cycling Patagonia

I’m planning to do 1500km plus in Chile early 2019. About 4 weeks.

Here’s the best trip video I’ve seen so far. Giorgio Frattale and Francesco D’Alessio from last season.

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo. (9min)

The endless and arid steppe, the wonderful and jagged peaks of the Andes, the huge fresh water basins with their incredible colors, the awesome glaciers that fall into the deep depressions of the Cordillera, the extreme and changing wheather conditions, the incessant and exhausting wind, make Patagonia one of the few place in the world able to convey the feeling of being on the edge of the Earth.

I won’t be carrying a packraft, however.

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my plan to bikepack the Carretera Austral, Chile in 2019

During my two months in Patagonia 2018 I did a fair bit of research on a future cycle hiking trip.

I arrive Santiago Jan 11th and might rent a bike in the big city. They’d transport it to and from both trailheads.

The Carretera Austral is far more popular now than when I did it 15 years ago by bus / hitchhiking.

The Carretera Austral runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through (sparsely populated) rural Patagonia. …

This area is characterized by thick forestsfjordsglaciers, canals and steep mountains. …

Among the world’s finest road trips, the Carretera Austral – or “Southern Highway” – is a 1240km route through Chile that’s mostly about half unpaved. Winding through millennia-old forests, it visits dusty Andean hamlets and turquoise rivers spawned from landlocked glaciers. …

Cyclists should have the skills and materials to repair their own gear, and should plan on taking a solid month for the entire endeavor. According to Italian cyclist Tomas Balzk, the hardest part was not pedaling the terrain, but ingesting enough calories. …

Lonely Planet

Cyclists-on-the-Carretera-Austral

misadventures on Lasqueti Island B.C.

Nobody goes to Lasqueti. Nobody I’ve ever spoken to.

I’d heard rumours:

Lasqueti has no cars. Roads are unpaved. Tourists not welcome. Private ferry runs on demand. People live off the grid. …

Turns out most of that is untrue.

Centurion VII, a 60 person passenger ferry, runs regularly in the summer from French Creek marina, close to Parksville. Tourists cannot bring cars.

There are about 425 permanent residents (6 months / year or more) and they do look like hippies. Men don’t use razors. Young women forget to put on a brassiere some mornings.

However, Statistics Canada reports that Lasqueti Island is the most highly educated community in the province. Residents represent diverse professions, from poets, artists, physicists, professional consultants and professional musicians to fishermen, loggers, tree planters and commercial agriculturalists.

Life is off grid. Power comes from solar panels, wind generators, diesel generators and propane.

All 73 square kilometres is designated park or privately owned. No squatters.

I could live there. High-speed internet is available.

No campgrounds. One hotel and a handful of rooms for rent.

read more – Life off the grid: What’s going on in Lasqueti Island?

I rolled my bike on to the first ferry. Planned to explore the island on a sunny day. 

It was busy in July. Locals and their visitors make frequent trips back and forth to Vancouver Island. 

I was happy having just mailed the last of my videos to Gymnastics Canada. I’m about about as free as you can be

The cycling is excellent. Roads aren’t paved, but they are nicely surfaced. (I was warned that people fly over the handlebars when hitting unexpected washboard at high speed.)

Locals all own motor vehicles but hardly ever drive them. There’s no place to go. Very little traffic. 

About 12km along I got a flat rear tire. Sadly I’d not bothered to throw tools and an extra tube into my pack. 

Oh well, I was still happy to have visited. I started walking the bike back. 

The third vehicle to pass stopped and offered me a ride. He was a cyclist who first come to Lasqueti 1981, reading about the little known destination in a Yachting magazine. Now retired, he spends 7 months in Canada, 5 months motor touring New Zealand each year. 

With about a km left to push-a-bike I decided to stop at one of the amazing low tide bays. 

It was a short steep-slope scramble down to the water. I stepped into a wasp’s nest. First time ever.

Freaking, I sprinted out into the mud only to lose a shoe in the muck. What could I do?

… I stood my ground slapping until every wasp was dead or fled. Then dug out my shoe.

Ouch. 

Still, for some reason I remained happy. Stings hurt less than I would have expected. I counted at least nine. 

I arrived back at the dock with about 2 hours left before my return ferry. 

Called my Dad to inform about my useless wheels and dirty, wasp-stung condition. He would pick me up on the other side. 

I ordered some Salmon chowder. And enjoyed the gorgeous day. 

I’d definitely recommend you cycle Lasqueti. Kayaking would be good too. If you come over by ferry bring some sort of transportation.

Click PLAY or watch some drone footage on YouTube.

Bermuda cycling – end to end to end

Saturday was Bermuda End to End. It’s a charity fundraiser where folks roll, stroll and splash across the islands.

I was coaching.

The next day I rented a bike ($40) and rode St. Georges to Dockyard and back to St. Georges. That was 9:45am to 7:00pm.

St. Georges

Unfortunately I crashed jumping a curb coming into St. Georges.

Scrapes on ankle, hip, elbow and face.

It’s been some years since I was last injured on a bike.

cycling the Carretera Austral, Chile do NOT post

During my two months in Patagonia 2018 I did a fair bit of research on a future cycle hiking trip.

  • what bike? (Surly Long Haul Trucker with 40mm tires is popular)
  • buy, rent or bring a bike with me from Canada?
  • exact route? (north to south via Chiloe sounds best to me)

I’d camp and hike en route.

The Carretera is far more popular now than when I did it in 2004 by bus / hitchhiking.

The Carretera Austral runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through (sparsely populated) rural Patagonia. …

This area is characterized by thick forestsfjordsglaciers, canals and steep mountains. …

Among the world’s finest road trips, the Carretera Austral – or “Southern Highway” – is a 1240km route through Chile that’s mostly unpaved. Winding through millennia-old forests, it visits dusty Andean hamlets and turquoise rivers spawned from landlocked glaciers. …

Cyclists should have the skills and materials to repair their own gear, and should plan on taking a solid month for the entire endeavor. According to Italian cyclist Tomas Balzk, the hardest part was not pedaling the terrain, but ingesting enough calories. …

Lonely Planet

Cyclists-on-the-Carretera-Austral