A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet.

The original quote is “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” and it is attributed to  William Butler Yeats an Irish poet who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1923.

This saying became ingrained in the Irish culture as the Irish are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards strangers.

Even with the current dangers of being too open to strangers, online or not, whenever I can I try to live by this, especially if I find strangers who share the same passions I do.

Through the passion of cycling, I’ve made “virtual friends” (Facebook mostly) in practically all continents of the planet, the vast majority of them, I’ve never seen personally. Maybe some of the people reading this post will recognize themselves in this category and will understand that the power of the Internet plus a shared passion is all you need to bring people together, regardless of physical distance or language barriers (Google Translate and others are also a big help).

Despite all the technological advances, in my humble opinion, nothing replaces the joy of meeting someone new in person, that is why it makes me so happy when I have the opportunity to actually meet face to face some of my “virtual friends”. A couple of weeks ago I had such an opportunity… 🙂

From left to right, Ada Cordeiro, Julie Assêncio, Thiago Ruiz and I
From left to right, Ada Cordeiro, Julie Assêncio, Thiago Ruiz and I.

I met Julie Assêncio and Thiago Ferreira Ruiz, a couple I’ve been following for a few years and Ada Cordeiro, a young lady I’ve also been following since the beginning of her South American tour about 2 years ago. They have all completed their journeys and are back to their (it I may say so) “normal” lives, in Brasilia, Brazil’s Federal Capital.

The English and Portuguese versions of this post are different because their blogs are available in Portuguese only, so I want to give the English speakers reading this post a little more background info.

Julie and Thiago started their 10,000 Km cycling tour in Portugal in 2014, which took them to 20 different countries in a period of about 18 months. Portuguese speakers can, obviously, go to their Blog and read about their amazing journey themselves.

Their blog is called “Dioca na Estrada” (Dioca on the road) and the link is http://novo.dioca.com.br/dioca-na-estrada/

In Europe their journey took them to Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgary, Turkey and Holland. They also pedaled in Índia, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and upon returning to Brazil they pedaled from Rio de Janeiro to their home adding more than 1,000 Km to their journey in Brazil as well.

Ada Cordeiro is a young lady I have been following through Facebook and other social media means since the start of her incredible 23,000 Km journey by bicycle around South America. Her blog is apply named “PedalADAs” in which the “ADA” part refers to her first name and “Pedal” means is Portuguese the same it does in English (the foot-operated levers used for powering a bicycle or other vehicle propelled by the legs, if you are in doubt 🙂 ).

In Portuguese “Pedalar” is the act of pedaling… well, enough of that… I think you get the point 🙂

As with Julie and Thiago’s blog, Ada’s blog is only available in Portuguese. Her blog is here: http://blogpedaladas.blogspot.com.br/

This video summarizes in 5 min her incredible journey.

Even if you are not able to read in Portuguese, I suggest you visit their blog anyway, if only for the wonderful pictures they posted along the way.

Anyway, I just wanted to leave a record of my meeting with them as an evidence that anything is possible, because as I started to follow them I would have never expected to meet them in person.

If you are reading this and are still not a member of my circle of virtual friends, please don’t hesitate to send in a request, but also don’t be mad at me if I do some checking first, such as to loo through your profile and call you in messenger for a chat.

It’s a shame that a certain degree of care is necessary in our society these days.

Take care and keep the wheels turning…

More Jataí (Brazil) Bike Rides

I am on holidays… but not on holidays from my bike. Cycling is one of the things I like to do most and there is no holiday, or life, without it. I am trying to cycle at least 3x a week, but I have avoided cycling alone here because of the risk of being robbed and having my bike stolen. Unfortunately this is a real and relatively likely occurrence here.

Over the past few weeks I have recorded a few rides and some video clips I want to share with you, so you have an idea of what it is to cycle over here. I am also preparing myself to this year’s pilgrimage on the so called “Caminho da Fé” (Faith’s way).

Will write more about this at the end of this post. For now let’s see the videos, shall we?

Bike ride between the Diacuy Lake and Bom Sucesso lake

I believe these are the 2 biggest lakes in town, but I might be wrong. I did this ride with my brother and our destination was in fact the thermal waters club located on the shores of the Bom Sucesso lake.

