Having ummed and ahhed for months about cycling Bolivia’s Death Road I was so excited to be actually doing it that all my reservations had completely disappeared. I was just looking forward to getting back on the bike and getting some good adrenaline going. The group was just us lot (me, Sam, Dave, who wore Batman and Spiderman costumes of course, Kim, Henrik and Catherine, who I’d met in Iquitos). When we got in the van to get to the start of the Death Road the driver put on some Backstreet Boys and we all got pumped up with a little sing-song (well, Kim and I did, badly. Shamefully, there‘s a video of this, including the bit where I got the words wrong…). We jumped out of the van at the start of the ride (at just under 5,000m altitude), got our kit on, rode in circles to test the bikes and had a little dance by the side of the road.
The ride started off on Tarmac and was all downhill and easy. ‘What is all the fuss about?’ we asked. The guide then stopped us and said, “Ok, now here begins the Death Road.” Suddenly we lost our nerve. Seeing the drop off the side of the mountain and knowing all too well the tragedies that had occurred there we were pooing ourselves just a tiny bit. But it turned out to be far from dangerous (don‘t worry mum and dad). There are no cars on the road anymore as they’ve built a new road so no one has to use this one anymore (the Death Road is one car-width wide and just drops off over the edge of the mountain with no barriers, just crumbly rocks). Lorries used to travel this 40km road, overtaking each other with half a wheel hovering over the edge of a very long drop. Jeremy Clarkson once attempted this road but sadly he made it out ok. I don’t mean that.
It was a lot of fun though, and great to be back on a bike. We got some decent speeds up and the views (once the fog cleared) were incredible. I wanna do it again!