A Bike Tour to Pedasi

I just returned from my first out of town bike tour to Pedasi, where I visited good friends and a fellow blogger.

Actually, I started on the bus. The very busy Pan-American Highway is under construction between David and Santiago and it is not safe for a cyclist. I took a bus from David to La Divisa (about 20 miles east of Santiago at the road heading south).

My goal the first day was to bike to Chitre (about 25 miles). I got an early start but the 4 hour bus ride landed me at my starting point around noon, so I was biking in the hottest part of the day. The route started out fairly flat but I encountered more and more hills the closer I came to Chitre. By the time I arrived I was tired, sweaty, and thirsty in spite of drinking almost all of my 5 bottles of water. But, I made it and overall, it was a very good ride.

It was hot in Chitre and the hostel was downtown with a lot of street noise. It was also on the second floor so I was very thankful for a young Irish guy who carried my heavy bike upstairs. The good part was I had booked a bunk bed but I was the only one in the room, and the shower was heavenly!

The city noises woke me about 5AM, so I actually had to wait for it to get light enough to set off for my next leg of the trip. This day my goal was to make it to Pedasi, about a 50 miles.

I was very happy with this ride! There were more hills than I expected, some of them challenging. And, even with my early start it didn’t take long to get hot. But, I arrived in Las Tablas (about half way) feeling better than expected so I biked through and stopped for lunch a bit south of town. I wasn’t especially hungry but I ate anyway, and drank two pitchers of water.

I set out after lunch feeling surprisingly refreshed and energetic, and I enjoyed the two lane, quieter, more scenic road. By the time I got close to Pedasi though I was feeling a bit wilted from the heat and the hills. Imagine my delighted surprise when I saw my friend waiting for me on the edge of town to welcome me and ride in together!

It was a great visit in Pedasi. I stayed with my good friends and was able to see many other friends as well. I’ll post more about that later with photos of the area beaches.

On Sunday I was ready to head home but how? It was very windy and I would have been biking over all those hills again, but this time in a strong headwind. Could I make it to Chitre for another night in the noisy downtown hostel? And, when I reached La Divasa how long would I be standing on the highway hoping for a bus with room for both me and my bike? Would I have to bike on to Santiago on the busy highway? My friends convinced me to take them up on their offer of a ride to Chitre where I could catch buses to Santiago and then David.

This turned out to be a very good decision. In Chitre I had to wait for three buses until one arrived with a roof rack for the bike. Then, in Santiago I had to wait about 1 1/2 hour for another bus with a roof rack. But, I made it back without incident (except for a dent in my bike rack).

I learned a lot from my first bike trip. First, and most important, I am up to the riding! I accomplished a 49 mile ride with hills without a problem, and I felt fine and ready to ride again the next day. Biking for a few hours alone is nice, but biking for a couple days alone wasn’t as enjoyable. I would prefer a companion on longer trips. And, a companion would also help if I need someone to watch the bike, or hold it while I rearrange something. (My loaded bike is too heavy for the kick stand.)

What now? I’m ready to plan a longer trip, maybe to Costa Rica or Nicaragua but I’d rather go with an experience bicycle tourist. I don’t find bus travel as enjoyable, especially with a bike so I’d rather head west. Meanwhile I’ll continue biking around here, and working on more strength for the hills. I must make it to Boquete one of these days!

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Exploring Panama, Panama, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to A Bike Tour to Pedasi

  1. Sunnymikkel says:

    Bravo Zulu Kris!

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  2. oldsalt1942 says:

    Back in ’92 I did a nine-month, single-handed getaway to Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. People often asked me if it wouldn’t have been better to have had a companion along. Well, in some ways, yes. There were certain things it would have been great to share. Like a fantastic meteor shower while anchored out at the edge of the reef in Belize one night lying in my hammock between the mast and the forestay. But the important thing is, I DID IT, AND IT’S BETTER TO HAVE GONE ALONE THAN NOT TO HAVE GONE AT ALL!!!

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  3. 4sarge says:

    Great Job Chris, 50 Miles in that Heat is Miraculous. Thank God for Friends and Irish Manners

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  4. Pingback: Mi Amiga y Su Bici | In Da Campo

  5. schuttzie says:

    Really great job, congratulations, Kris! Maybe your husband would go along on one of your trips 🙂

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  6. I’m so impressed with your adventurous spirit! You rode through some gorgeous country. Anita

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  7. Hugo Ernst says:

    I expect a blog sometime in the future about biking ocean to ocean, don’t remember when the annual event is but believe from another blog they start in Colon and go to Panama City.

    Congratulations, I’m very impressed, signing up for Social Security and biking 50 miles a day, in the same year….😃

    Remember “The good thing about hills, is that half of them are downhill” 😉

    Glad to hear about the road work, last time we were down there, we blew a tire on a bridge pothole,, went and looked at the hole,and rebar was only thing between you and river.

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    • Really? I’ll have to hunt for some info on that ocean to ocean thing. That would be very fun.
      Thanks 🙂 It’s retirement that does it, and the time to do the things you want to do.
      I did enjoy the downhills but I was also thinking about how they would be uphills on the return trip.
      I think the road is going to be under construction for a couple years so it’s going to be a mess for a while. When it’s done though it’s going to be so much better!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad your trip went well. You are fierce, lady! 45 miles and hills. Way to go!

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  9. Kris ¡hola y bravo! from your future biker trip companion. I will be training for the next 628 calendar days then we can ride together in paradise. You are my motivation thanks for the post.

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  10. thepazeras says:

    We’re still in awe of your accomplishment! Didn’t realize you had a 50-mile day, with hills. That’s fantastic! Good call to take the bus back. It’s your first trip and you proved to yourself you could do it. Well done!!!!

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  11. You are my heroine! I don’t think I would ever be brave enough to try it alone. Way to go, Kris!

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