Hitch-Riding – Part One: Thumbing Out Of Trouble

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Travelling by bicycle is the most enjoyable way to see a country. Except when it’s not. If you tour long enough, eventually, you’ll have a bad day. Whether it’s torrential rain, intense heat, bad drivers, swarming insects, broken gear, illness, injury, fatigue, or just plain boredom, the time will come when you’ll want to stop […]

Hitch-Riding – Part Two: Etiquette

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In Part One we discussed the whens and wheres of hitch-riding. Now, let’s look at the whos and hows.   Choosing And Approaching Drivers When you’re thumbing out on the road it’s hard to see drivers’ faces. Better to go somewhere you can walk up to a driver, such as a gas station or restaurant, […]

How The Heck Do You Pronounce Yby Ya’u?

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Places with strange, hard-to-pronounce names are intriguing. Kaa-lya. Xcalak. Torixoréu. Parangaricutirimicuaro. A location seems more exotic when you go to say its name and your tongue doesn’t know what to do. You feel more curious about going there; and more adventurous for having gone. What sort of adventure awaits in Joyabaj, for example? Or in […]

Boozecycle Touring…Does Alcohol Have Any Place In Adventure Cycling?

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We all know that alcohol negatively affects cycling performance. It increases the risk of accident by slowing reaction time and impeding agility. It has a dehydrating effect that can cause muscles to cramp. And it leaves the cyclist feeling sluggish and impervious to pain. So, we shouldn’t drink and tour, right? Not necessarily. Let’s not […]

Dog Days on the Road

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Riding south on Peru’s coastal highway. Miles of hot, flat, yellow desert to my right. Good road surface, good speed, I’m feeling good. But wait, what’s that in the distance? A small dust cloud, jet-streaming across the desert floor toward me. And what’s that noise? Sounds like barking. Dammit! Here we go again – I’ve […]

Blades Of Glory: Machetes Demystified

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My Latin American tours usually start in this order: (1) Ride out of the airport. (2) Find food and water. (3) Buy a machete. (4) Find somewhere to spend the night. If they sold machetes at airports, it would probably be number one. In fact, if it didn’t raise so many eyebrows at airports, I’d […]

Border Crossing Hassle-Minimization Checklist

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Here are some lessons I’ve learned after crossing every border (and almost every border crossing) in Latin America over the last two decades. I’m not going to discuss specific crossings because there are too many to mention and crossings are constantly being added, expanded, or even removed. (But please add any specific information you feel […]

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