18th Aug to 22nd Sept
Flying home gives me time to reflect....
5,500 odd miles (roughly - computer broke)
127,000 metres accumulated altitude!!
2.5 million pedal revolutions (estimated)
1 accident - on the last day of riding!
Coldest - minus 24 degrees centigrade Bolivian altiplano.
Highest - 4400m Bolivian altiplano.
Falling off/dropping bike - too many to count.
Biggest day - 200km.
Punctures NONE - unbelievable, but true.
Bike breakdowns - none again - I ride a Thorn Nomad which is awesome.
Tyres - 2
Chains and sprockest - 1
Highlights - again too many to count, but.....
Best Scenery - Argentina 7 lakes - Every bend in the road reveals new eye candy.
Best Riding - Argentina. The pass down towards Mendoza. 80kms all downhill in stunning snow capped mountain scenery.
Best Hiking - Chile. Torres Del Paine, a mini mountain range with glaciers, multi coloured granite, and the Towers at Dawn
Best City - Tough One, Bolivia La Paz... oh and Chile Santiago.
Biggest Event - Tough again, Bolivia re-elects Morales AND The Chaiten Volcano eruption
Comedy Moment - Chile, The world's dumbest horse
Weird Scenes - Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni
Worst Roads - Bolivia outside Potosi
Best HospitalityMany many examples, but Marcelo at the closed pass to Mendoza is a stand out, buying us food and 2 nights accomodation as we froze in the snow.
Many many more...
And much of it shared with a great travelling companion Michael Maynes who was there for a big part of it - the highs and the lows.
South America is a place of extremes in many ways the geography, geology, climate, but one thing was constant - the hospitality of the people. Wherever I went this was a feature and a constant reminder that I need to avoid the sterotypes and media delivered misconceptions and experience things first hand before hardening my opinions.
This is the end of beginning as it's only the first chapter. I am continuing my travels, by bicycle of course, this time with a new traveling partner. My girlfriend Sue has finally seen the light and quit her job as a Maths teacher and we're planning (well looking at a globe) for the next leg....
Stay tuned for updates.....