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Old 12-06-06, 10:20 PM   #1
wmcmiii
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patagonia--tires for conditions

I hate to seem like one of those people with lots of questions and no answers, but here comes another question:

In less than a month I am biking from Santiago down south, hopefully all the way south. Can anyone who has done this route tell me if my bike will probably make it? I have a Nishiki Cresta (touring bike) with 27'' x 1 1/4 wheels. I ordered these tires to ride on http://store.airbomb.com/mmAIRBOMB/I...e/q/TR2101.jpg which are 1 3/8 wide. From looking at people's photo galleries of similar trips I think EVERYONE has been riding a mountain bike with even fatter tires. Should I be worried? Abandon all hope?

Thanks to everyone who has helped me prepare for this trip!
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Old 12-07-06, 01:44 AM   #2
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I spent several months riding there many years ago. I rode a Schwalbe Marathon model that were about the same width, and found they were slightly too thin. A lot of the country roads are either dirt, or covered in very fine rock which caused occasional steering problems. This was exacerbated by using a trailer- I had a very stable rear and a skitterish front.

Nothing that I couldn't handle- it just proved frustrating occasionally. Were I to do it again, I'd use a slightly wider front. And panniers!
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Old 12-07-06, 09:11 AM   #3
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I rode a mountain bike with Avocet inverted tread tires when I toured in Patagonia. I think my bike and tire selection worked out well, because although I was riding the majority of time on paved roads, there were times when I had to ride on unpaved roads. The surface and material of the unpaved roads varied. On at least one soft, almost sandy road, it was pretty hard to ride (with any bike, I suspect). Other dirt roads hard a much firmer surface.

I don't know how much time you have, but if you are limited, you may want to consider taking a bus (usually very easy in Chile) for a considerable distance south from Santiago, and begin riding there. (I biked in a zig-zag pattern between Puerto Montt and Temuco that included crossing the Andes twice to go into Argentina.) Most cyclists rave about the Carretera Austral south of Puerto Montt.

I wouldn't "abandon all hope" by taking a touring bike, though if you intend to ride the Carretera Austral, you may want to reconsider your bike choice. If you look at the maps for southern Chile on the link below, you'll see that the road is mostly unpaved. From looking at the maps further north, however, it appears that there are a lot more paved roads than when I was there 11 years ago.

In case you're unaware of the excellent Turistel maps which are online, here's the link: http://www.turistel.cl/v2/secciones/mapas/index.htm
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Old 12-08-06, 06:45 AM   #4
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are the roads in Patagonia really that much worse than e.g. the gravel-roads in New Zealand?

what i mean is this, i'm currently planning to go to patagonia early 2008.
i was planning on taking our bikes there
and yes.. they are bog standard 28" tourers.

we took 'm to New Zealand, used them intensively on the gravel-roads there, without any problem.
but if conditions in Patagonia are REALLY that much tougher... we'll have to rethink our plans i'm afraid.

have a nice day
jurjan
edited for clarifying why i'm asking

Last edited by jurjan; 12-08-06 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 12-08-06, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurjan
are the roads in Patagonia really that much worse than e.g. the gravel-roads in New Zealand?

what i mean is this, i'm currently planning to go to patagonia early 2008.
i was planning on taking our bikes there
and yes.. they are bog standard 28" tourers.

we took 'm to New Zealand, used them intensively on the gravel-roads there, without any problem.
but if conditions in Patagonia are REALLY that much tougher... we'll have to rethink our plans i'm afraid.

have a nice day
jurjan
edited for clarifying why i'm asking
The bikes seem perfectly Ok to me. The Careterra Austral is not very well maintained, lots of pot holes ruts and rocky sections. and extremely hilly.


I rode marathon XR 1.9, most of the people I met there rode some type of Marathon XR.

But with the trailer and the hills I had a couple of problems with streering at speed downhill.

Go! Enjoy!

george
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Old 12-09-06, 02:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcmiii
I hate to seem like one of those people with lots of questions and no answers, but here comes another question:

In less than a month I am biking from Santiago down south, hopefully all the way south. Can anyone who has done this route tell me if my bike will probably make it? I have a Nishiki Cresta (touring bike) with 27'' x 1 1/4 wheels. I ordered these tires to ride on http://store.airbomb.com/mmAIRBOMB/I...e/q/TR2101.jpg which are 1 3/8 wide. From looking at people's photo galleries of similar trips I think EVERYONE has been riding a mountain bike with even fatter tires. Should I be worried? Abandon all hope?

Thanks to everyone who has helped me prepare for this trip!

You may find that finding 27inch (700) tyres a problem in Patagonia, nearly everyone down there rides 26in. mountain bikes. so you may consider carrying a folding tyre as a spare.

george
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Old 12-09-06, 07:41 AM   #7
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thanks George..

and my excuses to wmcmiii for threadjacking...

have a nice day
jurjan
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Old 12-10-06, 11:35 PM   #8
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thanks for the replies all, and no worries jurjan.

