215ml. 8 days cycling. Day 1- 33ml to Vélez. I knew it would get hilly now but I only managed 33ml today. It was raining when I set off but it wasn’t too cold and I was soon warmed up! The first 26miles was uphill reaching 2,600m. Landazuri sits at 1,100m asl. As far as long climbs go, there’s one at 54ml in Colombia, so this was a little one in comparison. I was cold when I finally reached the top of the climb but the last 6ml was downhill and the sun appeared. I could see Vélez on the way down and was glad to find a room and rest my weary leg’s.
Fantastic views today
Day 2. 17ml to Puente Nacional. I got a reply from a warm shower host not far away and after Mario came to meet me on his bike, we ride to his town and have a coffee and lunch in the beautiful town square and I decide to stay the night. The next day Mario shows me a quiet route over a mountain towards villa de leyva. When we reach the start of the climb we swap bikes and Mario rides my heavy loaded bike all the way up the 10ml unpaved road. He loved it and so did I as it was easier for me on his MTB. At the top, we visit a memorial dedicated to the 1,000 day war of 1902 and there’s a small shelter there, where a kind lady selling snacks, gives me and Mario empanadas and soup, and I decide to pitch my tent and stay the night.
My peaceful camp for the night.
After packing the tent and riding downhill all the way down a the unpaved path, I stop for breakfast in Santa Sofía. Then I went to Villa de Leyva, a beautiful old town, the streets and large central plaza are still paved with cobblestones, and many buildings date from the sixteenth century. A man came talking to me called Rob and he was from Oldham. He was living in Tunya and had travelled on a bus to visit the town.
The cobbled streets of Villa de Leyva
I spent a while having a coffee and chatting with Rob and find a cheap hotel in the next town called Sáchica. The next morning I received a reply off a warm shower host at Raquirá and Jeronimo was fantastic. I stayed 5nights and even helped him repair a roof on his cousin’s house. He introduced me to el Mano who did voice overs in English and American for advertisements. When I heard him speak, and he did speak the queen’s English, I couldn’t believe he wasn’t an Englishman. He lived most his life in Bogotá as a cycle courier and learnt the English from BBC radio and TV.
After leaving Raquirá I take an unpaved road to San Miguel de Sema, it was tough. I had to push a lot of the way because it was steep and not a good surface. But after San Miguel, it’s a better road and make it to Guachetá.
After Guachetá it’s 33ml to Suesca where I plan to stay. Another tough day on unpaved roads up to 3,000m asl. 5ml short of the town it started to rain hard so I sheltered for a while but realized it would go dark soon so I carried on 3ml uphill then down as slowly as I went up due to the bad road surface and heavy rain. Because it is a tourist town the rooms I found were expensive but eventually I found a cheap hospedaje and was I glad. I was cold and wet, it had gone dark but the room had hot water, the first one for a while. Paved roads all the way to Bogotá now, next night I stay at Guasca and stay a while to look around Guatavita, a nice town on the edge of a reservoir, and get a room just before the rain came. Last 30ml to Bogotá today and a cyclist came alongside me who spoke English. His name was Nicholos and after chatting a while he gave me his number and offered me a place to stay. I couldn’t believe my luck. His house was even in the Teusaquilla area where I was planning to stay. I had to cycle over the mountain 1st, the top is 3,060m, then it’s 6ml down to Bogotá city which sits at around 2,600m. So it’s a little chilly in the evening and mornings. I ended up staying at nicolos’s house for 2 weeks and loved taking his dog, Chester, for walks everyday. I really enjoyed my stay and Nicolos was very kind and a great guy. I loved hearing his stories about the 2 year trip when he cycled all the way up the Andes from Argentina back to Colombia.
Every Sunday is ciclovia, over 120kms of roads around Bogotá city are closed to cars for the cyclists.