Bikepacking the Americas / Colombia (Video)
This installment of Hans de Neve’s ongoing “Bikepacking the Americas” video series finds him pedaling across Colombia on a 1,600-kilometer route connecting less-traveled valleys and small towns. Find the five-minute video and a vibrant gallery of photos here…
Words, photos, and video by Hans de Neve (@deneve.hans)
Initially, South America’s second most populated country wasn’t on our list when we were planning our trip to the region. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision to include Colombia in our itinerary, as we’d originally planned to cycle the Baja Divide in Mexico at that time. But, after spending three months riding around the American Southwest during winter, we’d seen enough desert for a while. We were longing for a more leafy and green environment.
Colombia is big. Really big. Most tourists use domestic flights to travel around the country. Fortunately for bikepackers, this means you mostly have the in-between places to yourself! We didn’t particularly care about the major tourist attractions and wanted to focus on authentic experiences instead, such as pedaling through remote valleys, looking for the smallest roads on the map, and incorporating lots of mountain landscapes. The variety in scenery and biodiversity is stunning. One day, you’re riding through dense cloud forests, and the next day, across the open páramo.
The backroads in Colombia are tough. They’re steep, muddy, and rarely well-maintained. But the many small towns along the way make it possible to pack light. Although we first missed the feeling of true remoteness—like what bikepackers experience while riding in Peru or Bolivia—we soon started to appreciate it. In fact, it’s what makes riding in Colombia so special. The riding is hard, sure, but countless fascinating encounters with locals and lively towns make it easier. Colombians are one of the friendliest and warmest people we have met on our trip. All in all, our time in Colombia was incredibly surprising in the best way.
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