I think the distance between the 2 lakes is just under 16 Km, but we rode alongside the lake for a while until we went to the club. The Thermas Park Club is a publicly own club of thermal waters in which the water comes out of a deep well apparently more than 1,000m deep. The average temperature of the water is 40 Celsius. A very relaxing bath at a reasonable price.

Saturday bike rides with friends

Saturday Morning Cycling Team (one missing)
Group of friends of our Saturday bike ride (1 is missing)

Every Saturday morning I join a small group of friends to ride approx 25 Km. The bike ride includes a breakfast stop at the farm of one of the members of our group where we enjoy some local culinary delights, such as “Pão de Queijo” (cheese bread), Banana cake, local pastries, coffee, freshly milked milk from their own cows and fried eggs from their own chickens. What more can I ask for.

On our way back I recorded a short clip of the descent into town including a “selfie” with the team (one was missing that day) at the JK Memorial lake (JK stands for Juscelino Kubitschek, Brazil’s 21st president, who choose the town of Jataí on the 4th of April 1955 to announce the construction of Brazil’s new capital, Brasilia, hence the reason for the memorial).

Sunset cycling with my girlfriend.

IMG_20170806_175809The 3rd and last video clip of this post was last week, recorded with my mobile phone while an early evening ride with my girlfriend. During the ride we witnessed one of nature’s most spectacular scenes: The sunset.

I experienced the sunset in many places on Earth, but the sunset here was a little bit more special here than elsewhere, first because of the company I was sharing the moment with and second because the air is very dry here, so you get a very clear view. I had a great time, but don’t take my word for it, watch the video until the end.

If you want to see the pictures taken during these rides, take a look at the Flicker Album below (includes pictures taken in other occasions, not only during the rides above)…

Caminho da Fé

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I plan to do another cycling pilgrimage this year.

Although not as extensive as the Via Francigena, that I’ve done last year, or the Camino de Santiago, that I’ve done in 2015, the “Caminho da Fé” (Faith’s way) is equally challenging due to the difficult terrain, mostly on farm roads (sandy ones likely) and the need to overcome 3 mountains along the way. My biggest challenge has been, so far, the logistics of getting to the starting point with my bike and then back from the town of Aparecida do Norte (the pilgrimage’s destination) to Jataí.

As I will likely be by myself (still on the look for partner though) the best option appears to be a bus from Jataí to the city of Ribeirão Preto (about 700 Km by bus), in the state of São Paulo, then ride the 20 Km from Ribeirão to the town of Sertãozinho (the furthest point from Aparecida do Norte), overnight in a pilgrim’s hotel, and start the ride to Aparecida do Norte (estimated distance of 540 Km) the next day.

It has been a bit difficult to estimate the duration of this pilgrimage as I keep getting conflicting information (some say a week, others 15 days and some took 19 days to complete). The return is a little bit more challenging as it likely will require 2 bus trips, the first from Aparecida do Norte to the city of São Paulo (the capital of the state of São Paulo) and then from there back to Jataí, a bus trip of more than 1,000 Km by bus.

I was planning to do this in August, but due to some personal reasons I’ll have to transfer it to September.

Stay tuned on EyeCycled.com for more.


Jataí Mountain Biking Marathon, Brazil

On the 9th of July I attended the Mounting Biking Marathon in the town of Jataí, in the state of Goias, Brazil.

It was my first riding experience in Brazil in 15 years (or more) and to me it was very challenging due to the terrain.

I am somewhat used to riding MTB tracks as the Swinley Forest in Bracknell have several, but this type of mountain biking is completely new to me.

Although there were some climbs to conquer, there wasn’t much in term of “mountains” to overcome, but the terrain presented some completely new challenges to me… Fine fine, powder like, sand banks, some of them so deep that a 3rd of the wheel would sink in them, providing virtually no traction and at times completely locking the wheel in place.

The video is rather long (30 minutes), but I hope you can enjoy portions of it, if not all. Was recorded with my GoPRO 4 Silver on a Feiyu Tech Wearable Gimbal.

The event’s Facebook page can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/jatairace/

In there you’ll find more details and pictures. Below are the pictures I took during the event.