Monday, 14 December 2015

Ridus orribilus

Phewy! What a way to start our adventure. We were off and on our way by the crack of 10.30.

 Getting sorted & packed took a while as we worked out the best way to strap Mel's cheapo Halfords panniers onto her bonky rack. We got there in the end though and after running out of any more excuses and straps to fiddle with, we thought we better head off.
I don't think there is a nice way to cycle out of the city. We used as many of the back streets as we could to avoid the main choked up periferico but eventually we had to take it. Flippin eck it was horrible. A fast, aggressive 3 lane highway with no shoulder that was full of exhaust belching manic buses and trucks.
Guatemala City sits at 1500m and we'd been going up a bit all the way out of the city. The really climb started though just as we joined this monster road. To be honest, I think it's the worst road I've ever cycled on. I'd waited years to experience the Pan American Highway. All romantic notions of riding it's full length from Alaska to the bottom of Argentina were demolished in seconds!
After about 10km of constant climbing we pulled into a supermarket for a bit of a rest. We sat outside on the pavement drinking water and sharing a bag of dry granola breakfast cereal - the only half sensible food we could find to buy. God only knows how Mel felt what with 7 hours sleep in the last 48, jet lag and total disorientation. She's a bit of a 'head down and get on with it' trooper though so not a whinge was heard but I reckon inside she was dying a bit.

A rare moment of quiet on the road 

I focussed on the good bits. The trucks hurtling past with crazy loads, the little local ladies walking at the roadside with huge parcels balanced on their heads. The road sign to Mexico. All the things that made the ride worth the terrible conditions.
Eventually a narrow shoulder appeared so we could actually get out of the way of the hurtling traffic. The climb continued relentlessly. We peaked at 2100m, so a total climb of 600m, which I'd estimate 400m of it was done over 15km.
Eventually it levelled out and at the junction town of San Lucas we pulled into a very modern and swish coffee shop for a well earned bit of aircon, cappuccino and biccies. Yummo!
Then it was down, it was bloody steep in parts. We're in the lovely old town of Antigua now, back at 1500m. We were braking all the way down but I still got to a max of 62km/h over the 10km 550m winding jungle descent.
This place looks promising. Loads of lovely old buildings and cobbled streets (great to look at, horrible to ride on). So, enough blogging, better get out and explore.


  1. While you are cycling in the heat I have been reading about a lady called Helen Lloyd in my local paper this morning. She cycled across Siberia in the winter! Here is a link .

    1. Hi Nina. We know Helen, she is lovely. We've read her book of cycling through Africa and now her Syberia book is out. She's currently out on a big motorbike ride!

  2. What a start! Somehow missed your first few posts. Thought you'd been quiet!