Finding bike buddies for a long trip: Canada to Argentina
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 19, 2012 1:29 PM Last Post By: katiebliss
Jul 22, 2012 11:00 AM
Finding bike buddies for a long trip: Canada to ArgentinaBasically, this is the plan:
Biking from Canada to Argentina at some point during 2013. I am looking for people who would like to join in on such a trip.
I am a 34 yo Danish native who speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently. Hence, meeting locals and getting socially involved along the trip shouldn´t be too hard.
Also, I am currently looking for sponsors. You do not necessarily have to do the same - unless you desire to do so. However, you would have to understand that the idea is that I want to bring attention to the dire straits of the endangered wildlife animal species in many places of Latin America, and I want certain media coverage of my visit to such ´wildlife places while riding down through the Americas.
I expect the jouney to last anywhere from 4 to 6 months. It will be done on a low budget, meaning camping out most nights with very few hotel and or hotel stays. Couchsurfing might be a good friend along the way.
Please let me know if you take an interest in this project and/or if you wish to come along. I think it would be even more fun sharing this experience with one or several other people.
I am not an experienced cyclist - I used to play soccer. Thus, I do not expect for you to be a Lance Armstrong kind -of -rider yourself. I assume that the average distance a day will be around 80 kilometers.
Let me know of your interest......
Jul 24, 2012 7:37 PM
1Anders, you don't mention where in Canada you are intending to start your trip or end it in Argentina but I met a guy trying to break the record for the shortest trip between Deadhorse and Ushaia. We encountered each other about four days out of Deadhorse and he was already looking wild-eyed and crazy. The existing record at that time was140 days, if I recall correctly, which is something like four and half months. So if you want to enjoy yourself I think you might want to reconsider your schedule - there won't be much time to get socially involved or met the locals on your current one.
Jul 25, 2012 4:03 AM
If you only have 4 to 6 months, you'd be better off picking a few areas, having careful regard to the weather and where it would be nice to cycle at that time of year, having a tour around each area for a while, and then flying on to the next. Or else just choose a trajectory suitable for the time you have 4-6 months would be enough for Santiago to Lima (via NW Arg and Bolivia) for example - though choose it carefully in relation to the weather in the period you hvae available.
Jul 25, 2012 7:01 AM
3@Iviehoff and australian:
Thank you for your relevant feedback. It is nice to see you take an interest and care to reply.
I just had another look at the road map and from the looks of it, it does seem to be a bit longer than I expected. Around 18.000 km all in all. However, Iviehoff, I disagree with you suggestions for two main reasons:
1. The whole idea of this project is for it to be an overland haul. No short or local coverage is in my interest. I want to raise eyebrows and feel myself I did something grand. Hence, local routes are completely out of the question.
Santiago-Lima, as you suggested is roughly a 3000 km stretch, something I see myself able of doing in a bit more than a month, if I really put my mind to it. Hence, such a trajectory def. doesn´t make up for the overland adventure I was aiming for.
2. Consider doing 80 km a day trying to cover 18.000 km. The math is simple: 18.000 /80 = 225 days. Of course, this is 2 months more than I expected from the outset – and I should adjust accordingly – but it is nowhere near the 16 to 20 months you suggest.
The idea of doing this tour is to combine the social interaction and biking wonders one would get from this – but the main focus will be on the road. However, taking into consideration that at an average speed of 20 km/hour (low estimate) one can do 80 km on the road in four to six hours every day (including winds, difficult terrain and breaks into the equation) leaving 18-20 hours a day for eating, sleeping and walkabouts. I have spoken to experienced, long-distance tour people on this topic , and they agree that if your focus is on the tarmac, it shouldn´t be a problem doing 80km a day on average – still leaving time for social interaction.
As for starting and ending destinations I plan on starting on Prince Edwards Island (not too far up) in Canada while ending in Posadas just across the border from Brazil/Paraguay (where I used to live myself) at the wildlife hospital that will be my main recipient of donor money and attention along the road. The idea was to go down through the American east coast, cross over New Mexico and Arizona to catch Baja California in Mexico and cruise down past Acapulco on its western coastline - then through Central America to Panamá. I know these countries well as I used to live here, which means I understand the conditions that will be thrown at me.
