Biking the Worlds Most Dangerous Road (at 60km/hr!)

La Paz Travel Blog

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Woke up bright and early for our mad biking adventure!!

It is estimated that before the new road opened at least 200 - 300 people died on this road every year. Bolivia´s worst accident was apparently on this road, where in 1983 a bus veered off the road and killed over 100 people. The road itself is a reminder of this, as it is littered with crosses and memorials to those who perished.

We booked with Barro Bikes ($45USD) and rocked on up to the office for our breakfast which was included. Met the rest of the team we would be with for the day which made 6 of us in total.

It was about an hour drive to the start. It was freezing weather (although we were at about 4,000m above sea level so go figure)! We were kitted out with all the gear - pants, jacket and another pullover jacket, gloves and of course helmet.

I must say we looked pretty cool compared to the 5 or so other companies also there to do the same thing as us.. and even then overrated´´Gravity Assisted´ group didn´t compare. This company has been overly suggested time and time again to us for apparently being the best company. That may or may not be true, but in all honestly for more money they got only what we did (but apparantly no food as one of the guys told us on our tour as he had checked them out) and if you wanted everything then you had to pay about 80USD... and the groups were huge compared to us.

We started on a sealed road which was pretty scarey at times because of the traffic (not that there was much though). It was so cold, we were seriously freezing at this stage. We then got onto the gravel road which was the real ´death road´ and I must admit I was terrified of coming off my bike.

The road
Some of the group were reall fast, and we both ended up being at the back for most of the ride.

Amazing scenery, and as we decended more and more we got into the jungle where it was quite humid. The road itself is narrow in some parts, with waterfalls at the sides on some corners. Nothing that dangerous in our opinions for road biking (unless you are some sort of nutter who want to hoon round the corners.... oh yes we did see some of these idiots), although it does look quite scary if you decide to peer over the edge. Our guide stopped us and showed us the wreakage of the most recent vehicle accident which occurred about 1 year ago where about 5 people died. There is little traffic at all on the road now as a new route has been opened (apart from the vans for the biking tours which follow behind the group).

Nathan to the left and of course my geeky self to the right!
In fact, we didn´t see any other vehicles until the very end of the road. Our guide told us that about 10 people have died while biking the road, the last being about 6 months ago.

Our guide told us we would have reached up to 60km/hr at times (and it did feel like it at the end)! But don´t worry Mum... along the dangerous part of it we were going much MUCH slower than this. You can pick up speed at the end as there is no steep drops.

Once we had finished we were taken to this gorgeous hotel (Esmeralda) for showers, a swim or sauna if we so wished and a delicious buffet lunch. Pure bliss!

As we got back into the van for the ride back to La Paz it had started to rain.

Finished!
And rain it did! Engineers must not have taken into much account the conditions of the jungle when they designed the new road as there were still slips, the road most of the time was in desperate need of re-sealing due to the heavy rains and water coming down from the mountains. For a ´new´ road it looked as though it was about 10 years old and hadn´t been touched since! You can see though a lot of money has gone into it, with a very long tunnel, and lots of supports everywhere. It took us about 3 hours to get back to La Paz.

We soon re-booked into our hotel, got a taxi to get out takeaway pizza from Eli´s and ice cream from Dumbos (superb... white chocolate, snickers, oreos and even orange flavour which tastes like fruit bursts... we are in heaven) and back to watch cable TV. How we miss English television, we have become devoted fans of ´Two and Half Men´ and ´The Big Bang Theory´

 

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The road
The road
Nathan to the left and of course m…
Nathan to the left and of course …
Finished!
Finished!
Yeah!
Yeah!
Before setting off
Before setting off
Nathan
Nathan
Nathan
Nathan
Me walking... I was so tired. C´m…
Me walking... I was so tired. C´…
La Paz
photo by: wilfredoc2009