Chile
South America redux

South America redux

click here for a larger version of the map Continents 1 Countries 9 Nights 408 Days of cycling 186 Distance 15,297.62km Climb 148,577m 100km days 49 Punctures 23 Broken spokes 4 Chains 5 Touring cyclists encountered 66 Passport stamps accumulated 56 Bottles of sunscreen used 8 Socks lost 3 Headphones broken 5 Hospitals & medical...
The opposite of dancing

The opposite of dancing

Like most people who pass through, I took some dance classes in the Colombian city of Cali (tourist tagline: World Capital of Salsa). They were held at sunset in the attic studio of the pool house at our hostel, orange light flickering through mango leaves to finger the towers of downtown below. (Somehow, I fancied...
Month 8

Month 8

10 February – 9 March 2014 Countries Chile & Peru (total 7) Distance 765.64km (total 8,897.16km) Climb 9,092m (total 63,935m) Longest day 129.45km, Huara to Cuya in Chile (longest so far: 160.11km) Top speed 61.3kmh (fastest so far: 62kmh) Punctures Amazingly, none (total 16; Will leads 11-5) Dog bites 1 (and we hope this is...
Snaps - February 2014

Snaps – February 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words. In our case, some of those words are ‘Over-exposed’, ‘Badly framed’, ‘Not even Photoshop can salvage this one’, ‘Take some photography classes’ and ‘Get a better camera’. Regardless, we’ll plough on with this month’s selection of holiday snaps. For past months, click here.     The Chilean city...
In the Atacama Desert

In the Atacama Desert

Of course, we’d seen a map before setting out, and we understood that the superlative springs from the area’s lack of rain rather than its natural setting. Still, we were unexpectedly startled to find that for a few hundred kilometres of our ride north through the world’s driest desert, we were overlooking the world’s largest...
¿Para beber?

¿Para beber?

Following yesterday’s post on what we’ve been eating on the road, here’s a selective A-Z of what we’ve been drinking in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.     Agua Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay Of course.     Aguas saborizadas Argentina Literally, ‘flavoured waters‘, although that rather stingey term doesn’t do them justice. Numerous brands sought...
¿Para comer?

¿Para comer?

Breakfast: two plain scones with butter and dulce de leche; Nescafé Snacks: halva bar; banana Lunch: three beef empanadas; grapefruit squash Snacks: ice cream; walnuts Dinner: steak with chips (Will) or salad (Ruth), or pasta with indeterminate sauce; small beer The nutrition pages of cycling magazines turn food into chemical formulae, with capital-p Performance as the desired...
Month 7

Month 7

10 January – 9 February 2014 Countries Argentina, Bolivia (on foot) & Chile (total 6) Distance 1,565.9km (total 8,131.52km) Climb 14,168m (total 54,843m) Longest day 160.11km, La Quiaca to Humahuaca in Argentina (our first 100-mile day on this trip, though it took a couple of unnecessary spins around the block at the Humahuaca end to...
Snaps - January 2014

Snaps – January 2014

Another month’s worth of photographs that didn’t seem to fit elsewhere in our scattershot narrative. For past months, click here.     Linking Cafayate and Salta, RN68 runs through the Quebrada de las Conchas, and its southern stretch makes for a spectacular ride. Various pull-ins direct tourists to features that are both impressive and (more...
4,836, or, Cycling over the Andes via the Paso de Jama

4,836, or, Cycling over the Andes via the Paso de Jama

In any bike tour of South America, the Andes loom large. Every rider needs to decide whether to cross the cordillera; and, if so, where, when, how and how often. Some riders choose to avoid the issue, sticking on one side or crossing by bus. Others stay within the mountains as much as possible. Most...
Scenes in America Deserta

Scenes in America Deserta

The vineyards, tobacco fields and smallholdings that flourish in the lee of the Andes from Mendoza north to the Bolivian border are anomalies. Most draw their water from glacier melt and mountain streams, some funnelled into channels originally excavated by the Incas, at the southern extreme of their domain. The sound of these fast-flowing culverts,...
Sparrows, snails and the dizzy heights

Sparrows, snails and the dizzy heights

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in every major city around the world, you’re never more than three wrong turns from encountering a troupe of brightly clothed street musicians playing ‘El Cóndor Pasa‘ on the pan-pipes. This is as much a hazard in Chicago as it is in Covent Garden, as problematic in Paris...