Next there is a boatride for Colombia from where I will head for Venezuela and Trinidad/Tobago. Perhaps spending a few days on the Caribbean beaches.
From Venezuela I go south – towards Boa Vista and Manaus in Brazil. In Manaus I will place the bike on an Amazon ferry taking me to Belém. From Belém in northern Brazil I aim to do the Brazilian coastline to Rio de Janeiro from where I will eventually head into Argentina – marking the end of an epic journey.
As I speak both Portuguese and Spanish, and I know from own experiences of Latin hospitality, I am sure many great experiences are to be had.
Of course, in places like the Caribbean, New Orleans, Acapulco or the Panama Canal, I won´t just ride right through. I too would like to see and experience such places. But I find it unlikely I would spend more than one day hanging around anywhere unless something truly extraordinary should occur.
The plan is not 100% carved in stone yet, but I was aiming to leave somewhere in between April and June 2013 meaning that there will be no cold spells during the trip. It would be Spring/Summer time in Canada and the US as I leave, and it will be Spring/Summer time as I arrive in Argentina. The northern part of Argentina never really gets cold anyways.
I hope you do not see this as a negative feedback – I am merely telling you how I see this in my head. You are, naturally, welcome to comment on any part of this.
Jul 25, 2012 7:09 AM
Jul 25, 2012 9:19 AM
I suggest it precisely because it is a route compatible with the 4-6 month timescale you mention, and is extremely interesting cycling, far more interesting than the mostly flat lands you propose travelling over.
But even 2,400km a month, even on good tarred roads, is a lot of cycling. I think it is a good idea for health reasons to ensure you have a day or two off a week. And if you don't want ot stop for a day or two from time to time to see what there is to be seen, to go for a walk instead, you are an obsessive cyclist rather than a traveller on a bike. Since you aren't yet an experienced cyclist, you don't know which you are, but rather more likely the latter. I would suggest an average of 2,000km a month is more realistic.
You badly underestimated the Santiago-Lima route beacuse the additional distance and difficulty of cycling in the Andes rather than straight up the Pacific route is extreme. A more realistic adjustment outside major mountain ranges to convert the main road estimate into a practical cycling route is about 20%. So if your 18,000km is a main road distance, it may be something more like 22,000km in practice for a reasonably pleasant cycling route. I also argued for 2,000km a month for a pleasant time. So we are now up to 11 months, which is what I guessed at the top of this post.
Ecuador, but you aren't going there. In most of these cases the problems are localised. You need to research where you must keep away from. In this sense the USA is just the same, there are places, eg suburbs fo Miami and Chicago, you just wouldn't go because it was unsafe. Venezuela is a bit different, there it is often the security forces themselves that are often involved in extorting money from foreigners.
But why take it from me? There are plenty of American long distance cycling travelogues out there you can get an idea from. Some are on crazyguyonabike.com. Some others - mainly Latin America but also some trans-continental tours - are linked off this site: http://www.transamazon.de/links/
Jul 25, 2012 10:35 PM
I've been on this branch for a few years and the regulars here usually give very good advice. As I am not a very strong cyclist, I even cut down the estimated distances proposed by the regulars. I suggest that, even if you are very strong, prepare a contingency plan, such as flight, bus, etc.
Jul 27, 2012 3:46 PM
I've just been reading through this thread, I'm not going to add much just some quick comments based on our experiences.
We rode 35,000kms in 19 months through some of the toughest routes in the Andes and Rockies avoiding tarmac as much as we could. This averages at 1850kms per month but this is a little low as we can account for at least 100 days off the bike. If you're on tarmac I think 80km is very possible, our longest day on tarmac was 180km. Your plan is very possible in my opinion!
Colombia is relatively safe, take basic precautions and ask the local police and army about safety locally.
The rainy season is a miserable time to be in Central America on a bike, if you can avoid it that would be best but if not you'll make it work just be prepared to be wet from both the rain and humidity all the time.
