Saturday, November 18, 2017

Colombia day 9: Descending into madness


Today we fell off of a cliff. Well it felt a little like it anyway, as we took a wrong turn on the way into town and ended up on a long steep descent into Medellín. It actually turned out well as it dropped us near the post office in El Poblado. We've decided to send some of our camping gear back to Bogatá and rely on hostels and hotels for our accommodation for the rest of this trip. This has reduced the weight we are carrying on the bike by more than 12kg which has the side affect of reducing the strain on the rear axle as well as making it slightly easier to go up hills. 
Medellín traffic is as crazy as in Bogatá, but with fewer bike paths. Fortunately we've manouvered a fully loaded Dobbin through London on many occasions, so nothing really scares us on that front any more. It was pretty tame to tell the truth, as the speed of the bike isn't a limiting factor. The sheer weight of traffic is what's slowing everyone down and while we can't squeeze through gaps the mopeds do, we can still go through gaps the busses and cars can't.


Medellín is known as the city of eternal spring - being close to the equator means that it is a pretty similar temperature year round and it's elevation in the Andes keeps the temperatures from getting too high. Ever since yesterday afternoon when we were riding on the plateau south west of the city, we started to see the nurseries and garden centres which abound in this mellow climate.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the centre of town, finding our bearings and wandering along the section of Carrera 52 which dedicates itself to bicycle and motorbike sales and repair. The stock levels in the bike shops were pretty amazing - as well as new bikes and cabinets full of all the components you could need on a modern bike, there were boxes of different axles, bearings and races and all the other odds and ends you could ever want. No spare freehub for a tandem hub which is no longer made though, not surprisingly!


We have 2 nights booked here so tomorrow is a rest day before we continue our travels.