Today I was very late to pick up my clothes and backpack and everything else washable from a laundry in Panguipulli. Great service, but price close to England! It’s ok – according to people at the reception of my holiday home I was staying, it was maybe the only place in town. After that had a long phone call with the family while was waiting for someone to serve me Restaurant y pizzeria Florencia.
When I was finishing that nice steak a family of four walked past. The father said something in spanish to his teenage son pointing at my fully loaded bike. They had a chat and decided to stay at the same restaurant. The man kept looking at my bike and then again saying something to his son. After a while he turned to me and said something in Spanish. I replied with my usual “poco español”. He thought for a few moments and then pointing to my Gensis Longitude said in in English – it’s my dream! I did’t know what should I say back and just answered what I thought was a very honest answer – Just do it then! The man made this very sad face as we all do when we are kids and pointed his finger at his wife. We all started laughing, including the wife 🙂 Then we had a good chat about bike touring and where I’m planning to go next. The kids being translators 🙂
Since I booked my flight from Santiago to Valdivia some time ago it was supposed to be an easy relaxing day. It was not. I woke up a little late after going to Club 23 bar the night before. And I maybe had one cocktail too many. No, I think I didn’t. But that was fine as it was planned. First thing after I woke up was trying to pack the bike. When you know you only got enough stuff to carry on the bike you don’t stress about that much. It doesn’t take too much time.
I took the box outside and started disassembling the bike. The man came to watch. We had a chat. An American. In a dessert camo clothes. You could tell from the army. Flew back last night from Afghanistan. Used to do bike touring himself in “young days” and was impressed with the size of WTB Trailbrazer 28 tyres. By the time I finished packing the bike his friend arrived and they left. Apparently his hotels are paid for him and he was leaving for a little more posh option.
As my friend suggested I ordered the more expensive version of Cabify for the trip to the airport as they normally have bigger cars. Yep, the car was easily big enough and only about 28000 pesos. Really good price for the journey. I paid about twice the opposite direction. The catch – neither Cabify nor Uber(I think Uber is illegal in Santiago, but apparently still exist) allowed to drop you off at the airport drop off place. I only know this because the diver spoke to my phone while waiting in a traffic jam. And the phone tried to translate it.
So a bus ride to the airport from somewhere I don’t know. I didn’t know how much is going to cost.
Luckily the bus was free – I was dropped at the official airport car park. Cabify driver helped to take THE BOX onto the bus. Then while already driving on a tight corner the box hit some other passenger, but he was ok. Just grumpy.
A little late at the airport, but it’s fine it is a domestic flight. The girl at SKY counter asked me to put me the box on the scales… and boy I was happy that they didn’t weight back home at Heathrow! Paid some $$ for exes weight. Went trough security with almost no trouble – they always stop me because of the laptop, cameras, chargers, batteries and amount of cables I carry.
And so I was sitting on the floor at gate 28 of Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Or Santiago International Airport. Finally relaxed. With a beer that had my destination written on it 🙂
Top tip – don’t worry that Valdivia airport is more that 35km away from actual Valdivia. At the airport there are so many taxi services competing. With extra charge for my bike box I paid 18000 🙂
The hostel I was staying in Santiago has some bicycles that are free to use for those staying there. Wasn’t sure about them being single speed, but decided to give one a go anyway.
All paperwork sorted – there was a fair bit, deposit paid. I added my Garmin and bottle cage as you have to drink a bit when there’s 30 degrees outside and you are cycling. And the I went to explore a bit of Santiago. No direction, no route planned. Just going the opposite direction from the famous Plaza Baquedano as told by the locals.
I don’t think I ever ridden a bike with such skinny tyres – maybe 20mm max maybe even less 🙂 I was worried to get pinch flats all the time, but roads and especially cycling paths in Santiago are quite good so I was fine.
One thing for sure, in Santiago, and I image the rest of the Chile you probably need more than one gear to really enjoy it.
Just a couple of pictures of me testing my brand new, ok, ex-demo Genesis Longitude. It is a tank! I’ll write a bit more about it later, but here is what I did on a second day owning this great go-anywhere bike.
While preparing for the Transcontinental race No 5 in 2017 I did this “why not” weekend ride to Paris. It was great and I would do it again, but maybe with some route alterations. There is a little story even before I started to pedal. My mum was visiting for a week and I agreed to take her to the Luton airport in the morning. For a 6AM fligh. Not much sleep then? Good preparation for my TCR attempt! After the goodbyes at the airport I drove back home to Reading, changed into lycra, jumped on my Fairlight Strael and rode to Portsmouth.
The weather was perfect. Dry, sunny, but not too hot. Surprisingly light traffic on the roads. Some very pretty villages on the way and uphill parts in the South Downs National Park.
I pedalled to Portsmouth pretty much non stop as I didn’t want to add any “I’m being late!” stress to my journey, it was supposed to be start of the fun riding weekend after all.
After just shy of 80km riding I was at Portsmouth harbor where people at the border control kindly asked to come into their office and show them the contens of my Apidura saddle bag. I know I do look a litttle dodgy.