Cycling California to Argentina

  • username23

    Posts: 5

    Dec 15, 2010 5:51 AM GMT
    46 y/o cycling novice planning on riding a bike from the bay area to southern Chile/Argentina, traveling very light and mostly stealth camping along the way. Expected departure late 2011. Completely open-ended time frame and a very flexible itinerary. Wondering if anyone here has done any long distance cycle touring, especially in Central and/or South America?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 7:43 AM GMT
    srsly? A novice cyclist goign through some of the more dangerous and difficult landscape in the world.... icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 2:06 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidsrsly? A novice cyclist goign through some of the more dangerous and difficult landscape in the world.... icon_confused.gif


    QFT, that idea is full of fail. 46 y/o Novice cyclist plans to make trip 90% of extremely experienced cyclists don't.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 2:16 PM GMT
    cycling across Panama shouldnt be hard unless he take highlands instead of the regular Panamerican road .......
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 2:29 PM GMT
    A.) Mexico is dangerous (or so I've heard)
    B.) so is Columbia (again from what I've heard... could be wrong..but)
    C.) Central America is SOOO hot that the SUN STINGS!!! I ruined all my white shirts from pit stains from sweating while in Panama!

    I mean more power to you if you do do it!... but just take caution!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 3:01 PM GMT
    I don't think you could make this journey without passing through the Darien Gap and that is extremely dangerous. Make sure you research everything thoroughly before setting off.
  • vacyclist

    Posts: 162

    Dec 15, 2010 3:29 PM GMT
    I've traveled thousands of miles solo by bicycle throughout the US and Canada, but the only travel I've done south of the border has been in an F350 with a big camper on the back. I'd be happy to share my experiences & offer advice on bicycle touring in general....cycling south of the border has additional challenging dimensions I have not dealt with.
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Dec 15, 2010 3:42 PM GMT
    A bit like this man.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/cyclingtheamericas/
    but he's a very experienced cyclist who held the round the world cycling record - 194 days 17 hours, 18296miles. He didn't go through Columbia or the Darien Gap. His book should be out early 2011.
    google Mark Beaumont
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 3:46 PM GMT
    A plane would be faster and more comfortable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 3:53 PM GMT
    Pinny said
    Lostboy saidsrsly? A novice cyclist goign through some of the more dangerous and difficult landscape in the world.... icon_confused.gif


    QFT, that idea is full of fail. 46 y/o Novice cyclist plans to make trip 90% of extremely experienced cyclists don't.


    Can we mention the drug war that is going on through that area right now too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 4:26 PM GMT
    maybe he's going with a fully heavily armed escort .

    and i thought my fantasy of biking through France one day was adventurous. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 7:48 PM GMT
    esails said

    And ignore the couch potatoes on here with no imagination and no idea what adventure and exploration look like and remember that success is not based on whether or not you complete the entire journey but on having the balls to go for it in the first place.


    "couch potatoes" seems to have slipped in when you really meant to say "people with experience living in the part of the world he´s talking about"
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Dec 15, 2010 8:09 PM GMT
    Lostboy said
    esails said

    And ignore the couch potatoes on here with no imagination and no idea what adventure and exploration look like and remember that success is not based on whether or not you complete the entire journey but on having the balls to go for it in the first place.


    "couch potatoes" seems to have slipped in when you really meant to say "people with experience living in the part of the world he´s talking about"


    Ditto--most people avoid the Darien gap by hopping a boat from Colon, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia. I've been through Colon on a bus and would not ever even dream of trying it on a bicycle.

    When I was in Colombia over the summer we ran into a guy who was trying the reverse on a motorcycle who had just been robbed in Cartagena. So...maybe you want to rethink at least pieces of this trip.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 8:45 PM GMT
    username23 said46 y/o cycling novice planning on riding a bike from the bay area to southern Chile/Argentina, traveling very light and mostly stealth camping along the way. Expected departure late 2011. Completely open-ended time frame and a very flexible itinerary. Wondering if anyone here has done any long distance cycle touring, especially in Central and/or South America?

    I've done bike & motorcycle touring for over 40 years, though nothing like what you propose. Ideally you'll do best with a bicycle designed for touring. Not too many of them left, but still my own favorite kind of bike. Here's my present one:

    580_400_1821_4735.jpg

    DSC01808_2-1.jpg

    S7300148_5-1.jpg

    It's a 2008 Cannondale t1, discontinued for 2011 but 2010s still available if a dealer calls the factory, until supplies run out (I just phoned them & checked). At $2095 USD MSRP it's a great deal. The 2008 is shown in a manufacturer's pic, perhaps the finest pure touring bike in the world. Beneath it is the bike as I configure it for daily around-town use & errands, and finally the bike in Key West, with a handlebar bag attached.

    Features of a touring bike include the heavy-duty rear rack you see, to mount rear panniers (saddlebags) plus forks lugs to add hangers for additional bags up front. You need a lot of luggage when you travel and camp on the road for long distances.

    Which means you need a strong frame, tires and rims to carry the weight. These rims have a greater spoke count than normal, and the tires are a relatively wide 35C, armored with an aramid belt against punctures, one of your biggest problems when out on the road solo. Make sure you carry tire-changing tools and a pump, spare tubes & tires (they fold) and practice how to use them.

