Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bicycle Touring: Love It & Loathe It

Here's what I loved and loathed about bicycle touring on the Caretera Austral in Chilean Patagonia:


  • The big smile on my face as I round a turn on smooth gravel surrounded by majestic mountains, gritty glaciers and luminous lakes
  • Camping alone out in the wild (as long as there aren't too many bugs or those sticker things that cling to your shoelaces & trousers)
  • Camping for free (I'm on a budget, after all)
  • The smooth, effortless switch of a derailleur finely-tuned by yours truly
  • Burning fat for 5-10 hours per day
  • Thinking to myself that the people who pass me in automobiles think I'm a badass (whether it's actually true or not)
  • Seeing the look in people's eyes when I tell them that I'm traveling by bicycle and even more so if they're familiar with the challenging border crossing I made
  • When there are onions in the cheap tomato sauce that I bought at the little store to go with my pasta dinner, cuz the plain tomato sauce really tastes like crap
  • That feeling after a challenging day when the challenging part is over with
  • Bikes!


  • Being dirty and sweaty and stinky all the time
  • Traveling at 7mph on soft or washboard gravel for hours at a time
  • The dust in my face thrown up by passing automobiles, some of whom pass by far too closely considering I'm having a hard time holding a line in soft gravel
  • Sleeping in a tent rarely produces a good night of sleep for me
  • When the bicycle fits me alright, but not as well as I would desire for hours of riding if I had had a selection to choose from when purchasing
  • Horseflies that I can't outrun while climbing a steep hill for 45 minutes at about 5mph