English: “Bicing and Tennis Players”
Las Chicas bravely signed up for for a Padel y Tenis Meetup in Barcelona. Las Chicas will play tennis for the first time in 6 months. Not Padel. Padel is a sport designed for places with limited real estate and people who enjoy playing with midget rackets on spongy surfaces inside a plexiglass box.
First, Las Chicas must purchase tennis balls. Because they have waited until the time of Saturday afternoon siesta, they cannot purchase at local tennis ski/run/tennis/padel store. Instead, they will take their inaugural trip using the Bicing bike share system to the mall!
The photo below shows Bicing bike share station on a previous rainy day when Las Chicas were without the proper Bicing membership card and app. Note protected bike lane to the left. Note Mary’s subpar cell phone photo.
So, back to the quest for tennis balls, Lisa used her app to find a Bicing station near the closed tennis shop. Success! Only 4 blocks away and 4 bikes are available. There had been none in the two stations closest to our house, Bicing es muy popular! We swipe cards on station post, and go to our assigned bicycles. It’s all downhill to the mall, with a few diversions onto sidewalks when the one-way streets flow against us. Nice bike lane on Diagonal, a major boulevard in Barcelona. We dock our bikes at a new Bicing station, and brave the crowds at the sporting goods store. It is the time for winter rebaixes (rib-eye-shis, aka sales), after all.
Here are the two cards needed to get around Barcelona by bike and mass transit:
After purchasing tennis balls and new racket carrying case (Babolat, the Rafa Nadal brand), Las Chicas bravely head into the mall itself. Mary is drawn in by a vintage motorcycle display from Spanish brand Derbi. It reminds us of our friend Brad and his passion for Ducati bikes.
After one more required stop for Lisa at Desigual, a popular Spanish designer boutique, Las Chicas return to Bicing for the ride home:
The Diagonal bike lane is less friendly with a roller-blading dad crashing into the lane and nearly missing oncoming bikes. Cuidado! (be careful!).
The next day, Las Chicas take the metro to an unfamiliar neighborhood and walk to Club Olimpia for Meetup. This extended family, out on their Sunday stroll, is a common sight on the streets of Barcelona. They are wearing typical winter urban garb in colors of black, gray, slate, and charcoal. In contrast, Las Chicas wear blue, light blue and navy.
The late afternoon has turned gray, but Las Chicas find friendly faces of other Meetupers and begin their Barcelona tenis (not misspelled) adventure. Skills are a bit rusty and the brand new balls seem flat. Is the problem with the balls or surface of the “Green Set Court”? Green Set is perhaps not as hard as good old-fashioned American hard courts. A bit of drizzle and a lot of sirens and “trenta iguales” (30 all) calls from adjoining court could not distract Las Chicas from serious competition and great fun being out on the court again. Mas divertido!
After an hour of tennis, time to pose on the Green Set Court that is actually blue, amid the towering apartment buildings. Lisa wonders if the clay courts (in the background) she dreamed about will actually be part of our Barcelona tennis future. They don’t seem very well kept; the decision to play on clay will wait for a future visit to the club.
After photo op, there’s time for socializing at the small cafeteria/bar at the club with one Oregonian, one Brit, and a bunch of Spaniards.
On the way home Las Chicas locate another Bicing estacio (Catalan for station) and reduce their 10-minute walk to a 3-minute ride back to metro station.
Awesome to be playing tennis again! Thank you City of Barcelona for the convenient Bicing bike share!
© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.