Latin America Tour on a Bike
The young Argentinian cyclist Nahuel Vesgas travelling on his bike “La Negrita” discovers incredibly beautiful moments, places and people that the continent could reveal only to a “slow traveler”.
“Sometimes, and almost always, traveling by bike has those things that can only be explained when you experience them and that the moments, places and people are the most beautiful thing you can get from every kilometer cycled.“
Wherever we visited, we met some young Argentinians on the road with a truck or a bicycle. Are Argentines like nomads in Latin America?
Yes, Argentinians, especially those from Cordoba and Buenos Aires, travel a lot by selling some handicrafts and street food on the road.
Where is your hometown? And what do you like most about it?
My hometown is Neuquen and what I like most is the confluence of the rivers of Limay and Neuquen that are born in the Andes and meet in the capital of the country. I lived in Tierra del Fuego and Cordoba too.
TIPS FOR A BIKE TOUR IN LATIN AMERICA
Why do you prefer using a bike?
The bicycle is the best transport for the city, as it is fast and easy to repair. I can go everywhere by bike even if the city is not prepared. I call my bike “La Negrita” (The Black) because of its color and details.
How long have you been on the road? Have you counted the kilometers so far?
I’ve been on short trips lately, as I’ve been living in several cities. I have started counting the kilometers only recently and I don’t think I have counted more than 5,000 km.
How do you maintain your health on the road?
I don’t travel with travel insurance. The key is a healthy diet based on fruits, cereals, vegetables and legumes. I travel with a first aid kit and I always check the state of the water if it is drinkable in the places I consume.
What would you suggest people to navigate Latin America by bike?
I am not sure if I am the right person to recommend anyone, as for me any bike is good to go. It could be a more comfortable and lighter one with better saddlebag, as well as clothing and camping equipment. But anything is fine and nowadays there is a lot of information on the web. There are Facebook groups, Instagram and What’s App. I use few apps because of the limited space on my cell phone but the ones I use most are WarmShowers and CouchSurfing for free accommodation; MapsMe and GoogleMaps for navigation and seeing the state of the land and trails. The important thing for me is talking to the local people and know how to respect the nature and harmony of each space.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP
What were the best moments of your trip on a bike?
Climbing the volcano of Chaiten in Chile after a long day of cycling under the rain. This volcano erupted a few years ago and is still active, it was amazing to get to the base. In Mendoza, Argentina, I offered a bike repair workshop in the town square and the city government offered me a complimentary stay and thanked me for mobilizing the community for a free activity. In Uruguay, near Montevideo, on a beautiful beach, they gave me accommodation, as in many other occasions. I got the chance without even looking for it! Sometimes, and almost always, traveling by bike has those things that can only be explained when you experience them and that the moments, places and people are the most beautiful thing you can get from every kilometer cycled.
PITSTOPS >> Argentina, Chile, Uruguay.