June 2nd, 2015
The majority of the scouting on the trip has now been completed. The general tire recommendations for your bicycles which were made in an earlier bulletin remain true. However we’d like to give a few more details of the roads in each country.
The Undiscovered Country
For those doing the full tour or starting their sections in Colombia, we can not recommend highly enough that you put in some serious hours of cycling in the next month in preparation. It is a very hilly, challenging start to the tour and the fitter you are the better time you will have and the healthier you will remain. Approximately 75% of the route is paved, however a lot of the pavement is not smooth tarmac and will have some potholes, uneven surfaces or short stretches of gravel. The unpaved portion of the route is hard packed dirt with rocks in areas. You’ll need your wider tires for these stretches and your brakes should be in top shape for the descents.
Coffee and Cocoa
Very similar to the previous section, we will have about 75% paved roads.
We are looking at about 75% pavement with the main amount of off road being in the mountains of Peru north of Lima.
The Gringo Trail
This stretch is about 95% paved, however as we climb up out of Nazca towards Cusco we’ll face some detoriorating roads with gravel stretches, potholes etc…
We are lucky to cycle almost entirely on paved roads, including our journey past Lake Copacabana.
Cycling the Salt Flats
Approximately 60% of this section is paved. The unpaved portions are a mix of quite rough rocky roads, and even some sandy stretches near the Salt Flats. The Salt Flats themselves are unpaved but the surface is very smooth.
Across the Andes
This section is approximately 85% paved. A good chunk of the portion that is not paved is a very tough stretch as we are getting closer to the Chilean border. The paved stretches are for the most part well maintained and in good shape.
The Lake District
This section will have about 85% pavement, with most of the paved stretches in good condition.
This section has the most off road of the tour. Approximately 55% is paved, with the rest being a mix of gravel, hard packed dirt and even a stretch of narrow trails when crossing the Chilean/Argentinian border!:) You’ll spend a fair bit of this section on your wider tires.