Isn’t The Cycling Enough? Why I Work Out While I Tour

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Several people have asked me to write a fitness-related article. Apparently, I appear “athletic” in some of my photos and some of you have wondered if it’s from all the bike touring. It’s not. No, the reason I’ve resisted writing about fitness is because I don’t want to send the message that you need to […]

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 […]

Is Latin America Really A Dangerous Place To Bike Tour?

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“So, did anything happen?” It’s the first question most people ask about my tours in Latin America. Of course, what they mean is, did anything bad happen? They want to hear stories of being robbed, assaulted, arrested; anything that confirms their suspicions of all those dangerous countries down there. And, although I know exactly what […]

Dead Cops And Donkey Backs (A Guide To Speed Bumps)

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I’ve put this one off long enough. Of all the concerns we’ve addressed in El Pedalero there is one critical issue that remains unexplored. That’s right. We need to talk about speed bumps. What do they look like? What hazards might they pose for cyclists? But first, what are they called?   BY ANY OTHER […]

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 […]

The Road Kill Zoo

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To stare into the eyes of a wild animal in its natural environment is a thrilling experience. I’ve had close encounters with flamingos, sloths, howler monkeys, quetzals, guanacos, giant toads, giant stick insects, and once even a jaguar. Sadly, however, a lot of the “wildlife” I meet in Latin America is not alive at all. […]

Fill’er Up And Go! Why I Love Gas Stations

Altiplano Gas Staton, Bolivia

What is it about gas stations? Even though they represent everything I despise, I love them! When I’m riding Latin America’s lonely rural roads for days at a stretch and I come across one, concerns about pollution, greed, and globalization become overshadowed by concerns about food, water, and toilet paper. The first thing I do […]

Pitch Perfect: The Myth of the Perfect Campsite

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Searching for a place to camp with two other cyclists in Cuba one afternoon, I discovered a near-perfect site. It was an area of dry, sheltered, level ground next to a small, clean, tree-enclosed river with a waterfall the perfect height for showers. It was out of sight and earshot of the road, yet it […]

The Best Gear is Crappy Gear

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In the Yucatán I met a couple of young American bicycle travellers, Lee and Jakob, who were on their way to Cuba. I’d just come from Cuba so they asked me for route suggestions and advice. What impressed me most about these guys was their gear, and not because it was good; it wasn’t. It […]

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