It seemed farcical at the time that four fairly normal young men (all be it with a few oddities), with only very limited cycling experience shared between us, would make this somewhat ridiculous idea a reality. Yet here we are in Ushuaia the most southerly city in the world, at the foot hills of the mighty Andes about to embark on what will undoubtedly be the most testing and exhausting, but epically amazing journey of our lives. Months of planning and training are finally behind us, and whether it be that our assurance in ourselves is accurately placed or drastically misguided by our inexperience of cycling the length of a continent, we feel ready and raring to go!
Trying to grasp the reality that we are about to begin our 8000-mile cycling odyssey is both incredibly exciting and worrisome in equal measure. We would be lying if we said that we weren’t slightly apprehensive of the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead and seeing the Andes for the first time from our plane to Ushuaia offered some real perspective of the immensity and scale of what we are doing. We are however all agreed that camping in varying climates, from the cold of Patagonia to the heat of the Atacama Desert, carrying 50kg of weight, high altitudes, covering on average over 100km a day and running away from jaguars (unlikely) presents both a physical and psychological challenge that we will relish every moment of.
We arrived into Ushuaia like little boys on their first day at school marvelling at the mountainous views that surrounded us and lugging very awkward and conspicuous bike boxes through the crowds. With no taxis big enough to get us to the hostel, a decision was quickly made to set up the bikes in the airport car park. Looking at our battered and scratched bike-boxes our hearts sank, but fortunately our wheels were still straight and everything was in working order. After a few laborious hours the bikes were ready to go and we made our first few wobbly kilometres into Ushuaia.
It’s just as well that daylight hours are between about 4.30am and 11.30pm because solving the jigsaw puzzle of packing our panniers has proved a lengthy process. On the bikes, only Archie appeared to be having some teething problems with 2 falls from two rides over the last few days. On the morning of the 5th we headed south to the end of Ruta 3, the ‘’Fin Del Mundo’’ and the real beginning of our Journey. The first night in the wilderness was spectacular despite a weird old hermit who tried to shoo us away. It was ironic that on our trip down we were tooted by almost every passing car who despite our lack of facial hair and brand new panniers, who no doubt believed that we were about to finish our continental cycle. Along a wooden walkway at the very end of the road, as we looked at the Southern Ocean opening out, we thought about what an amazing place this would be to finish, but fortunately, it’s also an amazing place to begin!
We now have our first full days of cycling ahead following the mountain roads to Rio Grande.
Thank you for all your donations thus far. We will be in touch with a new update as soon as possible.