Coming to Argentina with my bike was a gamble. Were there going to be roads that would be well paved? Could I get out of the city on the bike safely? Would the bike make it to our (semi) final destination?
Turns out the answer to those three questions was yes! I packed my bike in a specially design bike carrying case (plastic shell with small luggage-style-wheels for rolling it) and checked it on the plane. Got it onto the plane, off the plane, into a taxi, to Buenos Aires, back into a taxi, back onto a plane and into another taxi (actually it took two taxis that time!) to Córdoba and onto a bus to Salta, a city up North. That’s about 7600 miles in total.
I searched “ciclismo Salta” on Google and got a contact email address and from there was able to arrange a ride with some local cyclists. I rode out to the meeting point, thinking I would likely see only a few riders, but was surprised to see about thirty cyclists with modern race bikes, riders varying in age from 15 to about 60.
I could tell this would be a fun group to ride with in that there was a lot of excited chatter, joking, and thankfully, interest in what I was doing there, where I was from, and–as will happen with any group of cyclist–questions about my bike.
Turns out they ride just about daily and are a rather experienced, fit bunch of riders. Some have been riding for over twenty years. I chatted with most of them during our 50 mile ride, one of them put his hand on my shoulder as we rode handlebar-to-handlebar up a long climb.
At the end of the ride someone asked if I wanted to stop for a Coke with them. The American equivalent of this would be either all stopping at Starbucks for a coffee or perhaps at a gas station where everyone would buy a can of pop etc. Here in Salta it meant sitting down in a shaded area in town where two riders could run to buy several 2 liter Cokes to fill everyone’s cycling water bottles. Being the day after New Year’s we toasted with our Coke filled bottles making sure to “clink” every single bottle in the group. Again lots of chatter and smiles, and also more interest in me and my journey.
I’ve ridden with these guys several times since, and am looking forward to many more rides and routes.
For anyone coming to Salta you can see two of my rides on the website “Map My Ride”