Thursday, 2 July 2009

Bolivia - The Death Road

I did a bit of mountain biking yesterday – down the world’s most dangerous road.

The road in question is a stretch running from the mountains surrounding La Paz to the sub tropical lowlands of a place called Yolosa. So far so uninteresting.

It starts to get interesting when you know that the starting point is 4,700m above sea level and the finish line is 70m above sea level. This represents a drop of 3,600m over the course of the 64km road – again, for reference Mount Snowdon is 1,085m high. Quite a long way down then.

It gets more interesting when you know that in 1995 the 64km stretch was classified as “the world’s most dangerous road”. This title was earned due to a spate of buses and trucks falling off the road, and into oblivion, during the mid 90’s. Note that this title has since been lost to a particularly nasty section in Tibet.

In honour of this accolade, some bright spark decided to set up a bike company to take adventurous (stupid?) tourists down the road – enter me, stage left.

Therefore at 7:30am on 29th June I strapped myself into $2,500 of bike and chucked myself down a dirty great mountain.

5 hours and a few hairy moments later I arrived at the bottom – unscathed, filthy and with a big daft grin all over my face. Brilliant.


- The value of the euphemism – I spoke to my parents prior to doing the ride and explained that I was going “for a bike ride” the next day. I may have neglected to mention this was down the Death Road. Probably for the best. Sorry mum.

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