Shutting down

I was full of enthusiasm, a few years ago when the idea of this trip began to form. The recent emergence of bikepacking blogs had caught my eye, and I put myself into the shoes of the innovative few who had begun to bikepack South America. Studying and analyzing small lines on google earth, looking for any signs of trails and paths less travelled. Slowly, the hopeful mapped out squiggles turned into real trails beneath our tires. The fruits of labor were becoming real, sometimes working out and other times not. Either way, it was exciting. Bike maintenance mirrored this enthusiasm, and our Pugs were a happy pair of stallions. Smooth bearings, and well adjusted brakes.

Now though, my bike is not as content as it once was. Various squeaks as I turn my cranks, frayed cables, and hubs that are starting to grind. In a way, this apathy towards bike maintenance is a metaphor. Things are coming to their finality. The excitement for this trip has flattened out giving way to a feeling of carelessness. It’s a feeling that I’m all too familiar with, and one which tells me it’s time to move on to something new. The climax of the trip was reached long ago, now I’m turning my pedals to finish what I’ve started.

Less than a dozen cold nights keep me from Ushuaia, yet it feels like much longer. I try and focus on the positives, namely the wonderful people. It’s a solitary life in rural southern Patagonia, but as a shivering wet cyclist I have ample chance to connect with the warm-hearted locals. Their doors are always open, and fires toasty warm.

The infamous “dog which follows every cyclist to Villa O’Higgens”.
No shortage of good water here. Southern Patagonian water is simply delicious.
Riding down to Laguna del Desierto. Considered difficult by many, but for us a real highlight!
Overnight frozen shoes=cold feet. Plastic bags=less cold feet.
Frosty mornings becoming increasingly more common.
In El Chalten, Gina and I hop off our bikes to do some hiking.
Fitzroy in all it’s grandeur.
Waking up at 5:30 to slog up a steep mountain-side. Totally worth it. Also worth bringing the stove for coffee!


Out of Calafate, trying a route discovered by Danny and Tam.
Freezing day time temperatures.
And so much mud that I’m unable to ride.
The saint ain’t happy. Like a coward, I turn back and hit the main road feeling slightly dissapointed.
The Trip Advisor review called it: Quaint and homely. Silver award.
Just doing some upgrades on my bike. It’s all about the genuine vintage look.

8 thoughts on “Shutting down

  1. Wonderful post – you will make it to the end and then home! Time to regroup and prepare for the next phase of your lives but know that many shared this journey with you so thanks!

    • Thanks Jane, the next phase will be interesting. Hopefully every bit as adventurous as this has been!

  2. It has been a brilliant journey even for the people who have just shared it through your posts. Wonderful photography, remarkable endurance and an astonishing achievement. I wish you both all the best and hope you contact me if you are ever back in Scotland

  3. Love the vintage look of your last shot! That stunning sunrise or set with just the mountain top glowing was spectacular too!

  4. We can close our eyes and see the joy on your face when Ushuaia hoves into view. What a wonderful chapter of your lives this Sth American adventure has been. Extraordinary people, extraordinary trip – huge congratulations!
    Warm sunny hugs from Australia, Margy & Lindsay

    • Thanks you guys! It’s good to be here and also to be finished with this chapter. I think it’s a good time to begin a new chapter!

  5. You’re almost done, and when as soon as you get home, you will have months to enjoy and savor all of your pictures and accomplishments. I’m sure a renewed sense of enthusiasm for bikepacking will bubble up again at the right time. By the way, we’re about to follow one of your routes up here from Huaraz down towards Oyon. I’m excited.

    • That’s awesome! That route is special, I hope you guys enjoy it. Wish I was back up in that territory.

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