Such a beautiful country, and on a whole the people are kind, friendly and helpful. The food is out of this world, and there is a lot to discover. This is my second visit, did some touristy stuff two years ago, visited Cartegena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Medellín, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Guatape, Bogotá. I have only scratched the surface, really keen to see the natural beauty of the varied landscapes here.
But it's difficult as we are here on a mercy mission for a dying man. So if you don't mind I will be blogging to fill time.
As for cycling, I've never known a more courteous and patient attitude towards cyclists than Medellín. The pace is a few steps down from rat race London.
Direct flights to Bogotá from London with Avianca means you don't have to go via USA Esta immigration check, or be scrutinised by Trump's nazi behaviour towards Latin America.
Cycling Infrastructure is promenient in the centre of town where the roads are not steep
March has seen record rain fall. There are only two seasons here in the cool tropics. Wet or dry through eternal springtime, plants and trees continually flower and are endlessly pollinated, probably why Paisa folk speak with a blocked up nose all the time.
El Niño has also fucked the weather here producing extremes. Not sure what the long term effect will be.
I went to the first Cycle Touring Festival a few years ago, there was a couple that cycled from Buenos Aires to New York. They did their presentation on Colombia only, saying that it was basically cycling paradise. Big cycling culture, amazing nature and landscapes, lovely people, etc. It was quite nice because they thought they had some sort of duty to sing the praises of the country, after spending such a good time there.
I saw many solo tourers around the countryside laden down with panniers and big smiles. Even with limited Español it is possible to get by 'independiente' like.
The country is very challenging terrain wise, and triple chainsets absolute must for touring. But what is remarkable is that most people stop to help if you are in trouble, because they care about the visitors they have. And bike shops are as common as nail bars in the cities, lol
The exchange rate and low living costs means your GBP go further than you can imagine.
Local humour with local expressions even the Spanish don't understand.
We are close to the amazon, so naturally we eat crocodile sandwiches.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, with four flavours in one crisp packet, ffs.
Colombian people are generally short in height. If you want home brand shoes nothing bigger than 43.
Some of the bananas are also short, when ripe they have a full flavour and a firm bite, they have a longer shelf life too. Probably because they haven't travelled 6,000 miles then gassed before being sold.
Known locally as murrapitos.
This has to be one of the hardest climbs from Laureles towards the international airport, Llanogrande and Rio Negro. Known as Las Palmas. The views (miradors) out across the city and valley are breath taking.
Descent from Las Palmas on this link
Actually the climb from El Centro to Sant Fe is equally bad as is the road to Guatape. So if you wanted to escape the city on two wheels is all uphill
imagine ditchling beacon x5
Mountains in every direction. At night we are surrounded by a wall of yellow stars (street lights) as Medellín has been built up around this vast valley called Aburrá.
For a flavour of hill climbing on two wheels, around Medellín
The Medellin taxi, small, convenient and cheap.
In many hues of yellow, not sure if this is lack of regulation, variety of yellows or UV fading the paintwork.
Reg plates front, back, sides even roof. Every internal part also has ref plate number hot wired too.
Older drivers usually with older cars tend to be friendly and chat quite a bit, where as the younger drivers are too preoccupied on their mobile phones, checking facecrack or on two instances following the football live on their phones.
Starting price per ride $3,000 COP, trip across town €15,000 COP
Welcome to the neighbourhood of Laureles, tree lined avenues with terracotta brick apartment blocks.
another medical appointment today, another great view of the city.
What's the story with El Putas de Aguadas?
i believe there are many stories about el putas de aguadas its local folklore, here is Antioquia. Lost stories that kids would have known from the 1930s and 1950s.
He was from the countryside, a peasant, rover, fighter, chamarreo, lover of the worse kind. In a very wild wild west after the breakup of New Granada/Gran Colombia (Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Guyana).
There are also fables about a freckled monkey and a mountain man from these parts.
Basically the message is, 'hold tight, here I come' The pair of machetes have names of his two biggest foes, he killed in great battles, inscribed on the handles. He would be your worst nightmare, with vultures and trumpet fanfare.
the literal translation is very different talk of a recipe with lemons, bad salty water and shit, warning you not to invite this guy. Total play on words, only Colombians understand, probably familiar street slang from yesteryear.
here is another statement from Medellin, sarcastic bar-stewards, lol
Chirrinchi is a parrot and slang word for home brewed alcohol, seriously not recommended. Distilled four times in the worst barrio (Triste) in town, which has nothing good to add. The place you'd find stolen cards, stolen cars.
So the moral is, if you drink this you'll end up talking like a parrot..
Great information, pictures and write up. Would never have thought Colombia would lend itself so well to cycling.
Some great slang words unique to Medellín.
Cicla - bicycle
Mono - blond / kid
Chino - any kid
Pelado - skint / kid
Palos - Million pesos
Billeted largo - a lot of money
Los Tombos- the Police
Pilas - watch out
Catorce - favour
Mamar Gallo - suck a rooster
Chiviado - ripped off
Pecueca - stinky feet
Grilla - bitch
Creido - cnut
Embarrar - mess up
Parar Bola - pay attention
Flako - skinny
Gordo - fat
Pellota - Stupid
Miercoles - Shoot
Juepucha! - Dang!
Juemadre! - Damn!
Callate! - Shut Up
Bacano! - Great!
Salchipapas - girlfriend
Popochito - boyfriend
Chismoso - lier (male)
Paila - problem
Embalado - stuck
Cuentame una de vaqueros - chit chat
Pastusos - from border area with Ecuador
Caleños - from Cali
Rolos - from Bogotá
Paisas - from Antioquia / Medellín
Costeños - from the Carribean Coast
Gringo (or gringa) - forringer
Dar papaya – don't get robbed
Mucho Taco – Bad traffic jam
Que Mierda! - Bullshit
Chucha – smelly
Me importa un culo – I don’t give a shit
Hueputa! – son of a bitch
Thanks for the info and I agree with @sensom, great thread
Thanks guys, haven't managed MTB yet, but road bike booked for hire this weekend.
Mountain bike hire is easy and cheap though. With epic terrain on the doorstep it has to be the best getaway from the city. Santa Elena is the hotspot. For a city that has great cable car transport reaching the steepest barrios, it's a shame there isn't a cable car / gondola to the trailhead or shuttle bus service, so MTBs either have to ride there (a lot of uphill) or drive there.
Sundays in Medellín is Ciclovia, only cyclists, buses and taxis allowed, primary routes listed.
Have you been to any of the national parks? Tayrona is obviously very popular, but it's well worth the trek (except for the terrifying boat ride back to Taganga).
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