We meandered out of Ushuaia roughly a year ago, here’s the year in numbers:
7,764km “Officially” cycled together. Chris did more but we’re not counting those.
356 Days on the road.
117 ‘Pasta Red Sauce’ dinners consumed.
52 Flat tyres. Roughly.
42 Big Macs. Hide your disgust, they’re delicious.
20 Broken spokes.
13 Instances of ‘Delhi Belly’. God bless Imodium.
9 Teeth filled. 5 of the fillings have since fallen out.
8 Kidney stones passed. Ouch.
7 Busses taken. Whatever.
3 Serious arguments.
2 Dead bodies seen.
1 Tooth removed.
And a ride in a big yellow truck.
Which leaves us with about 10,000km to go.
And the awards…
Colombians. We were going to vote for Peruvians, but Colombians seem to view driving into each other as some kind of national sport.
Worst drivers toward cyclists
Peruvians. It was like cycling with a giant target on our backs.
Colombia. The road is fine 90% of the time, yet the other 10% seemed to be modelled on London after the Blitz.
Argentinians regularly sport mullets, rattails, and half-shaved heads.
Chris – Cycling across the Sechura desert in Northern Peru. 164km covered, assisted by some rather marvellous tail winds.
Mel – Any day riding with Chris.
Chris – The cycle out of La Paz. His first ride at altitude nearly had him in tears on five separate occasions.
Mel – The ride out of Bariloche. A blistering headwind, sandstorms, and then a scorpion in the tent.
Most frustrating day
The ride to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. 2 punctures within 30 seconds of each other plus a snapped spoke led to Chris kicking the shit out of his bicycle. It didn’t make the situation any better.
We were going to give this to Carlos, the ‘mechanic’ in Santiago who so effectively took our money but didn’t fix our bikes, but we have to give the award to the seven year-old Bolivian who took to Chris’ cranks with a hammer and chisel.
The “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery award” for shambolic tour operations
The appalling effort of trying to get to Machu Picchu. A terrifying seven hour bus ride, followed by a three hour walk along a working train line, a two hour wait for the guide to turn up, and then a further hour trying to get back our passports.
Best tourist attraction
Off the bikes has to be Iguazu Falls in Brazil, which are simply breath taking. On the bikes has to be the Perito Moreno glacier in El Calafate, Argentina.
Just outside of Calama, where we screamed at each other for a full half an hour causing passing motorists to slow down.
Best country cycled
Ecuador. Short and sweet. Special mention to Chile, which lost points from for being overly long.
Worst country cycled
Peru. Unfriendly people, crappy food, and God-awful driving.
We were going to choose Chile, as the distances on their road signs often increase the closer you get to the destination but then we remembered that Peru doesn’t even bother with them, so they win.
Most affectionate people
Chileans. Visit any square to witness the locals canoodling like there’s no tomorrow.
Hotel Violet in Arequipa. Unbeknownst to Mel, she had checked into a ‘Love Hotel’ for a week, and had to suffer the sounds of Peruvians getting it on during a fertility festival. Ouch.
Most bizarre conversation with a local
The Colombian cyclist who pulled us over for a chat, asked where we were from and then decided to tell us about the years he spent in the UK prison system for various drug offences.
Most bizarre scene upon waking in the morning
New Years Day 2013, we awoke to the sight of emus chasing sheep around a field.
Most popular blog post
The one where Melanie gets really sick. What is wrong with you people?
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To all that have read our posts, commented, followed us on Twitter, or liked us on Facebook, we would like to thank you and wish you a happy and prosperous 2014. Here’s to the next part of our adventure.
Chris and Mel – 31/12/13