In the last few weeks I started to cycle more and more again. I can stay inside with my laptop for days, but I also have this strong feeling about exploring being outside, doing exercise.
And it started to snow here in Patagonia! Coyhaique is covered in snow. Another incentive to go for a ride. The good thing is that even if it is snowing, the temperatures are not very low. No ice under the snow. Enough grip for my massive WTB tyres. You can feel a slide here and there sometimes. But it is nothing like you get on a muddy cyclocross race in late autumn in England. Oh an the tyre on CX bike is probably half the width than on Genesis Longitude.
So that is what I did – went out on “The Tank” and enjoyed Patagonian winter.
Side note on WTB Trailblazer 2.8 tyres on WTB sti wheels. They are tubeless and filled with Stans no tubes sealant. The last time I remember using the pump was in January – exactly 6 months ago. And I only did that because I was using lower pressure for gravel road crossing from Chile into Argentina. After that the road was smooth tarmac again I decided to go with the higher pressure.
Before South American trip I was a little worried about abundance of stray dogs in Chile. I visited the country before and was a little surprised by the number of dogs on the streets anywhere outside Santiago. They are everywhere!
I was preparing mentaly and physically to meet them on my travel. By physically I mean I went to a pet shop and bought some dog threats 🙂
But I was nicely surprised how stray dogs really do not care about you most of the time. Ok, when the sun starts going down they become more scared and some start chasing you, but during the day they just lay by the side of the road and ignore you.
The further I went on my trip the more often I realised that my bike attracts lots of very friendly dogs. And then it hit me – I have these nice and smelly dog treats in my Apidura food pouch! I am sure it is impossible to a dog, especialy a hungry dog not to smell them, so like in Puerto Varas, my bike was always guarded by a few local friends 🙂
After the steep gravel bits were behind me I started to enjoy great weather, the views of beautiful Calle-Calle river and finally a smooth tarmac.
My destination was Los Lagos. Cycling friends who went the opposite way and whom I met in Valdivia told me that Los Lagos was just an ugly grim place with not many shops or places to sleep. Not what I was expecting. There are two different things – what you read on the Internet and what is real! On the Internet it wasn’t looking that bad! I was carrying my tent – they did not, so I felt safe. But they were right. The place was ugly. Probably still is. The guy from AirBnB texted me telling that there was as mistake and there is already someone staying in the room I booked. Nice. I asked if he knows any nearby campsites. Nope. But he said I can camp in his garden. Good option as it was already starting to get dark. Then I had to stop at the temporary traffic lights because of some bridge repairs. On the intersection of three major roads. Stuck in traffic on a bicycle FFS! People were out of their cars, walking around, chatting. Since I was going opposite direction some asked how long is this jam. About 5km according to my Garmin eTrex 30 GPS… Then further into the madness I saw a little car flashing lights. I stopped. It was the guy from AirBnB. He was waiting in that queue trying to find me. We loaded all my heavy bags into his little car. But there was no room for my bicycle. He told me it’s only a couple kilometers and he will leave his car on the side of the road so it is easier for me to find the place. Such a relief – I have a place to camp and I do not have to carry anything on my bicycle. My heavy bicycle felt like a Formula 1 car! Then suddenly another car is flashing lights. I stop – hey! Es mi amigo. This time with a big pickup truck! He put my Genesis into the back of his pickup, pointed to me to get in and just shouted – vamos!
The owner showed me a grass pitch in his garden and asked if it’s good enough. Then left and came back with a light so it would be easier for me to pitch the tent, gave instructions for the next day and left.
As soon as the tent was up a curious little dog came out of nowhere to check who is that stranger 🙂 Looks like everyone in Chile has at least one, especially in rural areas.
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.
In fact 3 weeks later.
The bike is on the plane on the way to Santiago, Chile.