Helge (Germany)
riding from Salta, Argentina to Cusco, Peru via Bolivia, then back to Salta via Arica, Chile
helge-1024Nearing the end of a two-and-a-half-month loop ride that’s taken in some tough stretches of Bolivia and Peru, Helge admitted that he was pretty tired. He’d just got off a bus from Tacna in Peru to Arica in Chile, bored of the repetitive desert landscapes and headwinds that defined his last few days on the Panamericana. He had eight days to get back to Salta for his flight home; after taking another bus on Monday, he was planning to cycle from Calama over the Paso de Jama. Riding a 20-year-old GT Timberline with lots of luggage (‘Too many clothes!’ he chuckled, shaking his head), he’s a Bavarian first and a German second: the front of his shirt reads ‘Griaß di!‘ (essentially, the Bavarian for ‘Hello!’), while the back says ‘Pfiat di!‘ (‘Goodbye!’).
Arica, XV, Chile
16 February 2014



Roman (USA, probably)
riding north from Chile to Peru, we think
roman-1024The mysterious Roman rolled into our Arica hostel looking exhausted after dropping from the dizzy heights of Lago Chungará (4,520m) to the coastal town of Arica over the course of two headwind-dominated days. He then vanished before we had a chance to find out where he’d come from, where he was going (the hostel owner thought he was heading north to Peru) and where he called home, and before we’d taken his picture. So here’s his bike, a Specialized Rockhopper Sport from (we think) the early 1990s, originally sold by Ray’s Cycle in the northern California town of Vacaville (and a close relation of Ruth’s cherished 1991 Specialized Stumpjumper, which she rode through parts of South America more than 20 years ago).
Arica, XV, Chile
14 February 2014



Naoto (Japan/USA)
riding from Culver City, USA to Ushuaia, Argentina
naoto-1024Originally from Japan but a US resident for 30 years, Naoto set off from his Los Angeles home four and a half months before we bumped into him on the streets of Arica. He’s been proceeding south at a cracking pace, covering (we guess) about 12,000km en route to Ushuaia; as he said with a smile, he’s got a job and a family to which he needs to return. He’d just left Peru and we were about to leave Chile, so we swapped maps and tips for the roads ahead. He’s riding a custom steel-framed tourer made by Alps, a legendary but now-defunct Tokyo builder whose bikes were favoured by many Japanese cicloturistas; Naoto has met three such riders in the US during the last 30 years. He’s toting a moderate amount of luggage packed into four canvas panniers (the Alps logos have long since faded), a bar bag and a rack pack, but with one important extra: a broomhandle, which serves highly effective double duty as a bike stand and a dog deterrent. We liked him enormously and hope to remake his acquaintance when we get to LA. You can see photos from his trip, and from what looks like an epic earlier ride he took through Europe, at his Google+ page.
Arica, XV, Chile
13 February 2014