Pirapora do Bom Jesus

This was a ride I did some time ago but sticks in my memory as a classic. I came up with the idea in my usual way of randomly trawling SP and surrounds with satellite view. I had also wanted to visit the historic town of Pirapora do Bom Jesus for some time so when I spotted a bunch of unsealed back roads heading there from the east I concocted a plan to try them out.

On the train platform ready to go. Rain coat in the bottle cage and some dry clothes strapped to the rack which was still on the bike from my recent Fortaleza to Natal trip.

I think this was the first time I decided to use SP trains to facilitate an adventure and so it was I found myself on a Sunday morning in a surprisingly old and run down train carriage on my way to Francisco Morato in the north of SP.

I was a bit shocked to see just how poor looking Francisco Morato was so I did my best just to put my head down and ride out of there as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this wasn’t very fast as it involved a killer climb straight away plus, I got myself a bit lost. I was attracting a few stares from the locals so I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable and practically burnt myself out climbing out of there. Finally I summited and hit the open road at a more relaxed pace.

The first part of the ride involved fairly nice asphalt roads through industrial areas. I passed beneath both Bandeirantes and Anhanguera, the two highways that connect SP to the north, and eventually came to the large forested area that lay between me and Pirapora do Bom Jesus. Before long I was amongst it, still on nice asphalt but away from traffic. I was startled by a small deer suddenly crossing in front of me. I’d had no idea that Brazil even had deer but there it was. Wait, don’t I live in São Paulo, the biggest megapolis in South America? I do these rides for these moments…

The going was very hilly and it wasn’t long before I was pushing my bike up an incline on which I couldn’t turn the pedals in my lowest gear. I know; the shame! But inclines usually yield declines and soon I was hurtling down an absolute cracker on perfect asphalt at 70km/h plus! At the top of another shameful push there suddenly appeared a small shop and so I was able to enjoy a cold beer and a sit in the shade.

At the shop. Cooked chicken for sale on the right in what the Brazilians brilliantly call a “Dog TV”.

Next up I found the turn off to the dirt road that would take me to Pirapora skirting the Tietê reservoir.

The road was in good shape and I was really enjoying myself until a group of trail bike riders tore past me in the opposite direction with one of them, seemingly deliberately, ripping through a puddle near me and showering me in mud. Cheers guys!

It was a beautiful ride along the water and before long I was at the beginning of the decent into Pirapora. The surface was uber rough and I found myself standing on the pedals and riding the brakes as I inched my way down.

Descending into Pirapora do Bom Jesus.

At the bottom of the decent I could see the point at which the waters of the reservoir are released back into the Tietê river with such force that it creates swathes of white foam.

Once in Pirapora I had a bit of a ride around checking out the beautiful old architecture before stopping for some lunch. The place seemed full of tourists from SP as you might expect on a Sunday.

Pirapora do Bom Jesus.

Now to head home. I planned to head south to SP to catch a train home from Barueri so I set off feeling a bit weary from the mornings efforts and the large lunch. Of course, Murphy’s Law dictates that when feeling this way there will be plenty of hills waiting for you; and so there were…

The scenery wasn’t as nice as the morning’s and it was quite a struggle to finish the day off.

São Paulo? That way!

The most memorable part of the ride was when I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. I’d really had no idea that I lived that close to it so I stopped to take a classic ‘cycle touring’ shot to make me feel as though I had crossed some defining point on the globe as part of some epic adventure.

I finally arrived at Barueri station muddy and exhausted but thoroughly satisfied with the days adventure. It’s a ride I highly recommend and I’ll certainly be doing it again. Maybe in reverse…

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