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2020 World Tour

Old 10-09-19, 02:43 PM
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Aerohip
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2020 World Tour

Hey everyone. I'm turning 60 in November and plan on retiring next Summer. I want to ride Vancouver to Mexico, Central America then South America. Then it's off to Europe. I'm a little wary doing this alone. Anyone interested in joining up with me for parts or even all of it? Who wants to see the world?
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Old 10-09-19, 05:52 PM
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I wish I could.

My kid is still in college :-) too early unless you want to make a sizeable donation :-)
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Old 10-10-19, 12:42 AM
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This kind of thing is tough to coordinate unless you have a partner you match up perfectly with in terms of your traveling styles, or you have some incentive to stay together like they are your wife or child. If you are on major touring routes you will inevitably meet up with people on the road. If you get along with them and you go about the same speed, have the same daily mileage goals, etc, you can hook up with riding partners on the route and travel together for as long as it makes sense to do so.
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Old 10-11-19, 06:21 AM
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If not already done, you can post a "Companions Wanted" ad on adventurecycling.org. Also my understanding is that when riding the Pacific Coast you will make accointances that you will keep seeing on the road and at the Hiker Biker sites.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
This kind of thing is tough to coordinate unless you have a partner you match up perfectly with in terms of your traveling styles, or you have some incentive to stay together like they are your wife or child. If you are on major touring routes you will inevitably meet up with people on the road. If you get along with them and you go about the same speed, have the same daily mileage goals, etc, you can hook up with riding partners on the route and travel together for as long as it makes sense to do so.
this comment is very relevant. You have to be very realistic about all of the ins and outs of sharing a trip with someone.

this aspect of a trip aside, I strongly suggest that you read and browse as many trip journals as possible about travelling in Latin America to give you concrete information on all kinds of factors that should be taken into account.
Crazy guy on a bike, is a great start.

in the meantime, if you are serious about the possibility of doing a trip like this, right away look into some Spanish classes where you live and start as soon as you can. Having some working knowledge of Spanish is one of the most important things to have and to help you and to enrich the travelling experience.
This is one thing that you can do now, at the same time as planning this and planning that.

I gave a talk once on my trips and this was a point that I emphasized to the mostly young crowd who showed up.
Don't put it off, learning a new language takes a lot of time, especially harder as we are older, and its all baby steps which is totally normal, but the more time you have, the better.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:59 AM
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South of the US border has higher risks. Riding with others is probably a good idea, but no guarantee you won’t still run into trouble. Personally, I would avoid much of Mexico, Central and South America, but would like to ride certain areas some day, such as Patagonia.
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Old 10-11-19, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
South of the US border has higher risks. Riding with others is probably a good idea, but no guarantee you won’t still run into trouble. Personally, I would avoid much of Mexico, Central and South America, but would like to ride certain areas some day, such as Patagonia.
+ 1. Patagonia and the south of Chile would be cool. I'd be concerned about Mexico and much of Central America.
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Old 10-11-19, 01:12 PM
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I have done several trips with a former co-worker, we both are about the same age, similar philosophy to life, etc. Yet, sometimes we get pretty angry with each other. We are talking about doing a trip this coming summer, I think there is a 50/50 chance it will happen. I have more endurance than he does, but he has more speed at the start of the day. Overall we both like to go about the same distance in a day.

But two of my last three trips I did solo, and going solo means you do not have to have a committee meeting to decide itinerary or change of route or change of schedule, or type of food, or budget for lodging, or distance to travel the next day, or whether or not to take a layover day, or any of the other dozens of small decisions that have to be made every day. There were days on both those solo trips where if my friend had come along, we would have had serious arguments on some of the longer distance days.

If you do find a traveling companion, you may have arguments about whether or not each is carrying his or her fair load of gear or doing a fair amount of effort. I find the best way to avoid such arguments is by having a goal to do 10 to 20 percent more work than your traveling companion.

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
South of the US border has higher risks. Riding with others is probably a good idea, but no guarantee you won’t still run into trouble. Personally, I would avoid much of Mexico, Central and South America, but would like to ride certain areas some day, such as Patagonia.
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
+ 1. Patagonia and the south of Chile would be cool. I'd be concerned about Mexico and much of Central America.
Totally agree. You hear of most people saying their trip was great and no problem, but even if only one out of 20 people had a really bad experience, I would rather not go there and take the risks.

