Category Archives: Ryan Wilson
Bikepacking Peru’s Valle de los Volcanes – Ryan Wilson

Bikepacking Peru’s Valle de los Volcanes
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

After dealing with a dead Garmin and a bricked iPhone (my only GPS devices) for a while during my last stint in Perú, I decided to put the trip on hold for a few months and head back to the States. It was a nice break to sort a few things out, skip a little bit of Peru’s rainy season, and take it easy for the holidays. (more…)

May 9, 2017 37 comments
Gearing up for Life on the Bike: Camera and Tech – Ryan Wilson

Packing for an open-ended bike tour through remote areas of developing countries can be a bit intimidating. You don’t want to get there and realize you’re missing something crucial that you’re going to have trouble finding locally, but you don’t want to overpack and feel required to haul a bunch of stuff that you don’t really need.

With that in mind, I wanted to start a series of posts discussing my personal gear setup and some of the things I’ve learned in my first 7 months of living on the bike in South America. First up I’ll dive into my electronics setup and touch on the question I get asked most frequently… “what camera are you using?” (more…)

Feb 28, 2017 30 comments
Traversing the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu – Ryan Wilson

Traversing the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

By far the number one thing people bring up when they find out you’re going to Peru is Machu Picchu. In fact, that’s probably the response at least 95% of the time. To be fair, prior to stumbling upon photos of the Cordillera Blanca on Google Earth one day, Machu Picchu was always the first thing that came to my mind as well, so it’s a hard thing to fault. (more…)

Feb 23, 2017 56 comments
A Sudden Shift of Seasons in the Peruvian Andes – Ryan Wilson

A Sudden Shift of Seasons in the Peruvian Andes
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Continued from “Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide

It happens without notice in the Andes. One day it’s mostly clear skies as far back as you can remember, then one good thunderstorm rolls in and with it seems to come the daily barrage of rain, hail, and snow. This marks the true beginning of the “shoulder season”, nestled in the southern hemisphere’s spring. For me, this timed out exactly on the first day of starting this section of the Peruvian Divide, following a quick re-supply detour to Lima*.

*As a side note regarding life in Peru… the majority of people here do not own cars. This is especially true in the quiet areas that are the most interesting for riding. As a result, many of the villages have small vans (called colectivos) coming and going at least once or twice per day toward the larger towns, and they’re typically only the equivalent of a few bucks even for a trip that lasts a few hours. This is quite helpful if you want to check out a bigger city that is a ways off-route and have a chance to pick up a few things that might be tough to come by in small villages. It’s also helpful if you’re running low on dinero and need to find an ATM, which can occasionally be tough to locate in remote areas. With the divide route intersecting the main road toward Lima, it was a perfect opportunity for a trip to the city. (more…)

Jan 23, 2017 19 comments
An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture – Ryan Wilson

An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

EDITOR’S WARNING: This gallery contains content that may offend the lovers of fluffy animals. There are slides in the gallery which give you plenty of warning to turn back. Keep in mind, this is part of the Peruvian culture, so please maintain an open mind.

My final stretch on the Peruvian Divide Route started like much of the rest. Incredibly quiet roads lined with as much spectacular scenery and as many furry friends as one can possibly handle. Bobbing and weaving between storms (without much success), and drifting in and out of the occasional small village filled with welcoming locals.

As far as bikepacking/dirt touring routes go, I can’t really think of a more complete experience. Where the Cordillera Blanca to the north wins on pure scenery, the Divide easily wins on way-off-the-beaten-path dirt road riding (if that is your thing). This makes for easier wild camping, and even more interesting interactions with locals who simply don’t see tourists around with any kind of frequency. (more…)

Dec 7, 2016 47 comments
Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide – Ryan Wilson

Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Continued from “Beasts of the Southern Blanca

Following my trips through the Cordillera Blanca, I knew I would be heading for the Peruvian Great Divide Route. This route was established fairly recently by the masters of all things cycling related in the Andes, Neil and Harriet Pike (andesbybike.com). Their website and books are absolutely invaluable resources if you have any interest in riding in the Andes, so I would highly recommend checking them out.

The divide route is almost entirely along quiet dirt roads that endlessly undulate between 10,000′ and 16,500′. It also passes through many remote villages that are far off the tourist trail, where the locals are always excited to see you (and probably welcome you into their home for a hot meal and coca tea). (more…)

Oct 31, 2016 24 comments
Beasts of the Southern Blanca – Ryan Wilson

Beasts of the Southern Blanca
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

After finishing up the circuit around Huascarán, I landed in Huaraz. This is the capital of the Ancash region of Perú and the central hub for all activities related to the big snow and ice capped mountains that dominate the landscape. While Huaraz is not totally flooded with tourists, it is certainly the most visited town in the area, and a “gringo” barely gets a second look there when compared to the surrounding villages. Most importantly, Huaraz has pizza, so it makes for an obvious place to spend a few days taking it easy and swapping stories and routes with fellow cyclists and trekkers passing through the area. (more…)

Oct 3, 2016 25 comments
Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit – Ryan Wilson

Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Last time I was in Peru, the main focus of the trip was centered around circling the highest mountain in the country, Nevado Huascarán. The route has that perfect combination of spectacular scenery, challenge, and culture, so I knew I’d have a hard time resisting going for it again on my way south this time. The fact that the forecast called for clear skies the whole time sealed the deal. Last time I was here, the mountains were engulfed in rain clouds virtually the entire time, so I never really got to see many of the massive glacial peaks that dominate the route. (more…)

Aug 31, 2016 28 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB – Ryan Wilson

Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

As I was planning for this trip to South America I started thinking about what bike would be ideal to tackle a broad range of terrain and would be comfortable over the long haul. I went back and forth through a number of options, but I never quite found a stock option that fit all of my criteria (and fit me). I knew I wanted a rigid steel frame that could fit a plus sized tire, have loads of mounts, thru-axles, ample mud clearances, and a good amount of space for a frame bag. I started to focus in on B+ as the happy medium between 29 and 29+. I also liked the versatility of being able to put on a standard 29er wheelset at some point in the future without it throwing the geometry way out of whack. (more…)

Aug 3, 2016 51 comments
The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera – Ryan Wilson

The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

I started trying to scheme up a way to make this return trip to the Andes happen while I was sitting in the Lima airport last November, waiting for my return flight to California. With the most significant cost involved being purely the cost of getting there, and with all of the opportunities for riding throughout the entire range of the Andes, I knew I had to make this an open ended trip. (more…)

Aug 2, 2016 31 comments