Peru South & Bolivia

Cycling over salt to the end

➡️ 500km
↗️ 3800m

Juliaca -> Copacabana (ROUTE)
Salinas -> Uyuni (ROUTE)

After The Peru Divide, we couldn’t leave the country without visiting the main tourist attraction. Arriving in Cusco, we spent some time sampling the delightful cuisine before taking a 7-hour bus followed by a 3-hour hike along the train tracks to reach Machu Picchu. An iconic site, we were glad to have done it, although the hoards of people crowding the ancient city on the mountain were a shock to our system after months of solitude!

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The Peru Divide

You beautiful beast

June 2019

Huaraz -> Ayacucho (Route)

➡️ 1068km
↗️ 24,690m

Let me explain: The Peru Divide is a route initiated by the Pikes on andescycling.com, attempting to cross the mountains of Central Peru only on small dirt roads, away from the hustle and bustle of the coastal region around the capital of Lima. Since 2013 the route has been refined by many riders to hit the most secluded and prestigious spots and has gained reputation as one of the most beautiful as well as hardest cycling routes in the world. Across roughly 1000km the Peru Divide rarely dips below 4000m altitude, climbing over 5000m peaks fifteen times. With very few exceptions, the road is only gravel at best, with surfaces ranging from fine sand to big slippy rocks. The active mining industry has developed a network of secluded routes through some of the most breathtaking mountain regions. These roads are rarely driven by anybody else and remain an absolute highlight for any keen cyclists who want to treat and torture themselves. Sounds right up our alley…

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Peru – North

Cycling above the clouds

May 2019

Route: Loja (Ecuador)  -> Cajamarca

➡️ 861km
⬆️ 13,650m

We spent our final days in Ecuador winding through the dirt roads of the Amazon region towards a border crossing so small that many Ecuadorians we met did not know of its existence. On our way, we encountered multiple landslides that backed up cars for hours that we could just wiggle our way through. Camping was spectacular, with flat, quiet spots overlooking the mountains we had climbed. One day, we came across the elusive Furry Puss Caterpillar, an adorable fluffy kitten-like beast with poisonous spines who had recently found fame across the US for resembling Donald Trump’s hair.

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Ecuador

Climbing volcanos to reach the closest point to the sun

March/April 2019

🚵🏼‍♂️🚵🏻‍♀️ Pasto (Colombia) – Loja -> Route

Horizontal: 1270km
Vertical: 19000m

After a cold scuba dive in southern Colombia, our eyes were fixed on the Ecuadorian border. We followed the busy Panamerican highway, disrupted by road work here and there. We had one last stop planned before we would leave the country, the famous church Las Lajas. Usually, we are not ones for religious splendour, but we had heard impressive things about this particular building. We weren’t disappointed.

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Galapagos – A side trip

We left the bikes behind to explore these unique islands for two weeks

The Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin, an abundance of endemic wildlife, and a bizarre documentary concerning a toothless dentist, his mistress, a family living in a cave and a pistol-wielding Baroness with two lovers. All in all, an intriguing place that we did not imagine getting a chance to see.

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Colombia – Part 3: Climbing

The final chapter! We are climbing the Andes twice, crossing a desert and make our way to the border of Ecuador

January 2019

🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♀️ Chinchiná – Pasto (1000km) -> Route

Cream! It must have been the cream. There was a lot of it on the dry cake we had eaten the day before. It had to happen at some point, but food poisoning certainly wasn’t the way we had imagined our start into the new year. Early in bed, we luckily recovered enough to cycle out of Chinchiná in the early morning hours on New Years Day.

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Colombia – Part 2: Riding

Colombia strikes back. We cross the northern half of the country.

December 2018

🚴🏻‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️ Santa Marta – Chinchiná (1100km) -> Route

In true Colombian style, our first day back on the road started with our neighbour Richard bringing us fresh coffee, homemade arepas and a map of Colombia on which we marked all of his favourite places. Putting Colombian music on the speakers, we cycled away from our Santa Marta casa. We heard a ‘whoop’ and about 20 cyclists passed us going in the other direction, keeping pace with their support van. They were cycling in one day what we had done in three! Their van did a U-turn and caught up with us, treating us to the professional cyclist lifestyle with cold water and Gatorade! The sugar hit pushed us on and we completed over 100km by noon – a new record!

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Colombia – Part 1: Learning

We rent a flat and become students

November 2018

🚴🏻‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️ Cartagena – Santa Marta (250km)

Arriving into Colombia was an experience like no other! We built our bikes right beside the baggage carousel whilst we waited for our panniers, loaded them up and wheeled our way directly through customs. We cycled out of the airport and were immediately on small back roads with next to no traffic, worlds away from the 8 lane highways we had left behind in the states. As if that wasn’t enough, we soon turned onto a cycle path right next to the beach. We had made the right decision.

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USA – California

From the Redwoods to the Golden Gate

September/October 2018

🚴🏻‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️ California Border – San Francisco (500 Miles)

A small blue sign marked the entrance from Oregon to California, the last state of our Pacific Coast route. Shortly after was a checkpoint. A border control between states? Yes! The import of any fresh produce into California is illegal. For a second we were worried we would be arrested for smuggling kale and other vegetables in our panniers but, as usual, being on bikes didn’t register as a (produce related) threat and the border police waved us by. We were in Cali!

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USA – Washington & Oregon

Yoga in the rain on Otter‘s Lair Lane

September 2018

🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♀️ San Juan – California Border (1300km)

We arrived by boat at what may be the quaintest entry point into the United States – Friday Harbour. A harbour large enough for just one ferry and a small shed, within which the two border guards resided, on the island of San Juan, the largest of the 170 San Juan Islands. Testing the assumption that all small islanders are friendly, even border guards, Lucy ran straight over the border keen to pedal to the campsite before dark. Unfortunately, border guards are still border guards, the smiling face turned to a frown and I was pulled back to the arbitrary line to show my passport.

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