I am starting to think about Patagonia for a trip, but I would fly down there and start there. If I do go there, it would likely be solo.
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Old 10-11-19, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
This kind of thing is tough to coordinate unless you have a partner you match up perfectly with in terms of your traveling styles, or you have some incentive to stay together like they are your wife or child. If you are on major touring routes you will inevitably meet up with people on the road. If you get along with them and you go about the same speed, have the same daily mileage goals, etc, you can hook up with riding partners on the route and travel together for as long as it makes sense to do so.
+1

In 2016, I set off from Prudhoe Bay for what would become an 18-month, 27000km bicycle trip to Ushuaia (scc2ush.com). Some general comments:
1. I would second placing a posting in adventure cycling "companions wanted". I've done this twice.
- The first time was a cross-Europe/Asia trip. I received ~15 replies. There were 3-4 serious possibilities but for variety of reasons it ended up being one other person. This worked OK, but we also needed to figure out our respective "styles". As it turned out she was a faster cyclist than I and what worked best was me leaving earlier in the morning, her catching up and us eventually camping in the same place. We didn't mix other gear, e.g. each had our own tent, so we had ability to travel independently if needed. We even did that accidentally for 11 days when we lost each other leaving Kazan Russia.
- The second time was my Pan-American trip. I received ~50 replies. However, partially because I posted a good amount of time in advance and partially because the Americas are sort-of different trips placed end-to-end (e.g. Pacific Coast, Mexico, Central America, Columbia, Peru, southern South America). So it was tougher finding anyone specific. If I did it again, I'd probably post a "companions wanted" for Baja first - and see what happened before then posting a Mexico/Central America one... I did agree to start with someone from India in Prudhoe Bay and see what happened. As it turned out, we separated from each other on first day and didn't quite meet after that.

I've definitely met quite a few fellow travelers on the US Pacific Coast and also several in Baja. I also rode off & on with some people I met along the way in Argentina. Some sections in Central America ridden with someone else and some parts in Ecuador with my brother.

Second the notion of Spanish classes in advance. In addition, southern Mexico and Guatemala among other places also have language schools with an option that might be helpful. In my trip, I ended up with some additional classes in both Oaxaca, Mexico and Bariloche, Argentina.

Another alternative that adds a fair amount to costs, but otherwise a good experience is a supported ride like TDA global cycling who is crossing South America from July 2020 to December 2020. I ended up riding with TDA from Puerto Montt Chile to Ushuaia in 2017 which worked well for me. I had previously also ridden with TDA across Africa and China.
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Old 10-12-19, 06:45 AM
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It's inevitable. Virtually every time that someone comes here and mentions biking in Latin America and particularly in Mexico, folks who have never biked in Latin America feel compelled to issue dire warnings. You can bet on it. I've biked in Latin America 8 times, including a tour earlier this year in Colombia. I've toured in Mexico a few times, and toured in several other countries in South & Central America. Yes, there are regions I would personally avoid in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and at this time, all of Venezuela. But there are plenty of regions I've either already biked in or wouldn't hesitate to bike in. I would ignore blanket irrational fear from folks on the internet who've never been.

The OP doesn't say if he already can speak Spanish. If he doesn't, I second djb's comments about attending a language school. I attended a language school in southern Mexico and another school in Costa Rica. I lived with a local family each time. The experience was rewarding and I improved my Spanish sigificantly. A couple of towns in Guatemala are well known for their many inexpensive language schools.
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Old 10-12-19, 09:30 AM
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I'm with Axo here, and lets not forget another important thing for the fellow from Edmonton, of having a good sense of observation, situational awareness, and good old common sense for getting a feel for an environment.
Its hard for someone who has never been to Latin America to assess stuff at first--the language is foreign, everything is different, its hard to evaluate what is dangerous and what is not....I realize this, but at least reading as many trip journals from bike tourists will give you some good basis of stuff and experiences, and will help you pick up what to expect and what to see and experience.

before the internet, we just winged it travelling in latin america, and learned on the fly---that said, you still have to not be clueless, but then this touches on personal responsibility and ability to look and learn , and to be able to deal with travelling in other cultures, you cant just learn it all by surfing the net.

Edmonton guy--we dont knwo if you will ever really do this trip, but it is doable, and being informed as much as you can for routes etc will help a lot.
I also suggest becoming as knowledgeable hands on wise of taking care of your bike and fixing stuff, know your bike inside and out, and be confident that you can deal with stuff--added bonus is that by knwing your bike well mechanically, it drastically improves the chance of NOT having mechanicals, and knowing the signs of small clues of stuff to deal with before they become bigger.
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Old 10-14-19, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I'm with Axo here, and lets not forget another important thing for the fellow from Edmonton, of having a good sense of observation, situational awareness, and good old common sense for getting a feel for an environment.
Its hard for someone who has never been to Latin America to assess stuff at first--the language is foreign, everything is different, its hard to evaluate what is dangerous and what is not....I realize this, but at least reading as many trip journals from bike tourists will give you some good basis of stuff and experiences, and will help you pick up what to expect and what to see and experience.

before the internet, we just winged it travelling in latin america, and learned on the fly---that said, you still have to not be clueless, but then this touches on personal responsibility and ability to look and learn , and to be able to deal with travelling in other cultures, you cant just learn it all by surfing the net.

