So, traveling by bike to learn about the city was becoming my new favorite activity. With the two bike tours of Santiago, I was feeling more comfortable with this mode of transit so I figured why not do the Bike Tour of Lima?
I would book the Bay Tour with Bike Tours of Lima -the cost of the 3 1/2 hour tour was approximately $30 which I thought was a great price. The office was located in Miraflores and after meeting the other riders, the guide and signing all the paperwork, we were fitted with our bikes and helmets to begin the tour. Our group would be six riders with a guide.
The first thing i noticed that the bike was easy to use, the second thing i noticed is that in Lima there are NO RULES for the road (or at least it seemed that way when i saw children running for their lives to cross the street with no cars stopping, no stop signs to help cross traffic and a general sense of playing a live game of Frogger) which made the tour by bike that much more fun (did I sign a legal release form?).
The guide was great to ensure that we were all safe in following him and gave good directions along the way. Once we were clear of the busier parts of Miraflores, it was as if we were in deserted area with free reign of the streets in a leisurely ride past the mansions and expensive real estate. We would visit the Barranco neighborhood which during the day was quiet but at night came alive with restaurants, bars and clubs. We would stop at the local church for a bit of history of the area and walk across the wooden Bridge of Sighs holding our breaths to make a wish.
Continuing onward at a slow pace, we were able to take in the various architecture styles (new and old), the feel of the neighborhood and imagine the many artists who were influenced by this over the years.
We would then navigate some of the busy streets again, this time crossing in groups (the frog would have done better with a buffer frog friend in the game) as we entered the coastal neighborhood of Chorrillos. Stopping at two points along the way for more history and stories – we could see (a bit smoggy though) the fishing piers and beaches below from the path.
The first stop in the garden we couldn’t see too much but did the guide did get yelled at by an old man who I may have hit with my bike when he didn’t move on the sidewalk and we were riding in pairs with me in the middle. OK, i did say sorry when my left handlebar slightly hit him, but if you see six bikes side by side on the sidewalk coming at you of tourists, wouldn’t you maybe move a bit to the side to avoid the possibility of a clumsy rider like me?
We would take a break for a snack at a local bar with our bikes locked up, it was a nice time to get to know the other travelers and talk about where we’ve been in South America and where we were going.
Our last stop would be the park that reminded me of Park Guell in Barcelona with its tile work along the seating area.
The main focal point was an interesting sculpture “The Kiss” or as the locals like to say it reminds them of Shrek. You make the call – here is what Shrek looks like….
Here is the sculpture in Lima….either way it is memorable.
Touring a city by bike has become on of my favorite activities of late. You are able to cover much ground in a short amount of time and then can go back later to revisit on your own time. The guides really love to show you their city and regale you with the history, the stories and their spin on it all. There is definitely more to Lima than I thought there was, the bike tour changed my perception of the city which was a pleasant surprise.