Final words from the other half of fatcycling

Like with whatever else you do day in day out, this trip had a bit of everything; excitement, joy and routine, as well as times of boredom, frustration and anger.

Summarising 20.000k…

It’s been almost two years since we landed in Cancún, Mexico, all happy-go-lucky, no clue what was actually awaiting us. Heat and humidity, long days on flat highways, food poisoning, popusas, taking boats across estuaries, camping and cycling on beaches, in churches, firestations and schools, and yacht-ing to bypass the Darian gap (which we probably would’ve tried with our current experience). After taking five months off in Canada to avoid rainy season we headed back to the Andes; dirt roads, insane climbs, elevation sickness, wind, rain, mud, heat, thirst, sickness, teaching at a local school, hike a bikes, deserts and salt flats, illnesses, robberies, sand, corrugations, green forests and lakes, almost drowning in an attempted river crossing, volcanos, blackberries, glaciers and the cold. We had so many experiences, the memories will last for the rest of our lives. Continue reading

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Expenses in South America

Here a summary of our expenses whilst touring, might come handy if you’re trying to figure out a budget. On top of food and accommodation (although we try to camp whenever possible) we had various other expenses (repairs, illness, shipping down gear, etc) – so don’t be fooled and be prepared to spend (a lot) more than you expected.

As a general rule, things get more expensive as you go south, but I think for us food averages also increased because we ate better (more, and in Chile, for example, more variety was available…).
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Bolivia, a quick but tough ride

Our time in Bolivia flew by. In only a month or so we discovered some landscapes east of La Paz that many cyclists dismiss, and continued more ridden routes through Sajama, Coipasa, Uyuni and finally the Lagunas route.

Renowned for its terrible roads, especially the Lagunas route proved a pain on the ass. The landscapes were diverse and the weather extreme (dry, hot sun, cold nights) – although, at the time we cycled, not as bad as we had thought.

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The classic laguna route, only doable coz we have fat bikes (Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile)

The only reason we were able to ride the classic lagunas route was because of our fatbikes. If you don’t own a fatbike you should forget about even trying. In fact, you should probably just stay home and play computer games because you’ll be a lot more successful doing that.

We rode this whole route in half a day from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama. Anyone who says that’s impossible obviously has a shitty regular bike and has never ridden a fatbike.

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Salt n peppa (seriously though, no pepper) – Sabaya to Uyuni

The Salar de Uyuni is probably the most infamous tick on any Bolivian bound cyclists bucket list. It’s such a unique experience that even the most serious of route explorers can’t help but take a break and enjoy the ride. Coipasa is certainly a less popular and quieter salar, but every bit if not more beautiful than its larger sibling. With a smooth surface and relatively little traffic, it’s a perfect piece of tranquility before hitting the more touristy route onto Uyuni.
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Off Track (Or on track) – Oruro to Sabaya

Gina and I were ecstatic about what the “altiplano” promised to bring. In our minds, the most difficult stuff was done with. After all, Peru was renowned for its intense climbs, and Bolivia for its “flat” high plains and salars albeit with rough roads. As we poured over our maps, it almost looked too easy. The ride out of Oruro did nothing to dispell this notion. Flat and straight, beginning with good quality asphalt which gradually deteriorated and began to transform into what I then thought was a “rough” dirt road. I remember making hasty remarks to Gina, speculating that maybe people complained about the road quality in Bolivia because they just hadn’t been forced to ride on dirt roads through other countries. While the dirt road to Curahuara never got all that bad, it was our turnoff going towards Sajama where I realized maybe, after all, I would have to swallow my words and admit I’d been a bit cocky.
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All will be right as rain

It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper update on here with some progress to share. We’ve made the final push towards to the Bolivian border and are now in La Paz.

The recent events have scarred my mind, and unemotionally I’ve been forcing my cranks in circles trying to push myself into a better headspace. It’s a slow process but thankfully time (and camping in my opinion) heals all wounds. Continue reading