1. It’s Beautiful!
Colombia has a bit of everything! From snow-capped 5000m+ peaks, to tropical Caribbean beaches, Colombia has it all. It’s the most bio-diverse country in the world per a square kilometer. Within it’s borders you will find the world’s tallest palm trees, deserts, savannas, the Amazon, coffee plantations, beaches, and everything in between. If you can’t find a landscape that you want to be cycling in Colombia, then you just don’t like riding.
2. It’s a Unique Destination.
How many people do you know that have visited Colombia? OK, now how many people do you know who’ve said they’ve gone cycling in Colombia? You’ll have bragging rights with your friends back home when you tell them that you just got back from two weeks of cycling bliss in Colombia. After the shocked looks, they’ll probably ask you “was it safe?” And “what was it like?” In which you can respond with a big smile, and some amazing photos to show them.
3. Bragging Rights. (From the massive quads you’ll develop climbing Colombia’s mountains.)
Depending on where you choose for cycling Colombia, you will have some enormous climbs to brag to your friends about back home. The mountains of Colombia are the training grounds for some of the world’s strongest mountain specialist cyclists. If you thought the storied Alps and Pyrenees where the pinnacle of cycling challenges, then you haven’t ridden in Colombia’s Andes. Check out the profile for “La Linea“, widely considered the most challenging paved road in the world, yes harder than Mt Ventoux and the Col de Tourmalet.
4. Well Maintained Roads.
The roads in Colombia are in general well kept. Are there potholes? Yes. Are there more potholes than in a place like Detroit? No. The roads are paved, and in general have generous shoulders. While riding the roads around Medellin I have had more space, and more courteous drivers than I encounter on most roads around the city in Canada that I’m from, Calgary.
5. Huge Meals to Fuel Your Rides.
Two words: Bandeja Paisa. This is a feast, for even the hungriest of cyclists. It includes a quarter of every animal you would eat on a semi-regular basis, along with a healthy portion of beans, rice, an egg, avocado, and an arepa (it’s a Colombian classic.) If this plate doesn’t fill you up, you need to go see a doctor. Of course for the less hungry rider, you can find smaller plates of food; or you can ride harder to work up that appetite.
6. Cycling with the Biggest Cycling Community in South America.
Colombians love cycling. It’s the second largest sport here (behind soccer / football.) They have a knowledge of the sport, and respect for it that is unrivaled outside of Europe. Ever been riding in Canada or the USA and been thinking “I wish less people here thought I was some misfit in spandex”? Cycling is part of the cultural fabric of Colombia. You won’t hear any derogatory remarks from passing vehicles (as I’m sure all the cycling readers from North America have experienced.)
7. To Work on your Hill Climbing.
Hill climbing isn’t your strongest suit? Cycling Colombia will cure that. Climbing everyday some of the hills that the hardest men in the sport have used as preparation grounds for the worst Europe could throw at them? The roads of much of interior Colombia will challenge even the most experienced cyclist, and will give many hours of climbing delight (read: “screaming thighs”) for anyone.
8. To Experience “Ciclovia”.
Never heard of “Ciclovia”? Thought of Colombia as a backwards country? Does your town/city have the innovation and forward thinking to offer it’s citizens over 10% of its roadways every Sunday morning to enjoy via bicycle? Didn’t think so. Ciclovia started in Bogota, and has spread to all of Colombia’s major cities, as well as other cities around the world. If you’re looking for more info, here’s a video on the unique event.
9. The Weather.
Do you live somewhere that gets very cold and dreary between November and March? Funny, Colombia doesn’t understand cold. I’m not kidding. When I tell Colombians how cold it gets in Canada they truly have no reference point. Even the butcher’s freezer isn’t as cold as the temperatures my homeland sees in January. Escape the cold of Europe, Canada, and much of the USA by going south – South America. Colombia’s weather is fantastic, and even during the rainy season it is usually clear for the mornings. Do bring some arm warmers though, it can get “fresh” while at altitude.
10. The Amazing Colombians!
The people of Colombia are likely the friendliest people I’ve ever met. They exude happiness. I’ve never visited a country before where I’m repeatedly thanked for visiting. This is true in Colombia. Every cab driver, fruit vendor, and fellow cyclist thanks you for visiting. And they’re sincere about it too! They’ve had so many internal problems with their country that visitors haven’t come for so long. However, they are extremely proud of their country (as they should be) and want to share it with the world! Colombians will go to great lengths to see to it that your travels are enjoyable. Can you say this about typical cycling destination countries?
I hope to see you here! Enjoy cycling Colombia!