“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.”
In the middle of a rainy road in Chile we ran into another cyclist, a cyclist who turns out to be the famous “Bici Clown.” Alvero left from Spain eleven years ago and has never gone back; he quit his life as a lawyer in order to become both a cyclist and a clown. So far he has cycled across over eighty countries, and when he feels inspired – like in small rural villages or during disasters such as the tsunami in Japan – he turns into a clown ready to entertain both children and adults alike. He won’t take money for his shows though, instead, he writes books and speaks at events in order to inspire others to shake up their lives a bit, and in order to provide him with the funds to keep pedaling forward. Out of over eighty countries, he mentioned that Iran, Mongolia, and Japan were among his favorites, and had we had more time to speak with him, I’m sure we would have uncovered a treasure trove of experiences and insights from all over the world. He is a friendly, spirited, and personable person, and as we had each previously heard of each other through the large online cyclists network, it was a wonderful surprise to meet in person.
Though Alvero has definitely been cycle touring for longer than most, he is only one of the 168 cyclists we have met throughout our last three months since landing in Ushuaia. Patagonia is a hot-spot for two week cyclists and world tourers alike, and we have really enjoyed meeting every single one of them as its shown us what a diverse range of people cycling can touch. I’ve only photographed a few of the cyclists we’ve met along the way, so here they are.
We ran into this French couple twice, once in Tierra Del Fuego and once near Bariloche nearly two months later. These extremely enthusiastic cyclists have been at it for nearly three years, with no end in sight as they have decided to spend their retirement touring the world.
Right outside of Ushuaia we met this guy, a Venezuelan who has been cycling (with his surfboard!) for multiple years, working and surfing as he cycled his way through South America. As he was completely out of money when we met him (he has been working along the way to make ends meet) he figured he would just slowly start pedaling his way back up after a break at the bottom of the world.
These Italians (who spoke French, so in the middle of Argentina two non-native French speakers were communicating in French) were great, and I only wish I had had more time to talk with them. He has cycle toured for years alone, with kids, and with his wife (who he married two years ago in Salar de Uyuni during a previous cycle tour), all the while taking videos and beautiful photos to capture it all. When we ran into them, she immediately recognized me from my blog which was surprising and delightful. As you can see behind them, we ran into a few other touring cyclists at the same time as well. There were eight of us fully loaded tourers all standing in the middle of the road for nearly an hour.
The Casa de Cyclista in El Chalten was absolutely packed. Imagine fifteen tents and twenty-five cyclists and bikes all in one garden!
Tim and Jordi! We have run into these Americans (Idaho) a half dozen times now, and even got to cycle and camp with them for a few days which was a blast. These boys finished university before setting out to pedal from Ushuaia to Peru, with climbing ropes and harnesses attached to their bikes in order to fit in a bit of rock climbing as well. I’m sure we will all get together again once we are back in the States for a short cycle tour closer to home.
And of course, Mike and Emily, our Oregonian friends that you surely remember if you’ve been following us for a few months. I interviewed them about why they chose to leave there seemingly perfect lives and careers back home for a four month cycle tour in South America, so make sure to click on their names in order to read more about them if you missed it the first time around.
We ran into these Americans near Calafate as we were all battling the wind. We have met more cycling Americans down here than all other nationalities combined, which is reassuring because we hardly met any throughout Asia. Though we really enjoy meeting people from other countries, sometimes it’s also nice to meet people from your own, especially as there is more of a chance that you will see each other again when you get back.
In this photo Kevin is signing his name upon a wall in “the pink house,” an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere that many cyclists have slept in to avoid the wind. Judging by the number of signatures, well over a hundred cyclists have slept on these dirty floors!
Kevin and I have been amazed and impressed with the number of cyclists we have met, and can definitely tell that the two-wheeled community is getting larger by the year. Since we feel that we had enough “alone time” in Asia exploring very rural regions where little or no other tourists had been, we have really enjoyed these last few months on a sort of cycling tourist trail where we are bound to meet many others living the same sort of life as us.