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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Thirsty (La Paz to Oruro backdoor route)

The night before our departure, I might have had a bit too much to drink. We’d celebrated thanksgiving with some friends in La Paz, and I was a bit overzealous with my wine consumption. Sitting on the saddle, my mind went into autopilot mode as we rode south out of the city. Continue reading

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

Five month rollercoaster (summary of our time in Peru)

It seems like forever ago that we entered Peru. A lot of our, or more specifically Dan’s, time here was marked by illness. I would say that half the time in Peru we did not cycle due to sickness and waiting for new gear. Cycling itself though was fantastic, the amount of dirt roads you can find in the Andes is vast and the views are stunning. The climbs can be insane though, sometimes it’s 2000m up just to go all the way back down and then up again. Continue reading

Backroads and dog bites (Sicuani to Azangaro)

Having taken the highway from Checacupe to Sicuani made us yearn for dirt again. Unfortunately Dan’s over adventurous food exploration landed him with food poisoning and made him unable to continue. After a rest day he still didn’t feel much better so we decided that I would ride the dirt section to Azangaro solo. Unsure as to whether the route fully existed due to some dodgy satellite imagery, I was in for an adventure. Continue reading

Frustrations and solutions

I’ve developed a small list of frustrations travelling off the gringo path into more remote regions. Often you’re treated like an animal to be stared and laughed at. I’ve gotten so frustrated that I’ve started staring right back, or telling people off for being rude. I remember one incident where Gina and I just wanted to cook and eat dinner. We were surrounded by half the town, children and adults alike stared at us from arms length as we ate quietly. Even after I calmly explained that we were exhausted and needed a bit of space, we were only afforded an extra 30cm to breathe. Continue reading

Bikepacking Ausangate (Wowsengate?)

Foul weather was upon us when we departed Tinke. The GPS was taunting us. Ausangate was only a few kilometres away, but the stormy sky prevented even our imagination from forming a view. Slowly we made our way up the foothills passing small communities filled with welcoming smiles. The rain and hail were relentless, and the cold environment summoned up memories of the Ecuadorian paramo. Nevertheless, we pushed forth.
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Snow to sweating (Bikepacking the Salkantay Pass)

The Salkantay trail is offered to trekkers as a more challenging alternative to the classic Inca trail. It was a year before our trip began that I first saw Joe Cruz’s blog about bikepacking the Salkantay route. It obviously stuck in my mind. Feeling a bit lazy, Gina and I were torn as to whether or not to burn straight through to Cusco or give it a go. The nice thing about riding a fatty is that it guilt trips you whenever you try and cop out of a challenge. Boring asphalt is wasted rubber.
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