Colombia: A Shaky start. Wed 13th and Thu 15th August

After a hair raising ride through downtown Bogota on the back of Labardo bike, not he isn’t a good rider because he is very good. However the Bogota traffic is something out and the hundreds of motorbikes lane split left right and centre. So constantly weaving through the busy stream of traffic is normal for him … but not me. However after arriving at the bonded warehouse I felt like a kid at Christmas opening the biggest present ever … my bike. It seemed to take forever to get gadget out of the crate but Lobardo and I finally got all the screws undone and the plastic pulled off and there was my baby in perfect working order. After all the paperwork was done, petrol and SATO insurance purchased I was ready for a good night sleep and eager to head off to Puerto Salgar in the morning. I abstained from my usual dinner of empanadas to indulge in the biggest avocado I have ever eaten, it was extremely delicious and filling.

Trying to navigate my way through the Bogota traffic on a bike that felt unbelievable too heavy was another story. I was honestly quite shaky and just not all together with it. My luggage pannier sand pannier racks included comes to 55kg. Panniers and racks 10kg, 8kgs in each pannier and my bag 23kgs with extra rear tire (which will stay in Medellin for my return after the Amazon challenge tour) This all weighs less than a person and I’ve lifted people who easily weight 70kgs, but this dead top heavy weight really took some getting used to. The relay bonus is that the panniers will stay in Medellin, and my bag will go on the support truck during the tour. Thereafter things will get lighter as I start using up my supplies … and ditching those things I never should have brought in the first place 🙂 (you always find something you don’t need)

The road to Puerto Salgar is not too bad, not pristine but not bad at all. It is a very windy mountain road though with a plethora of large trucks each intent on killing each other by overtaking on double yellow lines ignoring both the no overtaking and 30km/h speed limit signs. I felt way out of my depth trying to fight for road space with these monsters. I struggled to bring myself to overtake on double yellow lines so spent most of the trip at 30 to 40km/h behind the trucks.  On the odd occasion steeling my nerves to cross those yellow markers of doom.  I was narrowly missed a number of times when trucks over taking each other in both directs had to swerve back onto my side of the road.

The trip however was not bad but the 200kms did take 5 hours, which did give me time to check out the scenery  Stunning to say the least,  the buzzards and road kill, and the very many strange road signs. Coming from South Africa I am quite used to seeing road signs for wild animals, but these were quit amusing signs for snakes, tortoises, foxes, porcupines (well I think it looked like porcupines) and anteaters I did you not J This one of the best things about travelling in a foreign country are the little idiosyncrasies.


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