Road of Death
Heading off early in the morning, a group of us from the hostel headed off to the start of death road, or "the worlds most dangerous road", in two rickety mini buses. We climbed steeply out of la paz through the favellas and into glorious mountains. We passed a few manakins that had been strung up on lamp posts but we were unable to find out the meaning of these.
We arrived at the side of a huge lake, ate breakfast that was provided and were kitted out with bike jackets, helmets, gloves, knee and elbow protectors and bikes. The guides gave out nicknames to everyone as it obviously makes it easier for them to remember names so I was known as Ricky Martin all day.
"The Road of Death" is so named due to the amount of vehicles that fell off the side of the road a number of years ago. Now a newer safer road has been built and the old road, literally a single dirt track, closed to most traffic bar cyclists and the odd tourist bus. The ride was 64km downhill and was to take 3-4 hours in total.
The first leg of the cycle was on the newer tarmacked road, getting up to speeds of around 65kmph, until we reached the start of the real cycle. I hadnt really thought the cycle would be that dangerous, with most of the talk about deaths being hype, however as soon as we started it was easy to see why it was so dangerous, with sheer drops nearly all the way down. This however made for amazing views, the best of which, when you could see the road you were yet to cycle down, snaking out below you.
The first section of off road was very easy going, with the guides easing us in. One of the guides, names Papparazzi, would come flying past us so he could stop and take pictures of us as we cycled past him. We also stopped plenty of times to take photos of us sitting off the edge etc...
The further we went down the faster the guides would go keeping the adrenaline up the whole way. A couple of times I cut the corners a bit too fine (maybe being a bit too competitive...) and realised I wasnt too far off the edge!
The last section wasnt part of the actual road but was just to get bk to the main road and was probably the best section for mountain biking, being single track and steeper than the actual road.
Having mountain biked before it wasnt too challenging but was still an exhillarating experience and an eye opener to the state of bolivian roads!