Bicycles have become very popular over the past few years in Puerto Vallarta, a place that was until a very short time ago, much easier to navigate atop a donkey. We still love donkeys but bikes are a bit more fun, get you there faster and much less stubborn.
Up and down the coastal corridor on Highway 200, enthusiasts will find an abundance of shops willing to sell, rent, repair and suggest areas to explore. There’s no shortage of willing tour guides. Ask at any of the local stores and repair shops and you will be led to enthusiasts who not only know the terrain but are also very familiar with the flora and fauna, eagerly willing to share their knowledge.
Bikes can be rented at a number of shops around town; bike repair and accessories add to a growing commerce in Puerto Vallarta. Bike tours are all the rage but it’s no longer necessary to schlep one’s own equipment, sometimes adding phenomenal amounts to airfare. A common option for those traveling with a bike is to fly first class. For the cost of an upgrade, luggage (including bikes) check in for free. Depending on the airline, three or more pieces are accepted. Also good to know is when checking a bike on a flight involving more than one leg, your bike will travel with you all the way, so once you have checked in to first class on your initial flight, you can fly the rest of the way coach and the bike still goes.
Tips for bike riding in Puerto Vallarta are the same as anywhere in the tropics: Hydrate constantly. Don’t drink water just when you’re thirsty; that can get you in trouble. Eat; every hour is recommended to combat fatigue. Take corners slowly; you never know what’s around the curve…ride with caution and use your brakes. Wear comfortable but appropriate clothing; the sun is brutal and sunstroke is a real consequence of over exposure. Either apply sunscreen or cover your body with long pants, long-sleeved shirts. Helmet! Eye protection! Closed toe shoes! Make sure you have all necessary equipment for a breakdown (tools, tires, pump); great to divide this stuff up when riding with a group. ID! Be sure to carry your identification everywhere you go; a photocopy of your passport is an excellent idea.
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