I haven’t had the chance to update the blog recently. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding…
Between living the good life on the farm in Palugo, the dirt road obsession continues. For the most part, I’ve been absorbed exploring Ecuador’s high altitude tundra – the misty, shape shifting and ethereal páramo. I was fortunate enough to spent my birthday in Cotopaxi National Park, one of my all time favourite spots in Ecuador, on a family bike tour. Then, I headed off for a few days tackling a back route between Otovalo and Ibarra, via the peaceful páramo of Piñan – a ride that boasts a 3000m, dirt and cobbled descent! And most recently, I headed into the high altitude El Ángel Ecological Reserve, home to a legion of curious-looking frailejón.
TEMBR: Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Ride
Sage and Nancy have now returned to the States. I’ll be staying on in Ecuador for a couple more weeks to help set up a website based on our recent Trans Ecuador bike ride. Broadly speaking, the idea of the project is to create a backcountry route that runs the length of the country’s volcanic corridor, avoiding the dreaded Panamerican Highway and other busy paved stretches, to link small communities and places of interest via dirt and cobbled roads. Aside from the ride itself, the aim of the route is to encourage bicycle travel in Ecuador both locally and internationally, and promote low impact, responsible tourism in remote areas of the country.
It won’t be the ride the Dammer’s and I did; rather, a more accessible (and slightly less gruelling) dirt road alternative. In an ideal world, this backbone will provide a means along which to interweave more technical singletrack alternatives. As it stands right now, it’s non-profit project, so if there’s a designer who’d like to donate some time creating a logo…
Pictures and Words
On the writing front, my feature on fatpacking in the Bolivian Altiplano is due out in the next Bicycle Times. Cycle, published by the CTC, is running a photo story on our mega-family bike ride. And I’ve submitted a story to Cranked on bikepacking in Peru, due out this spring – incidentally, if you’d like a discounted subscription, there’s Kickstarter project for the magazine, details of which you can find here. Lastly, I’m also attempting to gather a collection of images and stories that could provide the basis for a roving talk of some kind, or (if anyone will have me) a photo exhibition.
Aside from blog posts, there’s a tonne of stuff I’d like to catch up on, reviews wise. This includes thoughts on long distance touring on the Surly Krampus (compared to the Pugs), touring tubeless, my 6 Moon Designs Deschutes tarp, the Salsa Anything Cage HD, the Jones 710 Bend Bar, and a long term review of the Chariot trailer – along with musings on child-friendly options for more singletrack-minded rides. If you managed to wade through all the links, and there’s anything else you’ve seen me use that might be of interest, let me know. Occasionally, I jot down thoughts and progress reports on the While Out Riding Facebook page.
And then, it’s back to Europe. My current plan is to fly to the UK out of Bogota, which is substantially cheaper than exiting Ecuador. But I may be lured back via the US if I can find a cheap flight, to pursue a couple of projects there. Otherwise, if anyone knows of any cool bike culture happenings in Colombia that I can write about for the Worldwide Cycling Atlas, please let me know!
I’ll round this post off with a few images from the last few weeks. Nowadays, most of them are posted in image collections to my Tumblr, until I get a proper chance to catch up on the blog.