Monday, 24 May 2010

47. Bicycle? What bicycle?

Well there really hasn't been a lot of cycling going on lately but that's not a bad thing. After the five-day ride with Argentinian cyclists, Axel and Jose Luis, from Cochabamba to Bolivia's capital, La Paz, Rocinante was back out to pasture in the courtyard of Cristian Conitzer's Chuquiago cafe, a cyclist-friendly refuge in the heart of the world's highest capital. While Rocinante gathered dust I headed off for a tour of the pampas wetlands in the Amazon basin in the northern Bolivian province of Beni and then by bus to Lake Titicaca and on to Cusco in Peru where we took the back way to the spectacular Inca ruins of Machu Pichu.

Kid in Challa Grande village

Back to the antiplano

Arriving into La Paz in convoy...Jose Luis, Axel, Tommy and Luis

Undoubtedly the traveling cyclist faces a plethora of perils. However, the wonderful reality is that most of these hazards can be greatly minimised and avoided with proper application of that awful phrase, common sense. Anything with a combustible engine is a predator. Tropical diseases. Flesh-boring insects. Lightning strikes. Rebels. Police. Thieves. Precipices. Rim failure. Dogs. Blah Blah. The list of possibilities that can take a cyclist off their bicycle for the short or long term reads like a Beijing telephone directory. Somewhere down that list, however, is the greatly underrated danger of meeting someone you like. We'll save that story for another time though.

I am back in La Paz and Peru-bound, pedalling northwards along the Pacific coast to Lima.


 A squirrel monkey in the Santa Rosa pampas

Birdy and llama getting it on at Machu Pichu

La Paz, Bolivia
Pedalled: 31,720 kilometres

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