Rancho Pint - The Mexico Page

Around the world on a bicycle

Article ©2014 by J. Pint

Photos by Salva Rodriguez unless otherwise specified

Photo Gallery

Salva Rodriguez in Vladovostok
Salva Rodríguez reaches Vladivostok, Russia in December of 2010. Photo by Salva Rodriguez.

Visitors in Tibet

 Visitors peer into Salva Rodríguez' tent during his bicycle tour of Tibet. Photo by Salva Rodriguez.

Africa by Salva Rodriguez

Salva Rodríguez' first book (160 pages) is about his adventures in Africa and can be purchased by mail anywhere in Mexico.

Salva Rodriguez

He reaches the Cape of Good Hope in April of 2007.  Photo by Salva Rodriguez.

at Estación Bici

After giving a talk at Estación Bici in the Primavera Forest, Guadalajara, Mexico.

Photo by Salva Rodriguez

Salva Rodríguez in the mountains of Huascaran, Peru.  Photo by Salva Rodriguez

Photo by Salva Rodriguez

Salva Rodríguez in the Cardamom Jungle of Cambodia. Photo by Salva Rodriguez


Caves beneath the dunes? Check out our Saudicaves page:







The reflections of Salva Rodríguez

By John Pint

Asia, a book by Salva RodriguezIn the year 2006, Salvador Rodríguez of Granada, Spain, decided to visit the world by bicycle. Since then, he has covered135,150 kilometers on two wheels, fixed 258 flat tires and written two fascinating books on what he has learned. Recently he gave a talk on his adventures at Estación Bici, a popular R&R center for cyclists, located inside western Mexico's Primavera Forest.

“Salva,” as he is widely known, has a background in sports, but the outlook of a philosopher. When I asked him why he is engaged in what might look like a lonely pursuit, he replied, “In Granada, I felt I was the prisoner of the things I had bought, prisoner of the place where I lived. So, I wanted to cut this bond and, for a while, live apart from the world of production and consumption.”

As a result, Rodríguez went off on an 800-day bicycle tour of Africa, covering some 42,000 kilometers. “People I met all over Africa treated me so well that before I got back home I wanted to visit Japan and then I decided I wanted to know all the rest of the world as well. So I started out in Granada to see the world and Granada will be my last destination when I finish my tour. Right now, I'm here in Mexico, stopping for a pause. When winter comes, I'll be off to pedal across Europe.”

Rodríguez says the life of a nomad has opened his eyes. “I wake up in the morning without knowing what is going to happen that day, where I will sleep, who I will meet. Every day I am curious to know what adventure awaits me around the corner, to know different cultures, races, landscapes. I look forward to testing my luck in remote places, tackling life head on, because life is one big gamble, where the more you risk, the more you stand to gain.”

So far, Salva Rodríguez has written two books on his travels, both of them published here in Guadalajara and both in Spanish. The series is titled, La Vuelta al Mundo en Bicicleta, Un Viaje de Cuento (Around the World on a Bicycle, a Storybook Voyage) and you might think the books to be technical manuals or tour guides, but they aren't. Instead, this long-distance pedaler from Granada presents us with a marvelous collection of wonderful anecdotes and deep, refreshing musings on life itself.

To prove that these are books that everyone—including you—will enjoy, I randomly chose two samples and translated them. Read on.

Excerpt from the Japan chapter in “Asia” by Salva Rodríguez:

Kim is a triathlete who competes in swimming, cycling and running. The first three days in his house go by like a dream. His family treats me like a prince. They want me to try everything and they care for my every need. Nevertheless, I'm not Japanese, I don't know how to behave correctly and it's their duty to instruct me, something that doesn't always turn out pleasantly exotic. After three days, guests are demoted to level two.

“Salva-san, did you take a shower this morning?”

“Yes, of course. I was covered with grease after cleaning my bicycle and I had to go downtown.”

“Oh, yes, yes, that's fine. You see, we Japanese are used to bathing at night, to relax before going to bed... just as you have been doing these last days.”

“I can't take a shower any other time?”

“Oh, Salva-san, thank you! I know this is very difficult for you. I'm sorry. Thank you!”

As is customary almost everywhere in Asia, you don't wear shoes inside a Japanese house. You leave them in the entrance hall. That night...

“Salva-san, we don't leave our shoes just anywhere in the entrance hall.”


“It's customary to put them in order, side by side, with the toes pointing toward the door and the heels touching the edge of the entrance step.”

After listening to Japanese rules and customs for a week, I am about ready for a nervous breakdown. I am always asking Kim if I'm doing the right thing and he takes advantage of this at the entrance to a zen garden.

“Oh no, Salva-san, you can't just walk into the garden any old way. It's very disrespectful.”

“What did I do wrong this time, Kimu-san?”

“Before entering, you must clap your hands twice and bow: it's a sacred garden.”

I stand there in silence thinking this country is really going to drive me crazy and I'd be better off taking a boat to China. Then I clap twice, bow my head and walk into the garden, while Kim breaks out into guffaws of laughter.

“Samimasen, forgive me, Salva-san. It was a joke! Oh, how funny, how funny. We Japanese are complicated but not that complicated. It was a joke—sorry for pulling your leg.”

Excerpt from the Ghana chapter in “Africa” by Salva Rodríguez:

The zipper on my tent has been broken for two weeks and I sleep covered up with a mosquito net. This saves me from getting mosquito bites but doesn't keep out creeping and crawling creatures and in Ghana there are plenty of these.

My first visitor is one of those multicolored caterpillars which, if they get on your skin, leave the kind of welt you get from the touch of a jellyfish tentacle. One of these took a late-night stroll from my left leg to my right side, producing what looks like a whiplash. I am just glad it didn't wander over any of my tender parts.

My second visitor is worse.  At midnight I wake up from something tickling my feet. I turn on my flashlight and see an enormous spider, grayish and hairy, which scares the bejesus out of me. My thought processes cease instantly and my instinct takes over, trying to kill the creature with the first thing that comes to hand, which, of course, is my flashlight. The result of this clever stratagem is the utter destruction of my only light, with batteries flying left and right, leaving me and the spider in the absolute darkness of a moonless night.

“Brilliant move, Beanie,” I tell myself. Another great idea is to start feeling around for the batteries in the dark. Finally, I decide to calm down and stay quiet, hoping that the spider is just as scared as I am.

Sleep does not come easy, but drowsiness finally wins out and when daylight comes I discover the poor spider dead on the tent floor. Upon arriving in Kumasi, the first thing I do is look for a seamstress to put in a new zipper. This girl turns out to be very talented—believe me, it's no easy job to sew the door of a tent.

Salva Rodriguez presents his latest book to Susy Pint

Salva Rodríguez' website is unviajedecuento.weebly.com and you can order his books from salva2africa@yahoo.es. 

He will send them by Certified Mail anywhere in Mexico.If you live elsewhere, contact him for instructions.

Salva says an English version of his books will eventually appear. I hope we won't have to wait too long!


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