Bike ride down the ´world´s most dangerous road´

Coroico Travel Blog

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The view on the way back up

One of the main day-trips offered from La Paz is to bike-ride down the world´s most dangerous road.  This is a road which starts a little way out of the city at over 4000 metres and descends in just a few hours to the tropical climate found in warm cloud-forest at about 1000 metres above sea level.

The reason its described as the world´s most dangerous road is that almost the entire stretched clings to the mountain face with a huge (up to 600 metres I think) drop if you just put a tyre wrong.  With no crash barriers of course, that would be just too sensible.  And there´s the record of accidents to match this description, most of which are pointed out along the journey down.

If you look very closely you can see a small bit of blue bus at the bottom of this gorge, one of the many victims of this dangerous road
  There is the spot the bus fell off with 81 passengers dying, or the point at which a girl biker stopped to let a bus pass and in trying to get out of the way just back beddled accidently off the edge to her death.

So this was obviously a good thing to spend a day doing!  We started out fairly early in the day on what were very good dual suspension bikes with brakes which were, fortunately, in top working order.  The first section was all on tarmaced roads, and as the bikes weren´t designed to be cycled on this surface we were just allowed to free-wheel down at high speeds, competing with traffic and one another.  This was great fun as the road surface was great and the road set a little back from the cliff edge, though the views were still spectacular.

The view on the way back up, including the road we´d cycled down

We then got to the real beginning of the most dangerous road in the world!  Or at least it had been regarded as the most dangerous until a few weeks ago when a new road had been opened, which meant that most of the traffic was using this instead.  This meant a lot fewer stops for buses to pass, but importantly meant that the instruction to ride on the left, only a few feet from the cliff edge, could more easily be ignored as there was no oncoming traffic.

Having said all that, the road was an extremely bumpy gravel surface with many rocks just waiting to be the obstacle to send me off the edge.  And it was all down hill, so momentum was easy to build up accidentally.  To start with I was pretty cautious and had my hand pretty much constantly on the brakes.

Sunset over the mountains
  But towards the end I was getting some good speed up, and the whole ride proved to be a really good exhilirating experience with some great views too.

After a long break for late lunch and chilling out at the bottom of the road - in a lovely village called Coroico - we elected to take the old more dangerous (rather than new and safer) road back to La Paz.  This was a regrettable decision!!  I, without meaning to, sat on the side overlooking the huge drop below and had to shut my eyes on a number of occasions becasue we were litrerally no more than one foot away from one of the tyres going over the edge.  That would have been the end of us,but fortunately the driver knew what he was doing and didn´t fall asleep at the wheel, and we made it back ok! 

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The view on the way back up
The view on the way back up
If you look very closely you can s…
If you look very closely you can …
The view on the way back up, inclu…
The view on the way back up, incl…
Sunset over the mountains
Sunset over the mountains
The view on the way back up
The view on the way back up
photo by: Belluomo