Bikepacking the Americas / South Peru & Ausangate (Video)
In the latest short video from his ride around the Americas, Hans de Neve shares a stunning look at his time along the Peru Great Divide and the Ruta de los Tres Cordilleras, including what he says were some of the most impressive days of the entire trip. Watch the nine-minute video, read a little about this leg of the journey, and find a striking set of images here…
Words, photos, and video by Hans de Neve (@deneve.hans)
We recently returned home from our world travels and are slowly going through all the footage step by step. Being able to relive all those moments again is one of the main reasons I enjoy making these videos. This latest video displays the second bikepacking portion of the four months we spent riding around Peru.
We continue along the Peru Great Divide to Cusco, from where we head out to explore the Ausangate Range and follow the Ruta de los Tres Cordilleras to Bolivia. While these are two of the more known bikepacking routes through the Andes, it doesn’t make them any easier or less attractive. And they are very different in the type of riding and scenery you will find.
The Peru Divide is the kind of route everybody wants to have a piece of, no matter the riding style or former experience. The route is hard and long with a lot of climbing, but it’s quite accessible and generally has good road conditions and resupply opportunities throughout. The Ruta de los Tres cordilleras, on the other hand, has a lot more singletrack mixed in, fewer resupply points, and, most importantly, a complicated unmanned border crossing (if you want to continue on to Bolivia).
For traversing Ausangate, we teamed up with Ben, Caitlin, and Rene in Cusco, who were going to do the three-day loop. These were probably the most impressive days of riding of our entire trip. We were blessed with pristine weather, and the flowing singletrack just felt endless! It didn’t come without an effort, though, and we had to push our bikes up over 5,000-meter passes. Still, it was oh-so worth it.
After saying goodbye to our three friends, we continued to Bolivia, riding over wide open plateaus and venturing into small valleys once or twice to find hidden settlements and hot springs. On the final days before reaching Bolivia, we rode through probably the densest mining region of Peru. La Rinconada is both the highest settlement and the highest gold mine in the world. And the destruction it brings along with it is, unfortunately, very clear. We cycled past open quarries and polluted residue basins. The town itself feels very dark and odd—as if we weren’t supposed to be there.
Since we were already overstaying our visa in Peru and hadn’t heard any recent success stories of other riders crossing the unmanned border post, we decided to skip it and cross into Bolivia at Tilali. What better way to finish our trip in Peru at the iconic Lake Titicaca?!
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