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We ran into a friendly cycling club in Rio, were overtaken by various road-racer types on the hills while leaving the city, and have since seen a fair number of bicycles – cargo bikes, rickety cruisers and the occasional mountain bike – in towns along the way. However, a diversion through the pleasant coastal town of Ubatuba gave us our first immersion into Brazilian bike culture. From about 5km outside the centre of town, the number of bikes on the road suddenly grew from a trickle to a torrent; downtown, the roads were packed with cyclists, often taking advantage of the kind of segregated lanes that the London Cycling Campaign are trying to get introduced to our home town. As the string of unexpectedly high-end bike shops on Rua Thomas Galhardo illustrated to us, cycling is immensely popular here. It’s like Amsterdam with beaches. And sun.

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The smiling chap pictured at the top of this post is Samuel, who works as a mechanic at the excellent Mazza Bike in Ubatuba. Despite a language barrier as wide as the Atlantic, he dropped everything and deftly made a few running repairs to Ruth’s bike. In the unlikely event that you ever find yourself in Ubatuba and are in need of a bike mechanic, look him up.

from Ubatuba, Brazil