Jul 28, 2012 6:18 AM
8A couple of comments... First, if you're looking for this to be anything but a leisurely ride, it'll be difficult to find others to join you. Second, I second the motion that your time period (particularly 4 months) is...not well thoughtout. Even if you bike 6 days a week, 100kms. a day, it's still too little time. Back in '99 when I planned to bike from Venezuela to Tierra, I believe I planned out 10 months. 80 kms. a day (the average for tourers) to do the length you want isn't going to be possible. You've picked a good daily average, but not total time period. You're going double the distance.
You haven't mentioned if you've toured before - big factor in all this. If not, I highly recommend you do some smaller tours first. This will NOT be an easy trip and you'll come upon all kinds of situations you don't expect (from weather to logistics to bike mechanics). Lots of people have biked from Alaska to Tierra - I think that's the most common route. There was a guy about 10 years ago who did that route, but as fast as possible. He had a site up, don't know if it's still existing.
Even if you don't want to stop to smell the flowers and see what you're passing, still take our advice and revise your time plan.
Jul 28, 2012 7:36 PM
9I don't know if anyone is questioning whether or not you can ride 80km a day - although 80km/day seven days a week is another matter - but I question your estimate of 18000km from Canada to Argentina. How did you arrive at that? Maybe as the crow flies but not by any road system that I know of. If you're going to stick to pavement the whole way you might be able to cover some ground fast but it sounds like a miserable trip to me. Have you accounted for elevation in any way? Have you ridden a mountain range or two already?
Just food for thought.
Jul 30, 2012 1:17 AM
10Overall average of 20 km/h on a cycle tour is not a low estimate. My data from South American trip (statistics) show average of about 18 km/h on tarmac and 11 km/h on gravel. However, 80 km/day seems quite possible, you'll just have to cycle longer each day.
Aug 2, 2012 11:24 PM
I would like to join you as I have a similar trip planned. I'm currently in Singapore on business and can not write a long message, but if you are interested talking to me I'm sure you can message me on here. I've been living in Asia for the past 8 years and well adapt at traveling. I was going to ride Africa, but my partner bailed, so i will travel Africa by other modes of transport and will be finished by April. Just in time for the trip. I have spent a long time planning a similar trip and it's not likely we can finish the trip in your estimated time, but i would still be happy to join you.
Oct 15, 2012 10:45 AM
12Anders, I am also riding through the Americas, though I am going to be starting from my home in Kansas and riding west, then south. We might be able to meet up some where along the way. I'm interested in your purpose and might be able to help you.
I have to second, or third, the cautions about your timeline. I am giving myself a healthy year and a half to get from Kansas to Tierra del Fuego. Here are my reasons:
I did a google maps track of where I plan to go, and though I might spend a bit more time in Mexico than you, I get 20,000 km. In Peru and Argentina I just used straight lines; these are certain to add more miles. And again, I am not including Canada.
Here is the route, but note it might bring your computer to its knees :)
80 km a day is no problem, but you cannot do that every day and expect to have very much time for meeting locals or exploring wildlife areas. Especially in the winter, you will be spending a good portion of your daylight riding. You'll also need to spend time planning, updating a blog, and working on any research. I'm personally planning on 100km a day with a rest day at least once every ten days.
You also need to take into consideration sickness, repairs, and other setbacks. It's pretty likely you'll get sick at least once; I hope you don't have any major repairs, but that is also a possibility. You'll need to spend some time waiting for visas, too, I think. I'm not sure what the visa situation is for Danish nationals.
I'm also going to spend some time in certain areas: a week in the Grand Canyon, a week in Macchu Picchu, for example. Who knows when I'll be back, right?
So, 20,000 km/100 km = 200 days + 20 rest days. That's 8 months, and I really think that is a bare minimum.
That's just numbers, but I think a more realistic estimate can be based on this guy's trip through South America
He took almost exactly a year to ride from Tierra del Fuego to Colombia.
He's got some great stats.
Anyway, I hope your plans work out. Contact me if you'd like to try to meet somewhere.
Nov 19, 2012 1:29 PM
I am considering a similar trip, although perhaps just a section of it - potentially flying in to mexico and out of lima. I have done a few cycle tours in the past, but nothing quite as epic!
I am also interested in your mission and have a similar idea for a passion of mine. I have lived in central america and am planning on looking for a place to stop for a while at the end of the trip.
What stage of planning are you at? Still looking for companeros?
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