Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm Still Here

It's been some time since I posted and I haven't been doing a lot of riding. I have driven the La Fortuna route to preview the ride. I was also out doing a slightly longer loop from home when I had one of my shift levers fall apart.

I could use that, the weather, the holidays, or any number of other excuses for not riding more. The truth is that I've been lazy. Today, I finally got on the bike and decided to post this short route just to show that I still have good intentions. This ride is short, but has 2800 ft of climbing. Most of the climbing is between Zarcero and Palmira and it's very scenic.

This is my latest bike. It's a steel Novara Randonee touring bike that I picked up in California in October. I'm still deciding how satisfied I am with this bike. I had problems with the shift lever for the rear derailleur and had it fall apart again recently. REI is sending me a new set, but I have it together well enough to ride.

This is the view from in front of our house. This ride starts at the school in La Palmita. Head south down to the highway and turn right to Zarcero.

Here's some of the famous topiary in the park.

The church has recently been restored and the inside is well worth a visit. Turn right just past the church and start climbing.

The road is narrow, but the traffic is light and slow,

It started raining when I was about half-way to Palmira. The rules clearly state that when it the rainfall is not hard enough to put out your cigarette, you must continue.

Main street. Palmira at rush hour. Turn around here. If you have been thinking of continuing on to see the waterfall  that is in Bajo del Toro, be advised that there are 10 Km of very steep, narrow, mostly unpaved roads ahead of you.

You have earned a great downhill run back to Zarcero.

Turn left at the park. You may want to get a coffee and spend some time in the park before continuing back to La Palmita. You can get coffee just about anywhere, but Osman's Market across from the park also has expresso drinks.

Here's a link to the map, route slip, and elevation profile.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


My First Post. La Palmita - San Ramon Loop

Well, here it goes. I'm joining the ranks of bloggers, something I never saw myself doing. I'm still figuring out how to format and use it but, it's time to get started with the posts.

My intention is identify and document bicycle routes in Costa Rica and create a searchable database of them. To do so, I will be using I have used this site in the U.S, and it's a great way to share bike routes. All of my route names will have the prefix of "OKG" for Old Krank Gringo, so the full list can be accessed with an advanced search of bikely.

Anyone who lives or travels in Costa Rica knows that addresses and directions here are a challenge. Many maps lack details of the smaller roads that are less traveled and therefore more suited to bicycles. You also don't find many signs that identify the route number that you find on a map. Directions are often given as, "Turn right 200 meters past where the big tree used to be (except in Spanish)." All the locals understand, but it doesn't help us much.

I'll add a narrative here along with photos and landmarks to help along the way. I'll try to pick landmarks that will be around for a while. You will have to exercise your own judgment regarding the safety and difficulty of each route.

 La Palmita - San Ramon Loop

I have done this loop 3 or 4 times and it's very scenic and mostly low traffic. It's not very long, but it requires 4400 ft of climbing. Because of that I frequently just ride an out and back ride of the last 15 miles of this route. If you like to climb, this is good one for you.

The ride starts in La Palmita because that is where we live. There is safe free parking near the school. All of the route is paved and is in reasonably good condition.

Start by heading south down to the main highway.

Turn left onto HWY 35. You won't find any sign here. You will be going mostly downhill, with a few short climbs. This is presently a main route from Naranjo to San Carlos. So expect auto, moto, truck, and bus traffic. Sunday mornings have less commercial traffic. The many curves in the road help to slow the vehicles.

Pass El Mirador restaurant and take the first right you find. There is a bus stop at the intersection. You will see this sign after the turn.

You will now be on a very low traffic road. The next part of the ride runs along a ridge with great views on each side and then starts a rapid descent.  It's very difficult to do justice to the panoramic views with a photo, but here are some landmarks along the route.

Turn left at this Tee in the road.

The first serious climb starts after this bridge. It's steep but not too long.

This is on your right just before your next turn.

Turn right at the bar. There will be a little more traffic here, but it's not too bad. It's also mostly slow moving.

Now it's time to pay for all of the great downhill riding. The next section of the road will be mostly climbing. It starts will some rolling hills and gets more serious after you pass through Volio. After a narrow bridge, there is a 1.5 Km steep climb followed by some more rolling hills. Then more climbing as you pass San Antonio and enter Barranca. A short stretch of flat road leads to the final climb on this road.

The road ends in a Tee, where you turn left.

Almost done!

Turn right and return to the school. You did it!