Bike Riding in San Miguel de Allende

As a roadie looking for road cycling options while in Mexico, I kept coming up short when looking what was out my front door in San Miguel de Allende.

From everyone I spoke with and what I’ve seen, road biking only happens on highways – some of which are designated as bike highways – and mostly only ever in groups for safety.

Trucks tend to drive half way in the shoulder so cars can pass them halfway over the center line. This means the already cruddy shoulder you might mistake for a bike lane will be shared with trucks.

Even in checking Strava segments and routes, there simply isn’t anything for road cycling in the city.

“Why?!” you may wonder? Well. San Miguel is mostly all cobblestone roads and hills and is a rough ride even by car. Anyone riding in town is typically on a mountain, gravel, or fat bike, and even then is typically heading out of town vs around town.

That being said, outside of town there are some good segments, and there’s even a local road race every year.

Bike Rentals and Tours in San Miguel de Allende

If you’re just here a short while or didn’t bring a bike, heading out on an organized bike tour in town is a great option.

Beto (Alberto) of Bici Burro runs a number of great local bike tours that include transportation from his local shop to various trail heads, mountain bikes, helmets, gloves, water, and wonderful local history.

Mountain bike riding out of San Miguel de Allende from La Gruta and into the desert.

His father open Bici Burro as the first bicycle shop in San Miguel and Beto was literally born behind the bike shop.

Of course if you’re looking to buy a bike, need a great mechanic, or just want to pickup parts, his shop has every you need for that, too.

I’ve enjoyed heading out with Beto on a few rides and have met some other like minded cyclists visiting or relocating to SMA.

Bike Riding Routes Near San Miguel de Allende

If you have your bike and a car, there are actually some pretty great options near SMA.

Querétaro – the biggest city just southeast of San Miguel – has a ton of great cycling.

South of SMA is an incredible volcano – Cerro El Picacho – with a few great climbing options.

Riding down to and through Comonfort is another common route.

Running in San Miguel de Allende

Before coming down to San Miguel de Allende, I poured over local Strava segments, looked for local running stores, and tried to find local run groups, all to no avail.

The best information I could find was “some people run in Parque Juarez because it’s flatish” and “there’s a nice track a few miles outside of town.”

I was nervous about running on cobblestone hills, but quickly discovered that it’s not as bad as it sounds and, for early morning runs, the streets and sidewalks are pretty empty.

There are a fair amount of other runners out in the mornings before 9am (San Miguel is a sleepy town where nothing is really open until after 9 anyway. Even coffee shops don’t really open until – get this – 8:30 or later!)

One of my favorite segments is the stairs of Callejeron del Chorro that go up from Parque Juarez to Salida Real a Querétaro. On Strava there is even a segment up the stairs called Jesus Nazareno Climb!

The stairs of Callejeron del Chorro in San Miguel de Allende.

My first time exploring that area I ran down those steps and all the other runners were going up. Now I only run up it. Heading north on Salida Real a Querétaro, you’ll even come to a gorgeous city overlook vista.

Views of San Miguel de Allende from running along Salida Real a Querétaro

Heading west from Centro, you can climb Correo / Santo Domingo all the way to the Botanical Gardens, Charco del Ingenio. It’s a great climb and a good Strava segment aptly named Sto Domingo Climb is at the base.

The best time of day to run in SMA still seems to be the morning – especially in summer when it’s often rainy in the afternoon. Cobblestones on hills in the rain are NOT good for running.

Running Groups in San Miguel de Allende

When looking for local SMA running groups, I tried Meetup, Trip Advisor, and even asking locals, but it doesn’t seem like there are many organized groups that go out.

All the runners I saw out and about seemed to be solo.

Yukon River by Canoe: Route, Outfitters, Planning, Logistics, and More!

We just returned from an incredible 8 days and 304km on the Yukon River leaving out of Whitehorse and finishing up in Carmacks.

It was an incredible journey through the Yukon that included wildlife, sunsets after 10pm, Northern Lights, sinking a canoe in whitecaps, exploring marooned riverboats, discovering abandoned woodcutting camps, finding old gold dredger parts, and amazing food. Continue reading “Yukon River by Canoe: Route, Outfitters, Planning, Logistics, and More!”

Hiking Volcan Cerro de Oro, Lake Atitlan, Guatamala

On the northern foot of Volcán Tolimán is a lesser climbed lava dome, Cerro de Oro (“Hill of Gold”). The hike and summit provide gorgeous views of Lago Atitlan, Volcán Tolimán, Volcán San Pedro, and Volcán Atitlán.

And… we discovered a Mayan ceremonial site along the way, and some ancient Mayan stone statues at the summit.

