Feb 1, 2008

The World´s Most Dangerous Road

It’s official. According to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank, the road between La Paz and Coroico in Bolivia is the World’s Most Dangerous Road. On average, no fewer than 26 vehicles per year fall victim to its eroding foundations, narrow passes, and harsh weather.

To stay safe, we rode bikes.

The ride began at just under 16,000 ft in snowy conditions. Keep in mind Bolivia is in the middle of summer. Amanda, myself, a Brit and our guide experienced many terrains and many climates. The ride is 40 miles long and descends 11,500 ft in 5 hours. Snow soon turned to rain. The intense fog clouded our views of the dizzingly steep cliffs that dropped to one side of the 12-ft wide dirt road. The fog cleared as we entered the Yungas jungle of Bolivia – one of the largest Coca producing regions of the world.

Keep in mind that while coca is the origin of cocaine, the vast majority of coca leaves from Bolivia are chewed by the locals – a practice that dates back to 2000 BC in the Andes. The plant has many healing qualities including the ability to stabilize glucose levels, and cure altitude sickness – a common occurrence in these high plains.

Along the way we passed hundreds of waterfalls. In one case we had to ride our bikes right through one. The pavement turned to narrow dirt road which turned to single track. Multiple land slides blocked the road – common for the rainy season. While the massive slides forced us to walk our bikes – it also limited the number of vehicles on the road.

Amanda and I rode bikes down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road and lived to tell about it, unlike many tourists before us. The company B-Side Adventures was a great choice. We had full suspension Iron Horse Bicycles that rode like a dream. We ended in the hot springs of Coroico overlooking sections of this incredible road.

We are now in Oruro, Bolivia for Carnaval; one of the top ten places in the world to be for Carnaval. We look forward to sharing it with you right here in about 4 days.


Anonymous said...

Looks like another great experience to add to your growing list. Of course, I was impressed and glad to see that you were wearing helmets. I assume you had parachutes strapped to your backs,
just couldn't see them on the photo? Enjoy the festival and send us another slide show!! DAD

Russell said...

I am going to assume that Leighton and the Brit have their hands up cheering in the photo above. Amanda, you are looking down the cliff terrified. Safety first guys! May i recommend the biking helmets for the remainder of the adventure? I think we would all be at ease.

craigk said...

just awesome. I'm jealous, Amanda. You get to ride all the cool spots with my cuz! and I hope you guys had fun with those leaves...

alphasquirrel said...

Awesome! Blows away Tryon park huh L8n? Rock on you guys-

Adrienne said...

You're pictures are absolutely amazing! Sounds like you guys are having a blast!