With my hair growing endlessly as kilometres go by, I get out of Bolivia and enter Chile at the end of October 2013. If some of my friends were telling me “Already in Chile! You’re almost done! Only two countries left!”, I was receiving the encouragement while clarifying. We forget that Chile, with an atypical geographical form of a thin land layer stuck between the Pacific and the Andes of 180 kilometres in average (going between 90 y 400 kilometres), stretches for almost 4.300 kilometres from North to South. With it’s neighbour, the country shares the third longest border of the world (after Canada/USA and Russia/Kazakhstan). Argentina, quite wider, is the eighth biggest country of the world. Through both countries, I cycled 7,625 kilometres, which represents almost a quarter of all what I did through the Americas!
If on one side, I was looking at weirdly through well shaved men, on the other side, I was integrated more easily with my long hair and my beard, where everything is more relax (on which point Chilean don’t hesitate to point out the laziness of their neighbours). Unfortunately, Continue reading
I biked there only four days, but I spent almost three weeks in Bolivia. Visit made me take vacation from the bicycle for about 15 days, right at the good time after finishing Peru. I could visit La Paz and its surroundings, rest and get ready for what’s ahead.
I haven’t cross a lot of Bolivia, staying mainly around the capital, in the northwest corner of the country, beside the Altiplano. Evo Morales, the socialist president in power since 2006, renamed the country on its long version of Plurinational State of Bolivia (Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia) in the new 2009 Constitution. Elected after a strong popular movement in 2003 where he build up some political capital, Morales says no to United States’ imperialism and what to give back a voice to Bolivia’s different ethnic groups. I’ve seen only a tiny part of those many faces coloring the country.
I spent more than two months in Peru, almost as much as in Mexico, United State or Canada. I haven’t take the straight line though to cross the country. While I was thinking wandering in the mountains from North to South on Ruta 3, I finally diverged to a high pass, then down the coast, to go back in the mountains.
If mountains are slowing things down, illness as well. From intestinal problems that seems to be the norm to cyclotourist met on the road, I went all the way to anemia.
Peru is extremes, from laugh to tears, from amazement to disgust, from sweat to shivers, from genuine encounters to the ones you want to forget.
To paraphrase a solo cyclotourist which whom I was talking to about our experiences, Continue reading
Three little weeks, two of them sitting on the bicycle, were necessary to cross the little Ecuadorian Republic influenced by Chavez’ 21st century socialism. In so little time, I crossed 8 times the Great Continental Divide, without doing too much detours: the PanAmerican go straight in the Sierra, going around volcanoes. The highest snowy peaks were hidden behind clouds, as I haven’t been lucky for the weather.
Letters and numbers
From July 7th to 28th 2013
22 days, 15 of them on the bicycle
Rainy days: 17
1,203 km, overall total: 18,950 km
8 crossings of the Great Continental Divide
2 flat tires
80.23 km per bike day in average (54.70 par total day)
Average speed of 13.1 km/h
Largest day: 116 km
Shortest day: 43 km
Fastest day: 17,1 km/h
Slowest day: 8.0 km/h
Maximum speed: 86.9 km/h
Where to sleep?
I slept only once in commercial lodging, so I won’t be able to talk about price and quality. If Ecuadorians are less hyper socials and a little bit more discreet than Colombians, they will nonetheless help you out if they can. Continue reading
Colombia attracts you by the diversity of its geography, gastronomy and people. Moreover, competition cycling is largely practiced, meeting cyclists almost everyday on main roads. So people are used to see bicycles, but they are less used to see foreigners on the road though. Apart from a few touristic bubbles, tourism is more or less new since things have calm down since a few years. Faces will easily turn to look at you, people won’t hesitate to greet you, to ask you thousands of questions and even stop their motorcycle on the side of the road to talk to you. The majority of the population isn’t only around the capital, Bogotá. There are many good sized cities along the road. Regions are quite distinct from each other, convincing you to stop often along the way, and after a curve on the road the accent will change, food will have slight differences, and you’ll be told that “here, it’s the best place in the best country”. It’s hard to take off the Colombian proudness from a Colombian.
Letters and numbers
From May 21 to July 6, 2013 Continue reading