Colombia: Medellin, Salento, Popayan and Pasto ( 16 to 19 August)

From Medellin to Salento: The 250km ride from Medellin to Salento was interesting to say the least. This group is FAST OMG not only am I not used to riding in a group like this but the entire group ride the same speed and it’s all or nothing. As Leigh commented ‘’usually on a tour like this there is a natural split in the group fast, medium and slow riders, but not on this tour’’ The main thing I am not used to is a tour where all the riders ride together behind a guide and with a sweeper rider at the back (this is like trail riding off-road) The adventure bike tours I have done were run different, each rider was given a GPS with all the routes and waypoints. During the morning briefing we were told at which waypoint we’d meet up, the final waypoint being the hotel. If the route was easy and not complicated we’d only meet at one or two waypoints. If the route was more complicated like Mongolia we’d meet frequently at waypoints. This way everyone rode their own speed stopped for breaks, coffee or pictures at will. Interestingly enough even the really fast biker often arrived last due to stopping for pictures etc. I really like this way of travelling in a tour. It’s taken some getting used to the way Motolombia organise their tour, where you ride and stop as a group. This is not a complaint it is simply different and I am sure suits a lot of people.

So I had a really shell shocked day. I’m not a huge fan of fast mountain twisties but try doing them in Colombia with a group of riders all of who have min 30 years biking experience and do twisties at 80 – 90 kms/hr, then add a myriad of huge Colombian trucks to the mix. I think I ended the day with post traumatic stress disorder. However there were some great views along the way.

Salento, Popayan and Pasto: My first overnight stop with the group was in Salento, what a lovely town. The day we arrived was a holiday and the town was in full celebrations, full of people, music and festivities.

 This lady is making a caramel sweet similar to marshmallow, quite tasty but SWEET

 On the hill overlooking Salento
The next morning we went to a coffee plantation for a tour which I can highly recommend.

ready to get picking

11895996_793453834055967_1753675381199142877_n Brian grinding the coffee
I spent the day riding with the sweeper guide, Roberto. He walked me step by step through twisties, gearing, breaking and watching my line. I also spent a lot of the day following him to get the line right. It was a great day and has done wonder to help me improve my technique and speed. I will never do twisties at 100km/hr or overtake on a blind rises but I am not no more than 5 mins behind the group. I have had to just live with being slower since my justification is that if I wipe out no helicopter it going to arrive in 5 mind and take me to a hospital in 15, plus it means the end of the my 8 month trip. I am just not comfortable going at the same speed as the group and also not willing to take the risks, but then again I don’t have the experience they do so they can handle it.

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