A Travellerspoint blog

Jared´s Intro to International Bicycle Touring

Or... I´m in love with a mad woman.


IMG_0414.jpgGuest post, by Risa´s traveling companion and husband Jared.

So you wanna travel exotic foreign countries on the cheap and accrue massive bad-ass points while doing it? Consider bike touring.
Now it isn´t easy, but that´s ok, that isn´t why we got into this gig. You do get to see places off the well worn gringo trail, and sometimes people give you free cafe-cita when you are hunkering out of the rain with your sodden bicycle.

IMG_0335.jpg So where to begin? Pick a country. Preferably one of the ones that the US State Department has issued a travel warning advisory about, as it helps keep the riff-raff out and the prices lower.

90_IMG_0489.jpg Now pull out a map and pick a starting and ending point. You may notice a series of lines connecting these points...pay them no mind, they are called ¨highways¨ and are generally paved, flat, wide, fast things that you want no part of, as that would be to easy. No, you want the unpaved mud goat tract that isn´t listed on the map and can only be found by asking directions from 7 differant people in the preceeding town and averaging their responses. Never rely on directions from only one person, it doesn´t matter if they have lived in that valley for 45 years, it doesn´t neccesarily mean they have know or have any idea the best bike route to the town 6 miles away, or if this is even the right road.
Speaking of towns, you want them as small as possible. Another good reason to avoid highways, as they tend to connect cities, and cites have cafes that will serve you hot chocolate with bread and melted cheese you can eat while watching the afternoon rain. Pish-Posh! You´ll have none of that frippery! You want tiny towns with at at least 4 syllables in their name. Zipaquiera is ok, Lenguazaque is better. Bucharamanga is even better yet. Why so many syllables? To make it harder to pronounce properly and thereby increase the chances for misunderstanding of directions. Because that is what adventure is made of, misunderstood directions. And rain.

Ah yes, rain. The country you are visiting will have have a rainy season. If you are lucky, maybe even 2 rainy seasons! Be sure to plan your trip to include at least one of these, as it helps keep prices low in the touristy joints you won´t be going anyway. Nothing says adventure like pushing your bike loaded with 80pounds of gear through the mud over a mountain in a lightning storm and hoping there is a warm bed waiting for you in a town you cannot pronounce.
And then you get to the top of the pass and somewhere in the last hour of wrestling your bike up the mountain through the mud, the rain stopped. Long rays of sunlight hit the top of the ancient colonial cathedral in the town square of the town you cannot pronounce. You bike into town and find a bed for only $9, take pictures with the owner´s kids who ask a million questions about your bike trip and show you their bikes, get a 4 course dinner for $3.33, hit the market and pick out 2 or 3 mystery fruits you´ve never seen before to have for breakfast tomorrow, take a lukewarm shower and do your laundrey in the sink, and head to bed early to do it all again tommorrow.

Jared Sibbitt

(photos taken and inserted by the crazy wife)

Posted by risajs 15:31 Archived in Colombia

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Great commentary, very funny, and you're right - your wife is crazy. But not boring. Bacharamanga? She didn't mention that one. It's not on the map, is it?

by glenn

We thought you knew what you were getting into with Risa by now -- but she grows on you because she's so cute (even tho she's crazy). Glad we're too old to go biking with her! Glad you're not too old...

by Barbara Schiffman

Fantastic guys!!! The only problem is you forgot to take security - namely me.... :-)

by Doug

Ahhhh (forlornly said), biking with Risa ;)
Glad to hear you both are having good adventure fun! Jared, your post is awesome and hilarious

by Beth Erickson

looks like jarred is having a blast...

by Yeisi

As I was reading your fabulously amusing post, I thought of only one thing- Risa is just like you! Perhaps I am mistaken, but I do seem to recall thinking that your ideas were pretty damn crazy. Of course, they were always pretty damn fun too. :)

by Short Mel

Hey Risa,
keep on going !! Enjoy the ride !!
Greetings from the snowy and freezing Austria !!
Thomas Andrea Lukas Felix

by team pressl

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