Edmonton guy--we dont knwo if you will ever really do this trip, but it is doable, and being informed as much as you can for routes etc will help a lot.
I also suggest becoming as knowledgeable hands on wise of taking care of your bike and fixing stuff, know your bike inside and out, and be confident that you can deal with stuff--added bonus is that by knwing your bike well mechanically, it drastically improves the chance of NOT having mechanicals, and knowing the signs of small clues of stuff to deal with before they become bigger.
Oh this trip is a 100% go....barring anything serious happening. As for the negativity... Yeah, I've had sooo many people warn me that I'll get robbed or kidnapped or even killed in Mexico or Latin America. I'm more afraid of going through the US, truth be known. And yes, I'm very mechanically inclined. And yes, I am taking Spanish lessons with a tutor here in town. I've also read probably every Journal on CGOAB of people touring through Mexico. So I'm ready...
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Old 10-14-19, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
It's inevitable. Virtually every time that someone comes here and mentions biking in Latin America and particularly in Mexico, folks who have never biked in Latin America feel compelled to issue dire warnings. You can bet on it. I've biked in Latin America 8 times, including a tour earlier this year in Colombia. I've toured in Mexico a few times, and toured in several other countries in South & Central America. Yes, there are regions I would personally avoid in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and at this time, all of Venezuela. But there are plenty of regions I've either already biked in or wouldn't hesitate to bike in. I would ignore blanket irrational fear from folks on the internet who've never been.

The OP doesn't say if he already can speak Spanish. If he doesn't, I second djb's comments about attending a language school. I attended a language school in southern Mexico and another school in Costa Rica. I lived with a local family each time. The experience was rewarding and I improved my Spanish sigificantly. A couple of towns in Guatemala are well known for their many inexpensive language schools.
I've started learning Spanish here with a Mexican fellow who is tutoring me this winter. And yes, I have sooo many people saying I'll get robbed or kidnapped or worse... I dont believe the media hype. Of course I'm not naive, I realize there are areas to stay away from. I'm more afraid of riding through the US!
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Old 10-14-19, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
South of the US border has higher risks. Riding with others is probably a good idea, but no guarantee you won’t still run into trouble. Personally, I would avoid much of Mexico, Central and South America, but would like to ride certain areas some day, such as Patagonia.
Honestly? I'm more afraid of riding through the US than Mexico or Latin America.
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Old 10-15-19, 03:57 AM
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Old 10-15-19, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Aerohip View Post
Honestly? I'm more afraid of riding through the US than Mexico or Latin America.
I’m not making this up.Which countries are safe for bicycle touring? - Worldbiking.info
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Old 10-15-19, 07:56 AM
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On the bottom of that ridiculous link are the words:

"This information was gathered as part of a (non-scientific) poll carried out on the Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking Facebook page. Participants were asked to mark which countries on the World Economic Forum's list of dangerous countries they would feel safe visiting."

Fortunately, the many touring cyclists I met in Colombia this year while touring myself, were better informed than a bunch of idiots on Facebook.
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Old 10-15-19, 02:43 PM
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unless you come across a SAINT do it on your own,you can argue with yourself but you'll always win.
best of luck on your big tour stay safe and enjoy every pedal stroke.
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Old 10-15-19, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerohip View Post
Oh this trip is a 100% go....barring anything serious happening. As for the negativity... Yeah, I've had sooo many people warn me that I'll get robbed or kidnapped or even killed in Mexico or Latin America. I'm more afraid of going through the US, truth be known. And yes, I'm very mechanically inclined. And yes, I am taking Spanish lessons with a tutor here in town. I've also read probably every Journal on CGOAB of people touring through Mexico. So I'm ready...
cool, thats all great stuff to be doing. If next year you really do end up heading off, ask questions, some of us will be happy to answering honestly and with a reasonable amount of personal knowledge that might be of help for routing and other stuff. You can always private message also.
cheers

happy shoveling ;-(
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Old 10-16-19, 10:22 AM
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If you haven't found it yet, there is a Facebook Group "Bike Touring Americas: Alaska to Patagonia"

Participants in the group include a number of people also currently on tour. So I found it useful in the sorts of questions like "anyone have difficulties crossing border between Peru/Bolivia" or "what is the latest on roads in Bolivia altiplano". It seems to replace an earlier email list that went dormant.

On the topic of security, I agree with taking fears of those who have never been with a grain of salt.

During my 18 months and 15 countries, I didn't have cause for concern - and if anything would be at least as concerned about traffic as anything else. What I did do before I left is read probably 100 different blog accounts as well as at least half a dozen books. I also browsed the email list and facebook list for any accounts as well. Most everyone was fine, but there were a few incidents reported. Anything from a bicycle stolen in Portland USA to a notorious spot in northern Peru people mostly avoided. There was a certain amount of just happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Overall, it was much more overweighed by accounts pointing out concerns were overblown.

I didn't do anything specific with my incident list but kept a mental note of a few hot spots. I am normally cautious, but I would be slightly more cautious in those hot spots (typically not an entire country but more particular areas). For example, here was my account of one such spot in Peru - Trujillo - A bicycle ride across the Americas In that case, I chose to bicycle through in the morning, keep my camera stashed away and not camp next to the road. But overall, didn't notice anything and best I can tell nobody has reported from that hot spot since 2014.
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