Mountain Biking in Colombia in the Sierra Nevadas

I went mountain biking in Colombia in it’s Sierra Nevadas with a company called Elemento here on the Caribbean Coast the other day.  I didn’t really know what to expect, other than some great views, and average bikes.  Well it turned into an amazing day on the bikes.  I was right on both accounts about my expectations, but the bikes were really well maintained, and functioned well.  I was told they’ve ordered a new fleet of all-mountain bikes, which will make this tour even better than it already is.
Oscar with the dog at our finca stop.
The riding today was truly incredible.  We were dropped off by a truck at about 1600m, and climbed for another 200m to an 1800m lookout called Los Pintos, or The Pines.  There was a farm there that is owned by the former mayor of the closest city, Santa Marta.  The farm used to be a lookout for a para-military group in the area.  It was perfect because you could see in every direction for as far as the eye could see.  Today, it was perfect for drinking coffee, and seeing in every direction as far as the eye could see.  In fact, I saw the snow covered 5700m peaks in the distance.  Amazing.
This photo illuminates a few things.  One, my sharp cycling kit on the coast (sorry team, my STC kit was back in Medellin.)  Two, the bike I was riding for the day.  Three, that we ran into a Colombian stereotype on this trail (Juan Valdez anyone?)  And finally, that we’re in the jungle.


Our crazy 18 year-old Colombian guide, Oscar, climbing a tree that weighs less than I do to grab some guayabas (fruit) for us.

Yes, he’s crazy.  This is Oscar going all Tarzan on us.  Later in the day he stood on the frame of his bike, with no hands, while going downhill at about 30kms an hour.  Si, loco.


The group of us at a creek crossing.  I was joined by two friendly Germans from Munich.

Our Scottish guide, Tom, who has been mountain biking in Colombia with Elemento for a while.  The donkey let out a pretty big “eeooorrr” while we were there.  Tried to catch it on video, but wasn’t quick enough.  On top of crazy donkey excitement, we also had picked some wild mandarins from the tree at this stop.  Yes, wild mandarins.



Here’s Oscar heading home with his bike, on the back of a motorbike.  Hell of a rider coming down, but apparently didn’t want to ride up the hill to get home.

Sunday was a fantastic day on the mountain bike.  The bikes weren’t great, but they got us down in one piece.  The guides, Tom and Oscar, were amazing.  Had a tonne of fun with them, and they could really ride.  Today also convinced me that I need to start looking more seriously for a way to mountain bike in and around Medellin.  An amazing day, with some awe-inspiring trails (which they plan to expand,) great people, and sunny Caribbean weather.  Couldn’t have asked for much more.

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