Touring by Bike South America, Africa and Europe by Bicycle

Touring by Bike
Day 13. Descent to Puquio

I woke up to discover that some people might want to use the toilet. In fact there is a girl that looks like a foreigner, she wanted to do her morning toilette. But there is no running water on the tap, so no teeth-brushing. I realize that the payment station is not mine and I’m in a public place , but I acted like I was home, spreading my stuff around to dry out..
When I exit the building I realize that the girl and her boyfriend camped just outside the building, on a kind of terrace. They are traveling by car and if I remember well they are French.

Descent to Puquio

Descent to Puquio

traps of the road

traps of the road

There are 50 km to Puquio, but I plan to go further. The day starts with an easy descent, in a very nice landscape. The landscape is very much changed from the one I had the two days before. A lot of vegetation and very green. Of course, is not a continuous descent as I thought the night before. So, I’m sure now I couldn’t have reached Puquio yesterday. Right before and after the small village of Lucanas, there is a climb that goes on for few kilometers. But the landscape is quite diverse, so I enjoy it. In Lucanas, while I stop for the already classical chocolate and Powerade, some local guys look at my bike and at the end they encourage themselves to ask me the question (that I’ve heard so many times before): how much did I pay for it. Again, telling the real price will transform me (into their eyes) into a very rich gringo (possible victim). So I tell half of the price. They are shocked saying that I could buy a motorcycle with that money – they don’t understand why I prefer the bicycle.

Shortly after Lucanas, a car slows down close to me and the driver asks me where I am from and…the typical questions that I got many times. But apart from this, the guy and his wife congratulate me for doing this – quite encouraging, I should say. I needed this, considering this is the third day in a row with a lot of ascent.

Beautiful landscape in Peruvian Andes

Beautiful landscape in Peruvian Andes

Locals before Puquio

Locals before Puquio

Break in Lucanas

Break in Lucanas

Crappy road on descent to Puquio

Crappy road on descent to Puquio

Once in Puquio, while I struggle pushing the bike up a steep road I spot a local bike shop. Of course I don’t expect much, but I ask the guy for an advice about my cassette.
Since departure from Lima I had the problem with the Shimano HG50 Cassette (11-32 9 Speed). The chain doesn’t stay on the cogs 8 and 7 (28 and 24 tooth). It keeps switching up and down in between 7 and 8. The guy looks at the cassette like at a space ship. Probably he never saw a 9-speed cogset before. I wander what he would say if I had a 10-speed cogset. Is OK on flat terrain, but on steep climbs I want to be able to use my small chainring and one of this cogs; that means a 26 x 28 or 26 x 24… a rapport of about 1. The guy takes a screwdriver and starts to force the cogs, thinking they are not perfectly straight. That takes my heartbeat close to a cardiac arrest level, so I ask him to stop. He’s very confident and I happily accept his help when he declares the job finished.

Had a good lunch in Puquio, in a very cozy restaurant. At lunch, I talk to the owners of the restaurant and decided to stay overnight in Puquio and leave early morning. The rain was about to start and they show me is already raining up in the mountains. I drop into the first “hospedaje”, close to the restaurant, just before the lady promised they have hot water. I go out for a walk and for buying stuff. The town is tiny so I could see it all in 15 minutes.

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