Trans-South American Bicycling Route

While the team here reacquaint themselves with the manipulation of the various imaging software that has enabled us to provide readers of this blog with such a premium visual and interactive experience over the years, we will just have to make do with the amateur efforts below. Suffice that the map shows the planned route for this trip through far northern Chile and into the Atacama Desert then across The Andes pass into northern Argentina, then Paraguay and Uruguay. Things could change, they have a habit of doing so, but this is at least a starting point.

The first road is the A-135 heading inland from Arica towards Bolivia (avoiding the main Route 11 trucking road) then cutting south on the smaller A-23 road up beyond 4,000 metres skirting around the huge Taapaca Volcano and on to the village of Putre, (from where there should be opportunity to update the blog). The line then hugs the Chile – Bolivia border through some high volcano and salt plains drifting country then down towards the Atacama Desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, a significant pit-stop for leg recovery, proper coffee and pizza consumption (and upload of pictures of Buff3y with his bicycle). From there it is up and over The Andes through the flamingo country, then down to the next major destination, the city of Salta in northern Argentina.

The plan is to head off on Wednesday (28th December). People sometimes say ‘the last mile is the hardest mile’, but the first mile presents its own particular challenges. Just getting onto the start of the long road with the bike sorted is a thing in itself. Yet soon I will lean on the crank, the rig will roll forward and what comes will come.

Altiplano, Atacama and the Andes (December 2022)

After to disappointment felt by so many on the cancellation of the New Zealand ride due to COVID restrictions two years ago, Buff3y The Hardcore Adventure Cyclist now rides again! Yes, he is off to South America to get some serious high country bike touring done. The bicycle touring world is in a veritable tizz about this new development and the internet abuzz with wild speculation as to where Buff3y will go next. What equipment will he use? What awful slop will he eat whilst camping. All of these questions and more are careening around the planet at a much faster rate than Buff3y can muster on his touring bike. So now the team at buff3ysbicyclingblog can fill in some gaps and prepare all for the unbounded joy that is the unique experience of checking in with Buff3y as he travels on a bicycle.

Christmas day sees Buff3y happily ensconced in the departure lounge of Sydney airport soon to be boarding a Qantas flight bound for Santiago de Chile and a connecting domestic flight to the seaside town of Arica on the northern coast of Chile near the Peruvian border. From there he will unpack the bike; the Hilite titanium 18-speed Pinion geared bike from Switzerland – most recently used on the Rockies trip a couple of years ago; a magnificent touring machine – and head out onto the long road..

Buff3y will be heading directly inland, steadily climbing onto the ‘Altiplano‘ (high plain) of northern Chile around 4,000 – 4,500 metres. This country is part of the the most extensive high plateau outside Tibet stretching southwards from southern Peru, through Bolivia and to the Atacama Desert in Chile. It is the land of salt plains, geysers and volcanoes, remote dirt roads, flamingo-filled multi-colour lakes and a sparse beauty unavailable elsewhere on the planet. Climbing and climbing from day one of a trip could be – well – quite distressing – and quite painful – but too late to change plans now.

Once up in the high country, the road will turn southwards following the Bolivia-Chile border leading down into the ‘Atacama Desert ‘and the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama (last visited by Buff3y ten years ago on his pan-America trip), a serious pizza, beer and latte town. If the passes are open eastwards across the Andes, Buff3y will then head up into the Los Flamencos National Park and onto northern Argentina and Salta, for lashings of Malbec, offal and chips. The land then flattens out across Paraguay and turns south east to Uruguay finishing up in Montevideo. Across South America in approx nine-ten weeks. Let’s See. Stay tuned for exciting updates from the track plus pictures of Buff3y and his bicycle.