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

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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Rain gets real (Cuena to Loja)

I thought I knew mud and rain, but my ride from Cuenca down to Loja was a revelation as to how bad these elements could be. I read a rough outline of part of this route which is accompanied by some great photos.
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Railway to Cuenca (El Tambo to Cuenca)

The old railway
After the inca trail we went onto the old railway (Sibambe to Cuenca) in El Tambo. It was a very diverse trail from dirt roads and single track to mud and even some swampy sections (all mostly well graded). About 10k before Biblian we merged onto another dirt road for 6k to avoid a very muddy section which we would’ve had to walk. Then we were back on the panamerican highway. As it was just after noon we decided to stay on it to make it to Cuenca that day.

Route info: view/download GPX track here

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What a stunner – Ecuador’s Inca Trail

Gina found a trail on Google earth and only a few weeks ago we realized that it was part of the Inca Trail. Despite it being considered a hiking trail and us still being in the tail end of rainy season, it sounded like just the adventure to kick our ass back into shape after a two week cycling hiatus. I remembered an old blog post I had read by Joe Cruz who had done it on a fatbike a few years ago, knowing it was possible made it easy to dismiss the nay-saying locals.
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Excursion: my time on an Ecuadorian ranch

Taking a break from cycling I found a ranch to work at for a week, Rancho Emilio’s. Their main work is the production of cheese, mozzarella, and yoghurt drinks. They also have horses they sell and use for work, as well as sheep, alpacas, donkeys, dogs, cats, pigs, and chickens. Continue reading

Elevation woes (Salinas to Alausi)

After a rest day in Salinas, eating lots of chocolate, cheese and jam, we continued on a dirt road out of town. After initially lots of mud and some steeper parts the path flattened a little and followed a river upstream. We then joined back onto a gravel road that continued to the main highway near Pachanco. From there we had the option to take the legendary route between Chimborazo and Carihuarazo, but we had been dealing with some elevation issues and extremely dry rear hubs,
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Roads where the mud never dries (Cotopaxi to Salinas)

Our ride from Cotopaxi took us into Lactancunga for a much needed restock. I kept buying fruit and veggies in bulk as they were so cheap, and in turn this required me to carry our backpack loaded up with 20lbs (or $1) of goods! We had seen some small roads on our maps which would carry us west of Saquisili all the way to Quilotoa. Following the Panamerican up north 5km or so, we turned off towards Saqusili and a world of adventure. Basically, our map had roads, but none of them seemed to correspond with the actually existing ones.
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