Bike tourists depart for tongue-in-cheek Doomsday trip

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Here are some of the bicycling tourists as they begin their trip.

Despite gray skies, cool weather and a light drizzle, 24 riders rose Saturday morning prepared to make a journey across Central America by bicycle to view the Mayan territories before the predicted Doomsday.

The Doomsday Ride 2012 is organized by Tour d’Afrique and lasts 35 days. It began in San Jose’s Barrio Aranjuez and will continue through the mountains of Costa Rica with sights such as Volcán Arenal.

Next riders will go across to the coast and into Nicaragua where they will ride through San Juan del Sur and Granada. From Nicaragua the tour route goes into Honduras and Guatemala where participants will view the Mayan ruins of Tikal and Copan.

Finally the tourists will stop at the Lamani Temple in Belize Dec. 21.

“We will ride our bikes there and wait for the world to end,” joked Cristiano Werneck, one of the tour organizers.

Werneck has been with Tour d’Afrique, since 2009 when he joined a tour as a translator in Brazil, his home country.

The company is Toronto-based and began in 2003 with a tour that crossed the entire African continent in four months. The name is a play on the famous Tour de France bicycle race.

The tour company has since added many tours across other continents, and decided to make the first Central American trek. Cyclists on the tour have many levels ranging from first time to Africa alumni.

Canadian David Jones did a bicycle tour 30 years ago. Based on his knowledge of the company he said he decided to partake in this tour.

“I know nothing about Central America. I’m looking forward to experiencing it from the seat of my bicycle going nice and slow,” Jones said.
Another Canadian, Joey Zajac, is participating in her first tour.

“I love riding my bike and I always wanted to come here. Put them together, and here I am,” said Ms. Zajac. “And there’s no snow here, too, so that’s a bonus.”

The riders said that unlike regular tours, you can actively participate in the journey when you do it by bike.

“You can smell everything, hear everything and meet the people,” Jones said.

Doomsday riders also had the option of completing just one section of the tour. By the time the ride is over, 32 riders will have taken a part in the journey.

Kiernam Coo from Toronto decided to bike from San José to Grenada for vacation.

“I’m not really into the competition, just want to see the scenery,” he said.

The group all begins each day at the same time, but riders end up spread out due to their different bicycling abilities. In the end, persons will win awards for traveling the entire route without taking a ride in the vans and for finishing with the fastest times.

The added bonus this year is the race will finish in the same place where the Mayans created the calendar.

“If the world ends, I’ll be the first to know,” Jones said.

For most, the Doomsday spin on the ride is good natured fun and they just want to enjoy the time with the different communities and nature.

“What a better way to spend the last five weeks of your life,” said Werneck.

New agers, a film “2012” and television shows have stoked the belief in some catastrophe that is linked to the end of the current segment of the circular Mayan calendar. Scientists and even the Mayans living today do not share this belief.

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