Colombia bound

Returning to South America to Colombia’s glorious history and present, not least of which is bike culture but then again culture in a thousand more ways—a highlight for so many. A short holiday span, 1100, dirt tracks asphalt Bogota Medellin Cartagena mountains heat Caribbean Christmas sunshine dance breath eat, the slow speeds that traveling fast and light afford, is credit card cyclocross bikepacking a category yet?

If you’ve been, let us know your favorite places.

20 thoughts on “Colombia bound

  1. Cartago was the only spot in the country I thought I’d get mugged. Really good soup in Turbo. Popayán to Tulcán is mountain central and super beautiful and there’s like a million blogs about riding to/from the Casa de Ciclistas out there (and rightly so). I was there in June 2010 and the two north/south valleys were hot as shit and anywhere up in the mountains greener and lusher and cooler and awesomer. My border crossing from Panama was a bit of a snafu and I was given 30 days instead of a more common 60 or 90. You can re-up from 30 to another 30 in any of the big cities. (I am assuming you’re a US citizen like myself.) I would love to ride the mud roads that go into southern Venezuela.

    • Hey Dylan, Thanks for this beta, definitely helpful and I appreciate you taking the time. I’m hoping that we’re going to get a chance to pedal together somehow sometime.

      All best,

  2. Many, many places are recommended – mostly accompanied by Tinto (sweet, black coffee). Mocoa-Pasto road, San Agustin, Desierto de Tatacoa…. Have a look at Cass’s stuff too. (am sure you’ve checked all of this out) Say hello to Angelica and Claudio in Bogota for us if you pass that way (Casa de Ciclista/Warmshowers). Looking forward to hearing your take :-)

    • Thanks, Tom. I’m likely to try to hit you up for more details, maybe a Skype call? Truth: I expect that figuring out what bike to take is going to be even harder than figuring out where to go. MC will be on her brand new Cross Check…


      • Joe
        If you wait until tomorrow, you can chat to both of us :-)
        As Sarah would opine – choice brings indecision… Both are luxuries :-) Cross Checks look good – your folding 29er with comparable wheels to MC’s??

  3. You are truly spoilt for choice! If you like intertwining your hills with your cycling heritage, Bocaya is where it’s at. The ride there from Santander, via the aptly-titled San Juan de la Montana range, is a gem. And of course, don’t miss Bogota on a Sunday – Ciclovia is smile-inducing.

    • Can’t wait for a update on your latest (not necessarily cycling) adventure, my friend! Thanks for this hint on Colombia—of course, your photos and words are the main reason we’re going. MC on a cross check (!).

    • Thanks, Eric. This one will be lighter, faster, maybe a bit less rugged, but hopefully still psyched about dirt tracks, villages, culture. Bogota and Cartagena on the route; you know, us New Yorkers like cities…

      Hope you and fam are well, happy Thanksgiving.

    • Howdy Anna, glad to hear that you’re on the move! Yes, I’ll hope to run into you. Once you have a sketch of a route, let me know and I’ll do the same.


  4. Hey Joe,
    I could imagine that you will like the trip from Mocoa to Pasto. Long climbs, dirty dirt road, you’d have to cross creeks and stuff. We still made it with our tandem. Also the area around Mocoa seems to be really beautiful. We had to bus it due to a lack of time but people are very friendly and the scenery between mountains and the Amazon baisin is stunning. Make sure to check out the safety stituation beforehand, we were told afterwards that we are stupid to go there. But then we saw only soldiers and police men with weapons…
    Also, we liked the flat valley of Rio Magdalena. Not many tourists, increadible heat, basically no cyclists there. But even more people who are very open. At that point we were sick of mountains. Again, check the safety thing.
    Hope you enjoy, we wished we had had more time in Columbia
    Anne and Carsten
    PS: if you end up in Bogota, say hello to Claudio and Angelica. They might also still be in contact with Yaizee, a guy from Caracas who might help you out with stuff on Venezuela…

  5. And so another adventure begins! I would like to hear about your gear list and the set-up on the Cross Check. I am headed for Los Angeles next week for familial duty and going sans bicycle, something that I am less than happy about. But family first, of course…but if I had a Traveler’s Check…

    Also details of your flight, packing…these are the little notes that experience brings and are well worth passing along. Joe, I look forward to reading about your comings and goings in Columbia. Have fun!


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