If you read this blog even occasionally, you know that we are huge bike lovers, so of course one of of our first tasks here in Playa del Carmen (here's our first post from here if you missed it) was to purchase inexpensive beach cruisers to ride during our time here. Even long-term rentals, assuming we could even find decent rental bikes, would not make financial sense. For the length of time we're staying (six months), it's much more cost-effective to buy.
There are quite a few local bike shops clustered within two blocks or so on Avenida 30 Norte, a busy commercial street a short walk from our rental. So on our third day in town, we headed up there, walked into one of the larger shops, BiciPlaya II, and hoped for the best.
As expected, the guy who helped us spoke no English. But of course he was anxious to make a sale. Fortunately, another customer in the shop with a flat tire spoke both English and Spanish and was able to serve as an impromptu translator for a few minutes as we started looking and explaining what we wanted. That was incredibly helpful.
All the beach cruisers were equipped with knobby mountain bike tires, and we wanted smoother tires as we'd be riding on pavement most, if not all of the time. In Belize even though we often rode on the beach path or unpaved dirt roads, we had smooth but wide tires, and they served us well. Our "translator" was able to explain this to the shop employee so he could swap out the tires for us.
We started with my bike. I picked a color I liked in a ladies' beach cruiser, Crema (a pale yellow), and the shop guy got to work changing out the knobby tires. I also picked out a basket, a different saddle (narrower than what it came with), and later, different hand grips and a rear-view mirror, all of which were installed over time. The shop got busy, so this all took awhile, but that was okay -- hanging out in a bike shop is not the worst place to spend a morning!
Barry's bike was next. By this time, the "translator" was long gone, but Barry was able to get his desires across pretty well with lots of pointing, nodding, and a few words of Spanish. He found a used red bike he liked that was actually made in the US. Although a single speed, it had hand brakes like we're used to (I am envious!), but he needed the tires, handlebars, and saddle changed out; and pedals, a water bottle cage, and a rear-view mirror installed.
Here he is going on his test ride on the side street outside the shop, a smile on his face!
When it came time to pay, I tried to bargain and ask for a descuento (discount) since we were buying two bikes plus accessories, but our little guy wouldn't budge much, especially once he discovered that we intended to pay with a credit card. Either our bargaining skills aren't very good, or this just wasn't the right shop to try them out in!
Our total price for both bikes was $4429 MX, which sounds like a huge amount but is only about $325 US. Compared to what we pay in the states for bikes and bike parts, it was a deal. And considering how much we'll certainly ride these bikes, they will prove to be worth every penny and much more, I am sure.
We've already had a blast on them and have found some excellent places to ride, but I'll save those for another post. In the meantime, here's a better look at my pretty new steed at our home base.
And Barry's red racer, out enjoying a ride!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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