I arrived in Cozumel a few days ago and plan to stay six weeks, so instead of walking everywhere or taking a cab, I decide to buy a bike and ride all over the island. For a refresher, Cozumel is an island about twenty miles southeast of Cancun, about 30 miles long by 15 miles wide. I come for the diving and the food…. and the sun…and the warm water…and the nice people ….and to finish a book and to work on my travel blog. That’s a ton of sitting down computer work, so a bike is just what I need to put 10-15 miles a day on to burn some calories.
About 8 in the morning the day after I arrive in Cozumel I’m standing on the 2nd story balcony of my hotel, the Casa Mexicana, and a guy standing on the street by a motor scooter yells up to me, “You want to rent this scooter?”
‘No, I want to buy a bike.” I yell down.
“Why you want to buy a bike when you can rent this scooter?” he shouts back.
“I can’t run out of gas riding a bike,” I shout back. He thinks about this a moment and laughs, then says, “I’ll be up in thirty minutes.”
Thirty minutes later Victor ambles over to where I’ll sitting, banging away on my laptop on an article, and introduces himself. That’s how I know his name is Victor. Victor works in front of the Casa Mexicana helping tourists, especially cruise ship tourists, find car rentals, attractions, restaurants, what have you, and he knows the ropes. BTW, if you’re in Cozumel and need help, try to catch Victor in front the Casa Mexicana between, say 8:30 and 3.
Victor tells me he can drive me around to find a bike – and we agree on a price of $40, even if it takes all day. Little did either of us imagine that it was going to take almost five hours, so $40 is still much better than five hours of taxi fares.
Since I was planning to use it for only six weeks, I wanted serviceable bike with fenders. It rains a lot in Coz and I don’t like riding around after a rain with a black rain stripe up my back and down my front. It’s hard to find an adult bike on Cozumel with fenders. We tried four stores for new bikes and about 8 bike shops for used bikes, and absolutely nothing. Finally, Victor tries one last place, a bike shop way up in the local Mexican part of town, and there is a bike that fits the bill – for 2,200 pesos – about $170. With the basket and lights and a discount, say $200, and I take it.
But first, Angel has to give me the sales presentation – which I find hysterical – check out the vid. Angel lays out a line of crap about two miles long. He knows it, I know it, he knows that I know, and I know that he knows that I know, and both of us are having a lot of fun selling me the bike. Victor is also having fun watching this unfold, but he really perks up when I tell him I’ll sell him the bike when I leave for $1000 pesos, about $75.
We spend another hour changing the grips, putting on lights and basket, and by the time were done, about 2 PM, the sun and Angel have fried my brain. So, Victor gives me directions to his local watering hole and I ride my bike over and meet him there.
The beer is ice cold, the food – whatever it is – tasty and cheap, and the décor to die for – check out the vid. After Victor leaves, I relax in the shade for another hour, do some writing, take some vids, and knock back a two more Pacifico’s. I finally toddle out of there about four, hop on my new bike and ride back to my hotel. Just another day in paradise.