Casas de Ciclistas are, as the name suggests, homes for cyclists. These wonderful abodes are dotted about South America, welcoming in stray, nomadic bikers, with a floor to sleep on or a garden in which to camp.
I recently visited the Casa in San Angustin, set in the beautiful Finca Campesina a kilometre out of town. Officially, it had just been closed while the German owners, Igel and Paola, embark on their own two wheeled journey across Asia (with accompanying dogs). However, they kindly suggested we pass by and see if there was anyone around to let us in. Luckily for us, there was.
There’s a very handy list of other Casas de Ciclistas in South America here.
A telltale sign at the gatepost. Bikes + panniers = Casa de Ciclistas.
A great chill out spot. I was only there for a couple of days, but some bike travellers end up staying for weeks...
Bike-inspired details abound, as on this earth-brick oven.
More tell tale signs in this spoked window.
The potentially ferocious Costena seemed to recognise the sound and sight of two wheels, and refrained from attacking. Here she is looking a little exhausted, no surprise after recently giving birth to seven pups.
Everyone who visits writes in a guestbook, with their name, country and the date they passed through. It's the kind of tome you can pour over for hours.
A piece of bamboo is also proffered on which to etch your name or doodle.
Long live the bicycle and bike travel! I spotted Romain's bamboo, the Tall Frenchman I'd ridden with for some months in Chiapas and the Yucatan, as well as others I've been in touch with.
Then a tree is planted, or in our case, an avocado seed. Teo took us down to the chosen spot on the finca's land, to join almost 100 other trees from fellow bike travellers from around the world.
At the ready: sign and avocado seed.
A proud me, honoured to be part of this two wheeled community.
Arnaud patting down his lump of land. Should be bearing fruit is ten years...
Before we left, there was time to prepare our bamboo plaques, seen here with Basque Patricio, who'd passed through the week before. He's been on the road for 14 years... After a quick varnish, they were ready for the wall.
Our names join the hallowed ranks of bike travellers. Thank you Igel and Paula for creating such a wonderful home from home for wandering cyclists.