Cycling the Carretera Austral

Cycling the Carretera Austral

by Bicycle Junkies
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The sun is shining, the ripio road is dusty and rocky, in the distance glaciers, waterfalls along the road and turquios colored lakes. Yes, we are cycling the Carretera Austral!

Apart from the first day out of Villa O’Higgins, there’s not a drop of water falling from the sky. Amazing, we are cycling the Carretera Austral and no rain at all! Oke, maybe some dark clouds every now and then, but that’s it. Not that we are complaining of course..
It’s hot too! Temperature reaching 30 degrees Celsius at times, that means blood, sweat and tears when we have to cycle up the steep hills, and after a day of cycling we are two dusty people! We take a skinny dip in a lake to wash away the dirt and every night we camp, enjoying the dark and quiet nights.

Cycling the Carretera Austral in Chile

Cuevas de Marmol
Puerto Rio Tranquilo is a small town with just a few restaurants, a couple of hostels and a campsite where we pitch our tent. Tourists come here to visit the ‘Cuevas de Marmol’ with motorboats, but we decide to rent kayaks and to peddle to the caves by ourselves. With a slow pace and after a couple of stops at deserted beaches, we finally reach the caves. They are mirrored in the deep turquios waters and with the kayaks we can manouvre ourselves through them. But, when we return, the wind is there again too…, it takes a lot of effort to get back and arm muscles are aching by the end of the day. Pfff…. our cycling bodies are not used to this!

Canoe trip to the Cuevas de Marmol

The road…
Actually what impresses us most, is the terrible road conditions of the Carretera Austral. Days pass by just looking at the road, trying not to fall and we miss out on the impressive landscape, which is too bad. All we see is dust, rocks and sand! Plus, the many short climbs are pretty steep, sometimes to steep to cycle and even pushing the bike is hard, since our feet keep slipping away with the loose rocks. Downhill is slow going too in order to prevent us from kissing the rocks, so sometimes we just let go and get shaken in the corrugated surface. Not so good for my ass! The Santos Bikes are ok with it though.
We meet a lot of cyclists, so that’s fun and camping is no issue either. We’ve found lovely spots! Definately a must do this road if you don’t mind the dust and rocks.

Cyclint the Carretera Austral in Chile

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