The most popular volcano to climb is San Pedro, but that requires a good 5am departure and a full day to climb. Atitlan and Toliman are even more difficult to get to, require more logistics, and take a full day plus to climb. Continue reading “Hiking Volcan Cerro de Oro, Lake Atitlan, Guatamala”

Hiking Camelback in Phoenix

Summit of Camelback at InfusionCon 2011
Summit of Camelback at InfusionCon 2011

Last year at InfusionCon, Jon Goldman asked if I wanted to climb Camelback the next morning in time to catch the sun rise from the head.

I blurted out YES before he could finish giving me the details and the next morning we found ourselves heading out of the resort around 5am.

This year at InfusionCon, a group of us planned a Sunset climb up to the hump of the camel and got together quite a group for what proved to be a challenging, fun and gorgeous ascent. Continue reading “Hiking Camelback in Phoenix”

Disney’s Secret Vegan Friendly Menu

Vegan Popcorn in Disney
Jeremy Shapiro Enjoying Vegan Popcorn in Disney World's Magic Kingdom!

Disneyland and Disney World have tons of food to keep the whole family happy, but I recently discovered they also have food to keep us vegan folk fat, happy, fed and loving Disney.

What follows are far from healthy options, but they are vegan options. On second thought, Disney doesn’t have much for healthy food, no matter what you eat.

Any place that serves food also has a small binder with all ingredients, allergen warnings and more. Even the popcorn cart has a binder and YES the popcorn IS vegan! (win!) Continue reading “Disney’s Secret Vegan Friendly Menu”

Oktoberfest 2010 – The Best Birthday Layover Ever

Enjoying a Beer at Oktoberfest 2010
Enjoying a Beer at the 200th Annual Oktoberfest

6 years ago for my birthday, Emily and I visited our good friend Charles in München for Oktoberfest. It was a ton of fun with beer to be had, arms to be linked and songs to be sung.

This year, en route to my birthday trip to Italy, we planned our layover to be in München, where we once again met up with Charles.

After meeting us at baggage claim with a Lebkuchen for Emily and a Glückskäfer with chocolate for me, Charles informed us that there was a 40 minute express train to Oktoberfest from the airport and we’d have just enough time to leave the airport, enjoy a beer or two and get back in time for our flight to Pisa. Continue reading “Oktoberfest 2010 – The Best Birthday Layover Ever”

Festa dell’Uva in Impruneta: The Annual Grape Festival

Float with a huge bottle of Chainti
A gigantic bottle of Chianti on a float

Every year since 1926, Impruneta, a small town in the heart of the Chianti area of Tuscany, has it’s annual “Festa dell’Uva” or “Grape Festival” which I can only think to compare to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Before our trip, I poked around online to find out about any events that would be going on during our visit and found a random site that listed the festival, which from the looks of it seemed like just a fun thing to do on a Sunday. I envisioned something like an Italian farmer’s market, with perhaps a heavy focus on grapes. Boy was I in for a surprise…

As we followed a rural side road off of already rural SR 222, we noticed that the sides of the narrow back country twisty road were starting to fill with parked cars. There were no signs for any event, or any indication of what was up ahead.

After we found parking, scaled a grassy hill and took a foot path into town, we hopped a fence and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the event. Continue reading “Festa dell’Uva in Impruneta: The Annual Grape Festival”

NavDroyd for Android Review

Driving Directions on NavDroyd

After reviewing a bunch of options for “offline” GPS use on my Android phone, I settled on NavDroyd, a paid, albeit powerful looking application that didn’t need to be online for anything.

Using just the built-in GPS and offline Open Street Map data that you download and update from their servers for free from within the app, you can do all the normal GPS functions like look for points of interest, get driving directions, have it read out turn by turn directions while showing you on the map, etc…

There wasn’t a good way to test how it would work in Italy, so I downloaded all the maps and data for Italy (under 100MB in their compressed form), played around, simulated drives, and got comfortable with the interface.

Continue reading “NavDroyd for Android Review”

Offline Maps for Android

Offline Maps and Navigation for Android
Offline Navigation with NavDroyd

After August’s 2 week trip to Africa and not having net access with my Incredible (running Android), I wanted to find a solution that let me pull maps and have them cached offline. With my upcoming trip to Italy, now seems like a good time to test a solution.

There are a ton of paid options, but I’m looking for a free offline map option. The best one so far seems to be MyDroid which is currently downloading maps onto my phone.

At first glance, the maps seem great, but there’s no search or routing options available. Seems good for finding yourself on a map and navigating the old school way, but not much more.

MyDroyd is their companion product that does some routing, but is limited to certain published cities. Boo.

NavDroyd, another companion product that is currently €4.99, that seems to offer turn-by-turn, offline, driving and walking directions. This might be the win.

Oddly, the apps don’t share the same map data, so you have to store multiple copies of maps for apps from the same company – and the map files are BIG! (Italy is 68MB alone)

After I return from Italy, I’ll post on how it all worked out. In the mean time, any suggestions for alternate apps?