, excited to take a break after riding all the way from Canada, bring back beers to enjoy after dinner. And a Canadian cyclist, Kristina, having suffered through a broken gear adjuster in the middle of the desert, cools down with some chocolate ice cream.
Each traveler signs a guest book, that becomes more or less of the family photo album. Painters leave a picture, the talkers leave a story, the chefs leave a recipe for a delicious meal, and the friends made along the way leave an impact.
And it’s the ability to spend days in the comfortable environment of other cyclists from around the world that really makes this feel like being home for the holidays.