Monday, 28 July 2008

Cycling from Lethem to Georgetown, Guyana - In wet season!

Guyana is a small country in located on the carribean coast on northern south america. Nearly all of its small population live on the coast, and mean that exploring the highly undeveloped interior can be a dificult task unless you go in a tour or have a MOUTAINBIKE!!! Lethem is on the border with brazil, and the road is 450km of dirt, then a final 100km of pavement linking the town of Linden to georgetown.
Here is the machine that carried me and my gear - shown in its element.
My trip started off like this. A red dirt road winding through a beutiful green sabana lined with hills in the distance.Day 2 took me to an area that was completely flooded by water. The wildlife was amazing and i had crocodiles darting of the side of the road as I cycled past. The dead one above was the only one I managed to get a photo of.
Being the wet season the grassland wasnt the only thing in flood. At times the water was up past my knees and I couldnt pedal. I didnt have to swim though. That was good. There aint much privacy out in the savana when you need to relieve yourself. Fortunately there is also hardly any traffic on the road. During 150km of savana I was passed by less than 10 vehicles.The road then goes through the jungle. Here is me showing one of the best things about Guyana - cheap and readily available peanut butter!!

The road through the jungle is incredible. 300km of narrow, muddy, rough road that passes only two small villages and a very small handful of other establishments

Here is me sharing my beer with a new friend. This was one of my stops in the jungle just after crossing the essequibo river by boat. This place was like heaven for me as it had everything i needed to stock up for the rest of my trip.
This was typical acomadation for me. hammock strung up under a roof.

I almost ran straight over this little guy. His tactic must have been to not move so I wouldnt see him. Doesnt work quite as well on the road as it would in the bush. Here is another guy who was hanging out on the road. He wasnt looking very alive, so poked him with a stick and he hissed at me and gave me this great photo pose. Wouldnt move off the road no matter what I did. I was concerned the that the next truck would just run him right over.
I pimped up my ride. There were heaps of tropical birds around, especially in the mornings, but you hardly ever see them good enough to take decent photos, especially with my little camera. These above are the more wild version of my friend in the photo higher up.
The "pac-man". Yes he was alive and yes i had great trouble removing him from my hand cause as you can imagine, a bug that size can cling on pretty good.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Cycling La Gran Sabana in Venezuela

The "Great Savannah" is located in the south eastern corner of Venezuela and extends slightly into Brazil and Guyana. It is a rocky plateau of grassland characterized by tabletop mountains called tepuis.

Possibly a perfect elevation to ride at here in the tropics as its not so hot. I did suffer a bit of cold in my hammock at night though. Click on the map if you want a larger view. Its a tourist map of the route showing the tepuis in orange. Not all of the "services" shown on the map were actually there or open.
Long straight roads with uphills that look a few hundred meters long, and are actually a couple of kilometers. My camera has a 10 second timer, and you cant adjust it. Therefore its a mad rush to get a shot like this.
They have a type of sandfly in the savannah that makes life alot less comfortable. Its much smaller than the NZ sandfly, but has a similar nature exept that its bites leave behind little blood blisters.There are many waterfalls to see. This was one of the most popular ones, and right beside the road which was good for me. I slept the night in a little hut nearby. The tepuis are seen very clearly in the background.
Tepui means "house of the gods", and they are the oldest exposed rock formations on the planet. They are known for their unique flora y fauna because they are like forest "islands" because their sheer cliffs rise abruptly 1000m from the surroundings.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Cycling in Colombia

I Cycled 870km from Bogota (the capital) to San Cristobal in Venezuela.
The first impression that I had from Colombia is the amount of people out riding bicycles. Cycling is very popular, and this made me feel comfortable riding around.
Map of my route through Colombia shown in blue pen. When travelling by bike you get to see all the little towns in the middle of nowhere, which otherwise on a bus you would just wizz straight past. This tiny and run-down place had an impressively big and modern church. It was in little villages like this that the people are the friendliest.
Lots of the colombian andes is like this. Green rolling hills.And this...there is always plenty of contrast.
Then there are the hills. Lots of hills.And "dangerous corners"...
This was one of my most enjoyable rides - an almost 30km downhill into this canyon, then up the other side. It was baking.
Bucaramanga, Columbias second biggest city. I took this photo partway up the massive 50km uphill.