My friend and I are bringing 3 spares between the 2 of us, because I had a hell of a time finding good 27'' tires that were suitable for offroad. There's a whole lot more in the 700 size, and no folding offroad tires in the 27'' size--luckily the wire bead tires can triple fold over into a package just about 8 inches across.
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Old 12-11-06, 08:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurjan
are the roads in Patagonia really that much worse than e.g. the gravel-roads in New Zealand?
The roads aren't all that bad (well, they get pretty rough in some out of the way places, like the sneaky way into Torres del Paine NP). It's the !@#$ wind that you've got to be careful of
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Old 12-11-06, 05:32 PM   #10
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I was really afraid of a wind, but a friend (who is an avid biker) went backpacking there last year and he said that it wasn't much worse than our Oklahoman winds. Today the wind was gusting up to 25mph on my 25 mile ride. Luckily I've had a lifetime of Oklahoma winds to prepare me!
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Old 12-11-06, 06:26 PM   #11
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The winds are a problem mainly in the Argentine part of Patagonia, not Chile (except the southernmost part of Chile). They are worse the further south you go, and as you move a bit east of the mountains. They are typically from the west. In northern Patagonia (e.g. Puerto Montt), the winds were negligeable on the Chilean side, but around Bariloche, there was a moderate westerly wind. As I biked east of Bariloche, however, the wind picked up noticeably, and biking back westward toward Chile was tiring.

I spent a few days in the south around Punta Arenas along the Straight of Magellin (in December). The wind was audible 24 hours a day. Even indoors, you could hear it. It would drive me crazy to live there. I read that the winds down there are fairly calm in the southern hemisphere winter, however.
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Old 12-11-06, 11:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcmiii
I was really afraid of a wind, but a friend (who is an avid biker) went backpacking there last year and he said that it wasn't much worse than our Oklahoman winds. Today the wind was gusting up to 25mph on my 25 mile ride. Luckily I've had a lifetime of Oklahoma winds to prepare me!
Well, if my experience was normal, you will be riding the right direction. I rode South - North in Jan 2000 and head headwinds most the way. My partners had ridden down from Santiago and had tailwinds for much of their journey.

Axolotl's account matches my very fuzzy memory- it tended to be really windy on the Argentine side, and down by Ushuaia.

OK winds sound like they don't have much on Patagonian winds. We recorded gusts up to 125kph on the worst days! That was quite exceptional though and only happened for maybe 2 days out of 60, and it was fun rather than frightening.

You'll have a great time. If you speak any Spanish, you should be able to talk your way into all manner of interesting accommodation- farms, fire stations, football stadiums. And nothing beats the local carmelised milk in plastic bags for energy food
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Old 12-12-06, 02:19 AM   #13
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threadjacking again..
i'm planning to go from north to south, i think i'm right in saying this'll mean the least chance of terrible headwinds.
did any of you fly in chile, or argentina? or did you use the busses?
we were planning (for the moment) to fly to Santiago, bus to Osorno, then bike to Ushuaia (or Punta Arenas if time's too short) and then fly back to Santiago.
we hope to have5 weeks, do you guys think this is adequate?
aargghh... must not threadjack...

sorry guys, have a nice day
jurjan
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Old 12-12-06, 03:18 AM   #14
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Juran

I flew into Santiago , there is a train down to Puerto Montt ( sometimes) but it always goes to Temuco. That's not far from Orsono.
I bused down to Puerto Montt then got a Navimag ferry for 4 days to Puerto Natales, lets you have arest and see parts of Chile you would not normally see.
Then more buses and cycling to Ushuaia

The cycle in the north of Tierra Del fuego was 140 km from Porvenir to San Sebastian on gravel road, with the wind most of the way, cross winds stopped me sometimes, 10 hours for the trip, take lots of water, nothing but ranches.

Coming back I did 60 km in 10 hours and got blown off the bike 4 times, the gusts are very strong.

Cycling North South from Chalten to Calafate then down to Rio Turbio was strong headwinds and gusts again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwvdf52J0s4

Patagonian wind, just a few seconds, look at the dust in the background.

Near Rio Turbio is a deep gorge, going downhill, I had to pedal like I was going uphill, stood up on the pedals just to move. A german guy I met later said he had the same happen to him.

The noise gets to you it seems to be relentless, I agree I would go crazy living there with the noise all the time. and there is not much shelter to be found

Patagonia, where birds fly backwards.

Have a great trip

george
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Old 12-12-06, 07:36 AM   #15
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Yes, north to south is good.

I flew into Ushuaia from Buenos Aires and rode north. Getting bikes on buses was not hard. Although it's just as easy to hitch hike- we would easily get rides on trucks of varying sizes (again, some Spanish is useful here).

Do try to make it to Ushuaia- it's the southernmost town in the world and quite pretty.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:04 AM   #16
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george, thanks for the info and the clips.
womble: we'll try to get to Ushuaia.
it's good to know that busing with bikes is easy.
and we'll be learning spanish before going (we like to be able to at least TRY to talk with the 'natives').
but first... we'll be learning bahasa indonesia, since we'll be going there next year.

have a nice day
jurjan
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