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Cycling in Colombia in summer 2017

Ubaté – Zipaquirá – Bogotá

On 31 August I had the last ascend to do – on the route from Ubaté to Zipaquirá, and up to an altitude of 3084m. The beginning of the route was reasonably easy, but from the village of Sutatausa on I had to climb up until shortly after Tausa – more or less 10km to ascend from 2600m to 3084m. It was not too hard, but the traffic got annoying at times because the road has not hard shoulder on the side, and at time large trucks overtook me (luckily not too fast due to the ascend).

The last 2km of the ascend are pretty relaxed, and pass through what looks like a mining village. 

Barbosa – Chiquinquirá – Ubaté

On 29 August I had the ascend from Barbosa (1600m) to Chiquinquirá (2600m) – an ascend of more than 30km from the village of Puente Nacional on. I left Barbosa early and began my route for the day. The beginning was smooth, and there is a small ascend followed by a descend to Puente Nacional. The ascend of 1000m from the on is not really that steep (with some exceptions), but long. I had to take a break for breakfast at an altitude of 2200m, and another break shortly before I reached 2600m.

Puerto Araujo – Landázuri – Barbosa

When I left Puerto Araujo it was raining lightly, but it wasn’t a cold rain, so I did not really care. In the beginning the road continued pretty flat, but soon it began to ascend and descend until Cimitarra, where I stopped for breakfast. While I was having breakfast a man began to talk to me, and we ended up talking for an hour or so, until I decided it was time to leave. It’s only 32km from Cimitarra to Landázuri, but I was aware that a harder climb would begin soon ...

El Banco – Barrancabermeja – Puerto Araujo

Luckily I didn’t have to leave too early from El Banco, with the small boat leaving at 8:00am. Nevertheless I got up at 6:00am to have time for some breakfast. Unfortunately, the bakery I had discovered the day before did not open (although the had told me it would). Bad luck. I had a coffee on the street and some food as well, and waited for the boat.

Magangué – Mompox – El Banco

Unfortunately I did not sleep well in the hotel in Magangué, and so I woke up pretty tired the next day. I went to the quay to get the small boat to Bodega and then continue by bike to Mompox. This Monday was a public holiday, so there were few people. I got there at 6am in the morning, and the first boat left little before 8am. These boats only leave once they are full, so with little traffic you have to wait ...

Planeta Rica – Sincelejo – Magangué

I left Planeta Rica on 18 August, initially with the aim to get to Sahagún (72km). It was slightly cooler that day, with some light rain initially. My idea was to get to Sahagún, a small town in the direction of Sincelejo, but also half way to Coveñas, on the Caribbean coast. With the weather being less hot at least initially the day began very agreeable, and the route was pretty easy.

Tarazá – Caucasia – Planeta Rica

Hot, hot, hot! This could be the summary of the last two days. I left Tarazá on Tuesday, 15 August, at 6am, and followed the Rio Cauca. The road was without any major ascends – just some of 20-50m as a consequence of the landscape. There is not a lot of variation of the landscape. There is a lot of cattle farming, and once in a while a village. I stopped at some stage for breakfast, and at 11am I arrived in Caucasia (65km).

Don Matias – Yarumal – Tarazá

On Monday, 15th August, I left Don Matias early. At the beginning it was raining lightly, but the rain soon stopped. It was a day with clouds and sun, and more sun in the afternoon. After the ascend to Don Matias the day before I thought that I wouldn’t need to climb up much any more, but now I’m not so sure. At the beginning I had to climb up to about 2900m, with a steeper and harder ascend at the beginning, and later it got easier. The landscape was wonderful. But my legs were a little bit tired after the climb the day before – and the second day is always the hardest...

Medellín – and the beginning of my cycling trip

I arrived to Medellín on Wednesday, 9th August, in the evening. There was a large queue in front of immigration, but once through the luggage was already there, including my bicycle. I was a bit worried about how to find a taxi big enough for me and my bicycle, but in the end that wasn’t a problem at all. Soon I was on my way to Medellín, where I stayed with a friend. I was very tired, and couldn’t be bothered to do anything with the bike. We talked a bit, and I went to bed early.

Colombia 2017

I have planned to do another cycling trip in August 2017, this time through Colombia. I'm going to start in Medellin and go north from there, in the direction of Cartagena. Later, my idea is to go to Mompox, and then from El Banco in Chalupa to Barrancabermeja. From Barrancabermeja on my plan is to continue on my bike up to Bogota.

Obviously, the route is not fixed. It's an idea, a plan, and I always like to be flexible, and so it is very likely that there will be some changes.

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by Dr. Radut