Just retired and traveling by bicycle

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zippymon
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Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by zippymon » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:04 am

Hi, my name is Jim Lane, I just retired as a firefighter/paramedic and am going to spend this next winter bicycling my way south from Bolivia to Patagonia. I'm flying into Santiago, busing it to San Pedro then ride over the pass to Salta and then south via hwy 40 and the carretera austral. I'm hoping to find a good language school along the way.

Vicki and Greg Lansen
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:07 am

What is your ETA? You might find some helpful folks along the way if we know when you are arriving!

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greg~judy
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by greg~judy » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:43 am

~
g~j, as long-term bike tourers (single and tandem)...
will offer you the 2 most crucial pieces of advice we can...
* don't use 700c wheels (the carretera austral eats those for breakfast) use 26" wheels...
* pull a single wheel trailer (rather than overloading big panniers)
no doubt, for all other details, you will assiduously plan~prepare yourself & your bike...
:idea:

btw - these family~folks did a wonderful trip...
look back at their old panamerican journal entries...
(at least those from bolivia to the end of the earth...)
some excellent info to consider/enjoy...
http://familyonbikes.org/blog/wp-conten ... ne/map.htm
http://familyonbikes.org/blog/journal/journal-entries/

some generic~general stuff...
http://www.bicycletouring101.com/

some so-am specific tales...
http://www.transamazon.de/links/
LZ end4 sm ac.jpg
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ryanar
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by ryanar » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:36 am

On the off chance that your planning hasn't already taken this into account, don't forget that San Pedro is located at over 2000m above sea level. Give yourself a few days to acclimatise before heading up the hill to Paso Jama and Argentina.

On the subject of the road to the Chilean border, the quality of the road out of San Pedro is excellent. It features a loooong and continuous climb out of SP up to around 4500m (or thereabouts) before "levelling off" for the run to the pass. Don't underestimate this either. There is usually a rattling gale blowing up there, from W to E, so that should work in your favour!

You will be sharing the road with a large amount of Argentine and Paraguayan trucks, so be careful!

The view into Bolivia (yet another Laguna Verde) is spectacular and is usually as far as I go before returning to SP - my partner usually feels ill from the altitude (hint)!
Peligros de Licancabur.jpg
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As the photo shows, you might want to give some further thought to any plans of off-road camping in the area!

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ryanar
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by ryanar » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:38 am

The view from Chile to Bolivia, en route to Paso Jama...
Bolivia.jpg
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Ripsigg
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by Ripsigg » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:58 am

ryanar, did you do it by bicycle as well?

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ryanar
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by ryanar » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:59 pm

No, I'm far too lazy to do that. I've done it on the motorbike one time, and have resorted to the car in more recent times due to an increased passenger capacity being required.

zippymon
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by zippymon » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:21 pm

I'm flying into Santiago Nov 1, if anyone has a good lead on a bike friendly small hotel/hostel I might book a room for a couple of days and store a bike suitcase I'd appreciate it. I'm also looking to do a couple of weeks of spanish classes around Puerto Montt before I head down the carretera, once again I'm open to suggestions. Thanks in advance, Jim

Aysen
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by Aysen » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:04 pm

First off, welcome to the forum Jim!
Second, I believe you're in for a pretty nice trip. At least judging from the number of folks we see doing that during our summer. Most of them are from Europe and it isn't unusual to see a dozen when we go to Cisnes.
All I can advise you on is the stretch from Chaiten to O'Higgins. The rest you would be better served getting from others.
I suspect you already have experience in this kind of trip, I hope you are expecting to be rather isolated during many stretches on the Austral Highway. Services can be few and far between. As usual, I think most of the danger you will face will be from vehicles. Some folks are pretty scary around here, especially the tourists. And you will also encounter rain. We average 10 feet a year so it's just a matter of how much rain not if.
The stretch from just south of Chaiten is rough gravel. You'll spend a lot of time dodging potholes. Fairly easy terrain with a pass to cross just N of Santa Lucia. Sta Lucia is where the turn to Futelefu is. A worthy side trip if you have time.
N of Puyuhuapi is the Quealat pass. Switchback up hill and down, VERY pretty stretch. Coming from the N as you will be there is a nice waterfall 100m from the road just as you start the ascent. Also just before the descent is "El bosque encantado". Not much of a sign but well worth a stop. If you want the 1.5 hour hike you can make it to a glacier.
Once you get to the Cisnes turnoff the highway is paved. Probably worth a side trip to Cisnes to re-stock as there really isn't much until Manihuales. Also a nice stretch and mostly paved.
The pavement lasts until Villa Castillo and you wont' see any more for a Long time.
Coyhaique is our major city in Central Patagonia and has decent infrastructure.
Although it will be a pretty trip I suspect it's a tough one. Of the many folks I've seen riding it I think I've only seen one smiling. And that might have been a grimace, I'm not sure.

zippymon
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by zippymon » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:05 pm

I usually smile !! Thanks for the info, my plan was to continue on from O'Higgins back into Argentina, head down to Puerto Natales and catch the ferry back up to Puerto Montt. I'm still researching the track over from O'Higggins but it sounds like its open and calling to me.

bones
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by bones » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:14 pm

The border crossing from Villa O'Higgins to El Chalten is pretty straightforward and definitely do-able with a bike.

First, take the ferry across Lago O'Higgins to Candelario Mancilla. I would recommend the side trip to the glacier if you've got the time. A lot cheaper than a lot of the other glacier boat trips. When I did it back in '08, the ferry stopped at Candelario Mancilla 1st, then the glacier trip, back to Candelario Mancilla, then back to O'Higgins.

At Candelario Mancilla, you can start out straight off towards Argentina, or camp right above the landing and go the next morning. The Chilean customs post is pretty much right there. For the stretch from there to Lago del Desierto, I would recommend putting as much of your gear on a horse and biking/walking. Much of it you could ride on an unloaded mountain bike.

Hit the Argentine customs post at Lago Desierto, then take the boat across and catch the bus or bike to El Chalten. You won't have any problem with your bike and gear, there are tons of riders traveling that route. In Villa O'Higgins there are agencies that will sell you the whole package too.

PM me if you want any advice for places to check out along the Carretera.

Aysen
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Re: Just retired and traveling by bicycle

Post by Aysen » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:48 am

The trailer sounds like a really good idea to me. Don't see too many of them and it does add another piece of equipment but the folks using them don't seem to be struggling with the load as much.
Depends on how much you plan to carry. I've see everything from folks going super light (with a fat wallet) to panniers so loaded I wondered if there really was a bike under there or not.

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