Cycling
It's only faster if it moves

It’s only faster if it moves

After 391 days and 14,556km on our beloved bicycles, we’ve been delayed mechanically by nothing more complicated or time-consuming than a puncture. After six hours and 140km in a borrowed Volkswagen Polo, the only time on this trip we’ve been behind a steering wheel rather than handlebars, this happened: A broken clutch, a truck-assisted U-turn...
The world's longest climb? - Cycling the Alto de Letras

The world’s longest climb? – Cycling the Alto de Letras

The internet has lent certain cycling routes in South America an iconic quality. Websites such as Cass Gilbert’s joyful While Out Riding, Anna Korschak’s faintly elegaic A Thousand Turns and Neil & Harriet Pike’s encyclopaedic Andes by Bike serve as renegade guidebooks for cyclists in search of the continent’s most breathtaking rides, marrying beautiful photography...
¿Cuidado?

¿Cuidado?

Ask a European to name an event from Colombia’s history, and there’s a good chance they’ll mutter something about the assassination of footballer Andrés Escobar after the national side’s exit from the 1994 World Cup. Although it occurred 20 years ago, the murder of Escobar still goes a long way towards defining Colombia in the...
Month 12

Month 12

10 June – 9 July 2014 Have we really been gone a year? Apparently so. Thank you for reading this far. Countries Ecuador & Colombia (total 9) Distance 1,089.02km (total 13,591.79km) Climb 20,234m (total 126,163m) Longest day 96.49km, Latacunga to Quito in Ecuador (longest so far: 160.11km) Top speed 67.4kmh (fastest so far: 67.4kmh) Punctures...
Boing - Riding the Trampolín de la Muerte

Boing – Riding the Trampolín de la Muerte

A 64km stretch of dirt in north-eastern Bolivia, the Carretera de los Yungas is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Hundreds have died on this treacherous highway, for years the only road linking La Paz with the city of Coroico. Dispiritingly, upwards of a dozen businesses now make lucrative capital from...
In Quito

In Quito

It sometimes surprises us how many of the cycle tourists we meet regard Latin America’s big cities as obstacles to overcome or annoyances to avoid. It shouldn’t, perhaps. Not everybody is as predisposed towards city life as this pair of Londoners; indeed, many riders are drawn to Latin America chiefly for the opportunities it affords...
Crossing the line

Crossing the line

In alphabetical order: Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, the Republic of the Congo, São Tomé & Príncipe, Somalia and Uganda. The Equator runs through the land masses of 11 countries (though not, curiously, Equatorial Guinea). Ecuador, however, is the only one named after it. Several hundred years ago, it...
Month 11

Month 11

10 May – 9 June 2014 Countries Peru & Ecuador (total 8) Distance 1,608.68km (total 12,502.77km) Climb 22,730m (total 105,929m; Will commemorated the 100,000m landmark on a traffic pole using a Sharpie; pictured above) Longest day 138.12km, Chuquicara to Trujillo in Peru (longest so far: 160.11km) Top speed 64.1kmh (fastest so far: 66kmh) Punctures 2...
Straight into the confectionery stall and out again

Straight into the confectionery stall and out again

In ‘Mountains of the Mind‘, an elegant cultural history of our relationship with the world’s tallest peaks, Robert Macfarlane explores a concept that, embodied in a single word, is key to understanding our attitudes to epic summits. The concept, writes Macfarlane, ‘revolutionised both the perception of wild landscapes and contemporary attitudes to fear’. He continues:...
Parish notices, May 2014

Parish notices, May 2014

Throughout this trip, we’ve been tracking our daily distance and elevation gain. Now, we’ve finally got round to posting the data on this site. To put it mildly, it’ll be of scant interest to the majority of our readers, which is to say those of you not currently touring or planning a tour through Latin...
Forks

Forks

From Huaraz, the main gateway town to the astonishing Cordillera Blanca, there are two main ways to reach Loja, the first city of any consequence in southern Ecuador. If you turn right after Yuracmarca, you’ll take a winding mountain route through Cajamarca and historic Chachapoyas before crossing the border on to a badly maintained road...
The ups and downs

The ups and downs

The road north we chose to take from Huancayo after Semana Santa winds its way up to an altitude of 4,150m. It was a bleak peak when we reached it on a windy Tuesday a few weeks ago; most Tuesdays are windy up here, and these are not the sort of winds you’d be glad...