The ruins at Ek Balam, near Valladolid, Yucatan


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Page 2: Valladolid to Piste and Chichen Itza, January 23-24

We had a little breakfast and were leaving Valladolid around 7:30. We considered taking an indirect route to Piste to avoid Route 180, the major road between Cancun and Merida. However, it was a Sunday morning with light traffic, so we stayed on 180 all the way to Piste, the village beside Chichen Itza. It wasn't bad, but given the lack of shoulders, we wouldn't want to cycle this road at a busier time.

The only stop we made along the way was at a Mayan Art Museum, so called, really a big, brand-new gift shop. We doubt that many of the crafts on sale would truly qualify as "art," but it was a nice break.

We arrived in Piste not long after noon — the ride had been about 40 miles — and checked into Posada Olalde, a modest but clean place run by a friendly Mayan family.

We're riding unusual, front-wheel-drive, folding recumbents called Cruzbike Quests. We'd be surprised if there are more than 100 of them in all of North America. Soon after we settled into Posada Olalde, a group of cyclists with Bike Mexico arrived for the night. One of them was David Gostnell, of Portland Oregon, and he was riding a Cruzbike Quest!

Darned unusual bikes

Still on Sunday, we decided to bike back to Chichen Itza, just a couple of kilometers, not for a proper visit, but simply to see the crowds. It was the way we picture Disneyland! Scores of giant buses, long lines of tourists. We decided, as some of the guidebooks recommend, to come back early in the morning, before the tours arrive.


On the way, Barbara bashed into a curb and had a blowout. We were surprised that only the tube appeared damaged. (A few days later, we learned that this was wrong.)

In the morning, we joined the Bike Mexico group in hiring a tour guide for Chichen Itza, and we're glad that we did. You can read about these places in a guidebook, but without someone to actually point out things, you miss so much.

Below left: out guide Miguel was an enthusiastic teacher. Below right, the Observatory. Bottom: The great temple at Chichen Itza.


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