Friday, October 28, 2011

What Makes Colombian Cycling So Unique? Part I

This is the first installment of an ongoing series which will examine cycling in Colombia. Many of you wrote in asking such questions as: "How is the cycling in Colombia?" ..."What is Colombia's cycling culture?"..."How safe is cycling outside of Colombia's main cities?"..."Does the local diet suit endurance sports?"..."How hot are the female cyclists?"...and..."Duncan, I get the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites, but Colombia WTF?!"

So, I'll attempt to answer your insightful questions. I expect to describe around 12-15 unique aspects of Colombian cycling over the next few weeks. Here are the first two (The Colombians and Road Surfaces):

The Colombians
Certainly most European cyclists are very friendly. I met countless cyclists at Le Tour, in cyclosportifs, and on the road. All were happy to chat and share cycling stories. But the Colombians are different. Colombian cyclists go out of their way to introduce themselves to a foreign cyclist. They are curious to know why I chose Colombia and how I learned about it. And they all ask for my phone number schedule a ride for the next week. Several invited me to their houses for dinner and/or to meet their families. I have not met more friendlier people anywhere in the world, including New Zealand.

Road Surfaces

In Europe, you can always count on the road being there. In Colombia, you cannot. Sometimes, the road just doesn't exist. The heavy rains can wash away large sections of road, especially the older roads, on a regular basis. Non-existant roads are only problematic while descending at speed (for obvious reasons).

Debris can be an issue, but its usually far less alarming than a non-existant road.

Stay tuned for the second installment.

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