The end of the road

The end of the road

So here we are, quite literally at the end of the road for our cycle tour of South America. Not for the first time, we’re in a seedy, Brazilian hotel sat on a plastic mattress preparing to cook our tomato sauce and pasta supper. We’re one block back from the ferry terminal in Niteroi, the city on the opposite of the bay from Rio de Janeiro. Tomorrow morning we’ll take a boat across the water and then pedal 15km along cycle lanes to the point on Ipanema Beach where we started our adventure 14 months and 12 days ago.

My emotions are all over the place. I’d expected to be excited by the first sight of the city which holds such significance to us, but as we headed towards the coast this afternoon I held my breath at each curved mountain we saw, desperate for there not to be a recognisable monument perched on top. Of course, it finally appeared; a tiny, white figure, arms aloft in the city haze watching over the people below.

It still amazes us that pineapples grow on a bush
It still amazes us that pineapples grow on a bush

The problem is not that I don’t want to be back in Rio, but that I really don’t want this trip to end. Quite simply, I’m still having fun.

Since we left Vitoria ten days ago we’ve been enjoying ourselves just as much as at any other time. The coastline is stunning and we have been making the most of the fact that on the bikes if we pass a beautiful beach we can simply stop.

We’ve been able to stay off major roads and have enjoyed cycle lanes that follow sweeping beaches. Our route has taken us through sugar cane plantations and past rows of pineapples growing on the ground, mother-nature at her most confusing.

With Warmshower host, Jose, in Rio das Ostras
With Warmshower host, Jose, in Rio das Ostras

The people are still friendly, offering us food, drink and even a place to stay in pricey, tourist areas. We continue to meet cyclists out for leisurely rides, on training missions and even cycle tourists exploring Brazil by bike. There are Warmshower hosts to meet and interviews to give to local reporters intrigued by our journey.

There are more adventures to be had and a need to improve our map reading skills. A three hour push along a beach to cover just six kilometres proved that, especially as we ended up further away from the town of Macae than from where we started.

Paddy pushing along the beach
Paddy pushing along the beach

Paddy hasn’t yet learnt which bag the cake is kept in. There are lots of cats out there looking for a minute or two of love whilst we stop for an ice cream and we haven’t yet worked out how to light the firecrackers we bought to scare off chasing dogs.

Yet, our maps have run out.

What to do? Bypassing Rio de Janeiro wouldn’t work, because on the other side we’d find ourselves covering old ground. There’s no other road to take, which means that tonight is the last evening we’ll cook tomato and pasta on our stove and that I’ll hand wash my smelly clothes in the sink to put back on, damp, in the morning.

I suppose there’s a little “hurrah” to be had there, but still it’s hard to accept that this is the end of the road. So maybe I’ll conclude that this is the close of our time in South America and concentrate instead on where to pedal next. If you have any ideas let us know.



7 thoughts on “The end of the road”

  • Hi, first of all well done to both of you. I just found your website two days ago and read only a little but what a great thing you two did. Me and boyfriend are thinking of going to cycle South America next year for three months and we struggle to decide where to go to see the most, as three months is not long enough. I was wondering if you could give some advice. I think that we are thinking of flying to Lima, make our way to La Paz and then possibly taking plane somewhere to Brazil (Salvador?) and then finish by cycling back to Rio de Janeiro. I know you are probably very busy still but if you have a minute please share your thoughts.Also how is cycling in Chile, too much of a wind and remote areas?

    Once again, well done guys!!!

    Romi

    • Hi Romi

      Glad you like the website, we had an amazing time. It’s a big continent, and you’re right that you can’t see it all in 3 months, but you’ll be able to get through a lot. Lima to La Paz is a great section. If you can carry on from La Paz to Bolivia we’d recommend it, it’s one of the most beautiful spots around the Salar de Uyuni.

      If you like beaches the stretch from Salvador to Rio is good, but there are more incredible parts of the continent. However, after a while cycling at altitude you may be ready for that!

      We didn’t go further south in Chile than Santiago and had no real problems with the wind. I think the real strong winds are in the south. The Atacama Desert was stunning, one of our favourite spots.

      Wherever you go you’ll have a great time. SA is a fantastic place and the people are amazing everywhere.

      If you have any more questions please feel free to drop us an email. Good luck for the planning of your trip.

      Laura

  • I’ve been following along for most of your adventure. To say that it has been inspirational would be an understatement! Thanks for all of the updates, maps, and the high-resolution photos, and thank you especially for sharing so much of your lives. I’ll be re-reading your posts for as long as I dream about going on my own bike tour.

    Looking forward to your next trip.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. We’re really glad you like the blog. It may be a bit more focused on cycling in London for a while now, but hopefully we’ll have another longer trip before too long. Where are you dreaming of cycling?

  • Hello, What a trip, and so happy that everything went save. My congratiolations and respect. (I’m Jackie the dutch lady who changed some cash for you in Valencia – Venezuela). My dearest regards.

    • Hi Jackie

      Great to hear from you. Venezuela seems a long way away now. We keep finding dollars in strange places that we obviously hid! Thanks for all your help whilst we were there, it was great to meet you.

      Laura

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