    It also has 30 speeds, in a relatively low range, likewise needed to haul that weight up hills. (Or haul my fat ass over high bridges when I pedal down to Key West). Another feature is 3 sets of water bottle cage lugs. I do sometimes carry 3 bottles in the Florida heat, but another option is to mount your tire pump on 1 set. It will also accept a fender set, which I use around town with our frequent showers, mine lightweight plastic that matches the paint scheme perfectly, from a German maker I've always used.

    Bikes of this caliber are sold without pedals, which the rider chooses according to individual preference. I have Shimano clipless for longer rides, then switch to older-style toe clip pedals for daily use. I recommend toe clips for your trip, since they allow you to wear any kind of shoe or boot for comfort when walking.

    Have you ever done primitive camping outdoors? That skill will be as important as the biking itself, and could fill a book (and indeed does, many of them). You're attempting a great deal, an epic undertaking.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 10:03 PM GMT
    esails saidAnd ignore the couch potatoes on here with no imagination and no idea what adventure and exploration look like and remember that success is not based on whether or not you complete the entire journey but on having the balls to go for it in the first place.

    There is a difference between encouraging someone even though he may not have a chance and encouraging someone who is about to do something extremely dangerous.

    First of all, he is no where near the level needed to make the distance not to mention survive the terrain and secondly, he is doing it solo in territories that will shoot him down, gut him and steal the little valuable items he has on him.

    I would rather him say he wants to do the coast-to-coast bike ride as a novice. That I would be happy to encourage him doing, give him advice, and hope he gives feedback on. The current voyage is nothing I and a lot of others would recommend.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 10:05 PM GMT
    xassantex saidmaybe he's going with a fully heavily armed escort .

    and i thought my fantasy of biking through France one day was adventurous. icon_rolleyes.gif


    It is 1000000000000000000000000000 times safer, achievable and pretty icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 15, 2010 10:22 PM GMT
    Pinny saidI would rather him say he wants to do the coast-to-coast bike ride as a novice. That I would be happy to encourage him doing, give him advice, and hope he gives feedback on. The current voyage is nothing I and a lot of others would recommend.

    I'd agree with that. In the States there are always places to eat, buy food, toiletries & supplies, sleep indoors when it's raining cats & dogs. You can use plastic and need to carry very little cash, and only US denomination. Medical care you understand, friends you can phone, a vast support structure.

    It does sound rather like trying to do the Olympic Marathon event before you've learned to walk. But I do know a little about some aspects of bike touring, and will still advise him if he wishes. I just wish it were for something a bit more realistic.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 16, 2010 12:30 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    It does sound rather like trying to do the Olympic Marathon event before you've learned to walk.


    That is a good analogy.
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Dec 16, 2010 6:59 AM GMT
    i don't understand the fuss... god speed and say hi to Nicaragua for me!
  • username23

    Posts: 5

    Dec 16, 2010 7:31 AM GMT
    Sure didn't expect to stir up such a hornets' nest. I guess I forgot how full of trolls and armchair quarterbacks the web could be.

    Thank you to the guys who've given words of encouragement, especially vacyclist, esails and Art_Deco.

    I am only in the planning stage now, researching type of bike, panniers vs. trailer, route options, etc. Also reading quite a few blogs by some of the many others who've already made a similar trek. I'll do a few short tours come spring and summer to get a feel for what to expect from the bike.
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Jan 03, 2011 7:59 AM GMT
    Though I suspect this will fall on deaf ears as i suspect I've already been labeled a "couch potato" or a "troll" I had an afterthought that since you have a bicycle to worry about rather than a car or a motorcycle, you could go to Portobello, Panama rather than Colon and get passage on a private sailboat, as many people with yachts stop in there on their way south--it's much safer and more scenic than Colon--and just for the record I stayed in the Casco Viejo district in Panama city, visited Colombia solo, and walked unescorted from Bethlehem to the outskirts of Jerusalem before the latest intafada. I've visited and lived in a number of sketchy places and the reason I am alive to tell the tail is that I listen to people who know the area. Try to get local information as you go along--it could be a blast, but there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 03, 2011 8:16 AM GMT
    Since you'll be passing central and south america... I will add these to the list:

    Prepaid cell phone, mace, knife, a full loaded pistol, an extra pistol, and a friend who can speak fluent spanish.

    Goodluck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 03, 2011 9:25 AM GMT
    do some shorter tours in the USA first.... it will tell you whether you are actually up to it icon_smile.gif
  • username23

    Posts: 5

    Apr 02, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    Well, it's nearly time to start. In two weeks I'll be on my way. If anyone wants to tag along for part of the route, let me know. (Leaving from SF Bay Area and heading south, then to Death Valley, Joshua Tree NP, and planning to cross into Baja at Tecate.)
  • username23

    Posts: 5

    Jan 08, 2013 5:04 PM GMT
    Eight months and over 12,000 kilometers into a really amazing adventure, I want to say "Thank you!" to those of you who were supportive.

    To the many of you who apparently don't get away from the computer long enough to actually DO something outdoors, I say... well, I guess I won't say it here. I will let you imagine the expletives.

    But you naysayers certainly lived down to my expectations of the "gay community." Might I suggest that, rather than offering crappy, ill-informed, negative opinions in online forums, you apply yourselves to something a bit more constructive. Or just keep your mouths shut.

    Thanks.