Tag Archives: panamerican
04. Feb, 2012

No rest for tired legs: cycling from Bogota to Cucuta

No rest for tired legs: cycling from Bogota to Cucuta

By the time we reached Bogota we’d been on the road for eight months and our legs needed a real rest. Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule to make it to Caracas by mid-February so we needed to push on towards Venezuela. We were hoping for an easy ride, but Colombia’s mountains still had challenges in store. Luckily friendly people and jaw-dropping scenery helped make it a memorable section of the trip for the right reasons.

We’d been looking forward to visiting Bogota and had read about the up-and-coming cultural scene in the old colonial district of La Candelabria. The area had some pretty streets, good daytime eating spots and felt safe to walk around, which couldn’t be said for other areas we wandered into. It was a nice place to be based, but there wasn’t so much to do and with the heavy afternoon downpours we could justify to ourselves blissfully long afternoon naps. (more…)

20. Jan, 2012

Tour de France gradients and hot cycling on the road from Cali to Bogota

Tour de France gradients and hot cycling on the road from Cali to Bogota

Katy Perry sings a song about Colombia. You know the one that goes ‘you’re up then you’re down… you’re hot then you’re cold’. It sums up our cycle ride across the country perfectly and the stretch from Cali to Bogota was no exception, with some blissfully flat cycling and a Tour de France gradient climb which put us to the test.

We’d had a fantastic break in the modern city of Cali staying with Paddy’s distant cousin and his family. It had been a much needed rest after weeks of climbing and we made the most of the well-stocked supermarkets to refuel and had our bikes serviced in a local shop, as well-equipped as anywhere back home with cycling being Colombia’s national sport. (more…)

19. Jan, 2012

Foam, flour and water: cycling Ipiales to Cali

Foam, flour and water: cycling Ipiales to Cali

Colombia had been the one country which everyone had warned us about.  Drugs, violence and kidnaps: it has received its fair share of negative press in recent history. But instead we arrived excited, having heard great stories about the generosity and friendliness of Colombians from cyclists we’d met on the road.

Crossing the busy main border from Ecuador with a military helicopter buzzing overhead, we were absorbed by the Colombian preparations for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Ipiales hosted an incredible carnival where men dressed up in women’s clothes to prance along the street performing skits before impressive cardboard effigies were paraded, later to be burnt in the streets.  A few fireworks were thrown inside to keep the crowds firmly on their toes. (more…)

07. Jan, 2012

Never-ending hills on the way from Quito to Colombia

Never-ending hills on the way from Quito to Colombia

“Are you the people who were on TV last night?” asked our hotel manager in Quito. We were, having spent one of our days off in the capital answering questions from the national media about our trip around South America. It was a different way to get ready for Christmas. After a busy break, we weren’t totally rested when we set off towards the Colombian border, through Ecuador’s never-ending hills.

Our day in the spotlight had been organised by the lovely staff at the British Embassy in Quito, who also asked us to record a short video to promote the London 2012 Olympics. I think the gathered journalists were disappointed we weren’t set to take part in the actual games, but they seemed interested in our trip and had us cycling up and down in front of the Embassy to video us. We couldn’t help thinking our mums would be disappointed that for our TV debuts we were dressed in our scruffy cycling garb. (more…)

21. Dec, 2011

Bananas, cycle protests and pedalling over the Andes again: Huaquillas to Riobamba

Bananas, cycle protests and pedalling over the Andes again: Huaquillas to Riobamba

“EC-UA-DOR, ESCHUCAME”. We crossed into Ecuador to the sound of Sash booming on our I-pods. This was a moment we had imagined since planning the trip, but with its friendly atmosphere and stunning scenery, our eighth country of the trip is more than living up to expectations.

The border crossing was quiet, quick and easy. We had our passports electronically stamped in the fancy immigration post across the bridge separating Peru and Ecuador, which signs told us had been funded by the European Community. This crossing adds to an existing one, which is operative directly into the town of Huaquillas and is more popular with locals. (more…)