The faded glory of Paso Socompa

We develop a gluttonous olive baguette and goats cheese habit in San Pedro and when we make our early morning escape, freshly baked loaves are secured to the handlebars and an extra large slab of cheese slowly sweats in the rising temperature. A departure from 'civilisation' demands packing in a few treats you won't be …

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The backdoor to La Paz: From Lago Titicaca to La Paz via Condoriri basecamp

We’ve ridden into La Paz from the north twice now, and this last run couldn't have been a starker contrast to the first, as illustrated in the following figures. Figure 1. September 2016. Main road + vicious Giardia + lying on the ground for 5 minutes out of every 15. Figure 2. September 2017. The …

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Bikepacking Ausangate: Suckers for punishment and singletrack

Almost exactly a year ago we stood at the turnoff to Ausangate for a good 20 minutes, agonising over whether to take it. We'd had every intention to, but a solid day of overdoing it on the Salkantay trek a week before had left my knees in bad shape. Fine when walking, but barely able …

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A loop of southern Peru: High roads, canyon hopping and baby volcanoes

With our brains full of verbs from two weeks of Spanish school in Arequipa we were itching to do some riding. A route to Cotahuasi Canyon was on the cards, but there were two good options. The answer (obviously) was to do both, forming a loop of sorts, beginning and ending in Arequipa for more …

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Culipampa: Andean village life

"Culipampa (4,770m). A shepherd we met just before the village told me ‘Tiene de todo!’ which I thought was a bit of an exaggeration as it only has about 20 houses, but there was accommodation, restaurants and shops." – Andesbybike.com route notes Despite having been fairly warned by this description, in my mind Culipampa is …

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All of the things: Our South American gear list. (Version 2)

After 5 months of riding, the bikes were due some replacement parts and some gear was showing signs of wear. Having to return to New Zealand for a while allowed us to reassess our gear. This is an updated list of All Of The Things. It's pretty nerdy, you've been warned. I've detailed the main …

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Northern Chile to Argentina: Paso Sico and the end of the line

San Pedro is at once delightful and shocking. A small, cute, desert town creaking under the weight of tourism. After a slog through the Lagunas we happily throw our weight in the mix and make the most of it – eating, drinking, lazing and even taking a tour. It's a disconnected experience, travelling in an …

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Cycling the Lagunas in South-West Bolivia: Practical notes for cyclists

This is a day by day description of the exceptionally beautiful Lagunas route from San Juan in Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. View the route on Google Maps Download complete GPX file from San Juan to San Pedro de Atacama The route from San Juan to San Pedro de Atacama We rode this …

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The Bolivian Altiplano: Back in our high, dry, happy place

We try to use our brief time in the relative metropolis of Oruro to download podcasts and kindle books. Digital entertainment is running dangerously low but the wifi is predictably shit. But happily we stumble upon a health food store near the main plaza and it’s like finding Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, only instead of …

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La Paz to Konani: Dust and sweat in the Yungas (and yes, we rode the Death Road)

La Paz is a hard place to leave, but vaguely southward progress was calling – to the barren but beautiful Altiplano (volcanoes and llamas, two of my favourite things) or to descend into the lushness of the Yungas (coca plantations, villages, warmth), that was the question. We had our sights firmly on the famous, and …

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