The bike route between Cartegena and Aguachica
One purpose of this blog is to provide useful information for fellow bike tourers. The route along Hwy 90A and Hwy 90 between Cartegena and Santa Marta is quite hot and busy. As you get closer to Santa Marta, you get nice views into the Caribbean; dropping into Santa Marta from Roderro was also beautiful.
If you need to get from point A to point B, it’s a fine route. There was a shoulder most of the way, and there were very few hills, but I wouldn’t choose this route based on the scenic beauty, the tranquility, or the comfort of the road. At this point I don’t consider myself capable of distinguishing a difficult hill from a baby hill. The first day I was sure the rolling 50 meter climbs were getting up there in difficulty. Turns out, highway 90 is considered absolutely flat. I think I’ll find out soon what it means to climb as we gain 1000+ meters into Bucamaranga.
Route 45 South from Santa Marta has been hot, heavily congested, with not many sights to see. The number of 18-22 wheelers and road construction is astonishing. The ride often feels like some combination of terror and a dream as a result of the never ending stream of big trucks. You just kind of let go and trust that one truck after another is going to do what it needs to do to get around you safely. As the 18 wheelers pass the disturbed air from the truck either drags you forward, pushes you to the side, or nearly stops your momentum depending on the direction and speed with which the truck passes. I am very impressed, however, with the common sense that drivers use in Colombia and the general respect for bikers. While the rules on the road are limited, drivers simply understand how to respect one another and to keep the flow moving forward. Ego is left outside of the vehicle for the most part, and decisions are made in the best interest of traffic moving as a whole, and not for the individual driver. Even in the most crazy and congested city traffic, we have been able to move through without much problem.
We were able to leave the primary route for 40km between La Palma and Bosconcia using a “secondary route” as indicated by google maps.
The road went from this…
The most interesting site of the week was a football field among the endless rows of palms.
The most interesting sounds of the week was the cyclical screeching of some unknown insects from the woods.
While this portion of the ride was very enjoyable and provided diversity from the monotony of the primary route, the going was slow and I ended up with two flat tires from thorns. A route difficulty between these two extremes we have experienced would be ideal for me.
We try to get up with the sun each morning, and we typically hit the road between 6-9. The early you can start the better. Between 12-2 the heat is nearly unbearable, and the energy is sucked right out of you. A nice long lunch and possibly a nap during these hours is ideal. Getting in 60km before lunch is always best, and then we can put in another 20-40km in the afternoons until we need to start finding a place to sleep for the night.