After 23 weeks in the saddle, the Global Wheeling carbon crusade enters its sixth country. Ecuador brings with it the humidity factor as I’m now within 500 km’s of the Equator. Traversing the last few hundred km’s on Peruvian soil marked the end of desert country as I followed the Pan-American Highway via the northern cities of Piura and Tumbes. Bidding farewell to Peru after what felt like a lifetime of pounding the pavements in this deceivingly large country.
A two hour affair at a rather relaxed Latin American border crossing and I was once again at the mercy of tracking down a local map and getting my hands on some new currency. The border town of Haquillas a mere 5 km from the Peruvian frontier would serve as my first pit stop and attempt to iron out a few of the necessaries.
Ecuador operates on the US Dollar, managing to track down a few green backs at the local market posed no major hassle provided you had your wits about you; the map on the other hand would be a bit trickier. Managing to source an extremely basic version of an Ecuadorian map, I rolled into country number six cycling virtually blind relying mostly on road signs to navigate and plot my way north.
A dangerous way to travel solo by bicycle, as it now becomes virtually impossible to plan ahead adding huge pressure on your food and water supplies as you’re now uncertain as to when the next “refueling’ spot will be. Fortuitously Ecuador is a rather small nation and distances between towns are fairly kind to the solo cyclist.
The Ecuadorian capital city of Quito is firmly nestled high up in the Andes at just below 3000m above sea level. The realisation that I would have to traverse the Andes for a second time in a matter of months was now sinking in as I plotted my route north through the relatively flat countryside. Banana plantations and sugar cane fields keeping me company during the day and providing shelter by night. I cycled north on the E25 parallel to these towering giants to my east knowing that come week 24 I would once again be embroiled in yet another monstrous battle with the Andes.
The humidity factor now causing major problems as my tent has turned into an oven and getting a full night’s sleep since crossing into Ecuador is a luxury I no longer enjoy. Each new country and terrain brings with it a new set of challenges and it’s imperative to have the ability to morph and change your approach accordingly to stay on top of the extremely demanding schedule of 400 km’s a week. Doing it with very little sleep is posing a huge challenge though and one I am struggling to factor in.
This blog comes to you from Santo Domingo and marks the end of the flatlands for a while. The road tracks back into the mountains in search of the capital and the crossing of the equator. After 9493 carbon free km’s the latest CO2 reading and quantity of pollution saved as a result of travelling on human steam is sitting on a staggering 1423.44 kg’s!!!
Viva pedal power!