Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Barcelona is Hot

Mission Barcelona: eat food, see the sites, dry out our camp gear,  tune the bikes, don't get pickpocketed.
An hour before our flight left from Reykjavík we realized that we were landing in Barcelona with nowhere to stay. A quick Internet search helped us find the cheapest hotel within a couple miles of the the historic city center, and it had with a free 24 hour buffet to scavenge food from. 

 We were astounded to arrive and find a luxurious goldleaf interior and bottomless cappuccinos, it felt like a dream after from the previous weeks' extreme weather, harsh landscapes, and freeze-dried dinners.

Careful kids, that's not grape juice it's wine.

Priority number 1: find a bike shop for new brakes for the Travelers Check. Given Spain's alternative schedule we figured mid day before 'siesta' would be a good time to find a business open. No such luck, thisbike shop's  business hours are 4 PM until 10 PM. (I want to work there)

A look in the window revealed a Surly Big Dummy and several Brooks saddles, we came to the right place.

Waiting for the bike shop to open, we killed a couple of hours in the 95 degree heat by walking the city and checking out some of the phenomenal architecture.

I realized my obsession with cycling had surpassed my interests in art and architecture when i took more pictures in 20 minutes in a bike shop than during my 6 hours walking the city of Barcelona.

Here are some shots of the Espaibici


Brooks galore.

Wooden flat-bar for your fixxie.

Full suspension folding travel bike.

Window to the basement to watch their mechanics work.

Dynamo light heaven.

Representing AK in the bathroom guest book.
 The owner of Espaibici was a huge Surly fanboy and had a Puglsey and Moonlander stashed in the back of his shop, we exchanged e-mails for his eventual pilgrimage to the Fatbike Mecca of the world: Alaska.

Since arriving to Spain, people had constantly been warning us about pickpockets and getting robbed. One of the guys at the bike shop had a nice way of explaining this phenomenon in Barcelona. "People in Barcelona are always looking for an opportunity. So if you have your back turned or you don't pay attention they will see the opportunity to take. No one will ever aggress you. They will not come with a knife and say give me your money.  But if you're looking over there, they will open your bag."  His advice was to never leave our bikes outside even  locked up, "take them inside" he said.
As we walked around Barcelona throughout the rest of the day, I did take note of the style in which people's bikes were secured, typically with at least three locks.  Anything not locked up was taken, if you didn't lock your saddle to your frame people would "take the opportunity" to have a free bike saddle; and why not have a wheel while your at it?

This fixie had the most stylish solution of all the bikes I saw locked up that day.

Here's some more shots from Barcelona.

DIY Bike wheel wagon.

Crazy sculpture

"Free Tibet" rally

Barcelona was nice, but far too hot and bussy for my taste. After one full day in the city we both had enough. Time to get back on our bikes and into nature. That night we booked our tickets North to Bilbao.

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