The past year has been frustrating for everyone, especially cyclists used to travelling the world, discovering and feeling the freedom of the road and the sense of wonder and achievement that can only be derived from riding our bikes in new places.
While virtual travel is just not the same, we have been able to use technology to take us across the world and stay connected with our operational teams and leaders and continue researching, refining and improving Spiceroads trips all around the world. Prior to Covid we had been cycling in Latin America and been captivated by the beautiful countries and welcoming people in this fascinating continent. In many ways, in Latin America, we recognized the attractions of Southeast Asia. A warm climate, friendly smiling people, endlessly varied terrain, great food, beaches, mountains, jungles, lost cities…. and the list goes on. So we made a plan to expand our trips into la América. Then, of course, Covid hit and the world became much more complicated but like all good cyclists, we know that the way forward is to keep pedalling and no matter how long it takes you to get there in the end.
That's why we are absolutely thrilled to be launching our first new destination since Covid struck and we think it is right and apt that our first trip in Latin America is in Colombia . Colombia has been on our bucket list for years. It is a land full of natural beauty, warmth, charm and diversity yet it remains relatively undiscovered despite an extraordinarily diverse landscape and most importantly, we think, Colombia boasts one of the world’s enthusiastic and successful cycling cultures and its people have an appreciation for the bicycle and the beautiful sport of cycling that we share and perfectly fits everything we want to do at Spiceroads. Seeing Colombia by bicycle is to see the world differently and to reclaim the thrill and sense of adventure that travelling by bicycle brings.
Riding the Colombian Andes
Our first trip in Colombia is an all-terrain ride through the Colombian mountains north of Bogota to Bucaramanga in Santander province. Following gravel roads, dirt trails and smooth backroads, our trip is a beautiful Andean journey carefully designed to discover the very best cycling in Colombia, as well as to explore a fascinating part of Colombia.
When looking at Colombia as a cycling destination we were full of images of the great Colombian champion road cyclists such as Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana, Winner Anacona, Fernando Gaviria, Esteban Chaves and Rigoberto Urán to name just some of the current batch of World Cycling Colombian greats. But of course, Colombian cycling has a great history and we also wanted to pay homage to Alfonso Florez, Martin Ramirez and the great Luis ‘Lucho’ Herrera by designing a spectacular road cycling trip. However, the size of Colombia, which is 1.12 Million square kilometres (roughly the size of Texas, twice the size of France and 2.5 times the size of Thailand) and the imposing Andes mountains combined with the relatively low number of roads (Colombia has ? as many paved roads as Thailand) make pulling a meaningful road bike trip together that takes in some of the variety of the countries attractions whilst avoiding main roads a real challenge. That's not to say we won't be offering a road cycling trip in Colombia. We will. But it is a challenge we will spend some time working on.
In the meantime, we have a truly awesome trip which we call Riding the Colombian Andes that ticks all our boxes and does everything we want a touring itinerary in Colombia to do: Mountains, villages, quiet roads, history, mountain trails, canyons, gravel rides, rivers, colonial towns, awesome rides, downhills, uphills and more mountains. It’s a journey from the high altitude of Bogota down into the plains of Santander that is full of wonderful surprises as well as visiting a few ‘must-see’ places such as Villa de Leyva and Barichara with cobblestone roads and timeless architecture and include a cable car ride across the Chicamocha canyon. We have managed to incorporate some genuine cycling history by visiting Zipaquira, the hometown of Egan Bernal and riding the same roads and trails that Nairo Quintana grew up training on. Some of the nice surprises include eating and drinking as we sample excellent local wine and of course experience some Colombian coffee as we visit a lesser known zona cafeteria in the eastern Andes.
At Spiceroads our goal is to deliver a genuine local experience with excellent support and service along the way and we never compromise on the important components of a bicycle trip including comfortable local hotels with charm and character whenever we can as well as providing excellent food and lots of opportunities to sample the local brews. We use good quality bikes and provide excellent support, always ensuring you are well taken care of and have time to enjoy the cycling.
We also know that the quality of a bike ride is as much to do with the people you ride with as the roads you ride on and we have put together a great team of passionate cyclists across Latin America
SPiCEROADS in COLOMBIA
We have recruited some of Colombia's most knowledgeable and enthusiastic cyclists to work with us to design cycle trips that tick all our boxes. Our Spiceroads Cycling Host in Colombia is Alejandro.
Alejandro has been a passionate cyclist since he was a child, starting with BMX and then Cross-country mountain biking and is now a keen road cyclist. He lives in Chia, located between Bogota and Zipaquirá, which is Egan Bernal's hometown and regularly rides the roads and trails that many of Colombia's famed cycling sons have grown up riding and training on over the years as they rose to prominence. Alejandro lives and breathes cycling and is thrilled to join Spiceroads so he can share his passion and welcome guests to his country. Alejandro will be responsible for trip design and ensuring our routes are always up-to-date and optimised as well as meeting and greeting our guests and leading tours in Colombia. A keen naturalist and conservationist, Alejandro has been leading tours in Colombia for over ten years and is a top quality tour leader with a lot of knowledge of cycling, nature and of course Colombia that he is excited to share with you.
MORE OF LATIN AMERICA COMING SOON
We are working on more trips in Colombia including a road cycling tour and another mountain biking touring trip. Our goal in Latin America, as it is everywhere, is to deliver the very best cycling experience possible without cutting corners or compromising on the quality of the overall experience. We have started with Colombia and also have trips in the development stage in Peru. We are finding that some parts of Latin America, especially Colombia and Peru, are more suitable for mountain bikes or gravel bikes as the road network is not as developed as Europe or Asia so you will see a few of these trips coming through. However, we also have several road cycling trips in the works and will be expanding our trip offer to cover the whole continent over the coming months.
Spiceroads is a cycling community with a home base in Bangkok, Thailand and a network of cyclists across the world. We design and operate trips in 34 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. We are an owner-operated company of passionate cyclists that love to travel the world by bicycle and we create and operate all our trips, which are run by local Spiceroads hosts. Spiceroads trips are designed by cyclists for cyclists are suitable for everyone with an appreciation for the bicycle, the beautiful sport of cycling and a desire to see the world by bicycle, which is, as far as we are concerned, the best way to experience life. Come join us on your next adventure