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Get Lost in the Vastness: Chasing Jonas Deichmann on the Bikingman Peru Inca Divide

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Get Lost in the Vastness: Chasing Jonas Deichmann on the Bikingman Peru Inca Divide

Take the Andes, a mountain range that stretches for an impossibly long 7,200km down the West Coast of South America. Chuck in 32,000m of climbing, crazy gravel sections, remote towns and villages, altitudes of nearly 5000m, huge canyons, glaciers and some of the best views on the planet, and you have a heady cocktail of elements that make up the craziest ultra-cycling race in the world. BikingMan Peru – The Inca Divide.

Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

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Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

When most people think “I’d like to take on my first bikepacking trip,” they don’t think of going to the Peruvian Andes. Well, most people aren’t my friend Ben Johnson. Ben’s a filmmaker and a storyteller, and once an idea gets into his head, it’s hard to shake him of it.

Ben had long been following Ryan Wilson’s work here on the site, and lusted to pedal in the high mountains of Peru. With another film project taking Ben down to Lima, the flights were paid for, and the idea of this side trip and a passion project was sparked.

Lots of people ask Stephanie and me for advice about bike traveling and we’re happy to help. Ben came to us with an ambitious plan, a short timeline to get a bike built, and enthusiasm through the roof. He needed help.

I had recently transitioned away from full-time work to focus on creative projects: the right place and the right time to help Ben get set up for his adventure in the Andes. I’m happy to present the film here, and will get into the details of the bike build below.

Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna

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Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna

Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

There are few things in this world that excite me more than a faint checkered line on a map, meandering through wide open spaces.  As I’ve come to find out over the previous month, Northern Argentina has quite the collection of them.  While my completionist tendencies want to pull me in all directions, down every last trail, there are really more than one could ever explore in just one trip.  Often these tracks are meticulously sculpted into a bone-shattering washboard.  If not, they’re plunging you through pits of ankle-deep sand.  Either way, they’re always filling your eyes with sights unlike any other in the world.

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Mountain Biking in Peru

Here on the Radavist, we often see bikepacking coverage from Peru, but what’s it like to shred the trails without 30 lbs worth of camping shit strapped to your bike?

Do Not Miss the Jay Bird Films and Tumbleweed Bikes Project – El Silencio: Cycling the Peruvian Andres

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Do Not Miss the Jay Bird Films and Tumbleweed Bikes Project – El Silencio: Cycling the Peruvian Andres


The poster for the tour, designed by @horizonlines is available at the screenings

Tonight’s premiere of El Silencio: Cycling the Peruvian Andes at Golden Saddle was excellent. The visuals, story, and cast of characters are as memorable as the scenery. Seeing these vignettes in video is an exceptional experience, especially after seeing so much of Ryan Wilson’s photography work from the area over the years.

Do not miss this film as it tours the West Coast of the US. Future screenings are on the way, along with an eventual web-release.

Here’s the press-release from Tumbleweed Bikes:

“Cycling the Peruvian Andes, a Jay Ritchey Film. El Silencio brings the viewer along through the highs and lows of four cyclists as they traverse the mountainous Peru Divide bikepacking route, and was filmed entirely by bike. Joining the tour are: Jay Ritchey, filmmaker; Daniel Molloy, owner of Tumbleweed Bicycle Company, and Pepper Cook, adventure cyclist. A Q&A session will be held following the film for those interested in learning more about bicycle travel, bicycle design, and more. We hope you will join us!”

Tour dates and tickets listed below:
● May 5, Ventura, CA: Ventura Bike Hub
● May 8, Oakland, CA: Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe
● May 9, Fairfax, CA: Marin Museum of Bicycling
● May 11, Portland, OR: Velo Cult
● May 15, Seattle, WA: Swift Industries @ The Rhino Room

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Beyond Trails Atacama

“Every new trail you travel on or off the beaten path brings uncertainty. Riding bikes in a place like this forces you to pay attention to the terrain, listen closely to suggestions on how to move through it. Instead of success and failure you became to think in terms of adaptation and forward motion.”

Lorraine Blancher explores the mountain bike trails on the border of Argentina and Chile, known as the Atacama.

Traversing the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu – Ryan Wilson

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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.

A Sudden Shift of Seasons in the Peruvian Andes – Ryan Wilson

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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.

An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture – Ryan Wilson

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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.

Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide – Ryan Wilson

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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).

Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit – Ryan Wilson

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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.

The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera – Ryan Wilson

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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.

Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca – Ryan Wilson

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Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca – Ryan Wilson

Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

For a little over a year it was just a pipe dream. I had come across the Cordillera Blanca while sifting through google maps one day and was immediately struck by its rugged and unique landscape. For a few months I kept looking back, doing a little more research, and eventually making a few routes. It was always just wishful thinking though. I had never even left the country before and I knew about as little Spanish as you could possibly know. It wasn’t “realistic”, so I just kept the idea floating around in the back of my head…

Coming Tomorrow: Ryan Wilson’s Peru Photos

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Coming Tomorrow: Ryan Wilson’s Peru Photos

Ryan Wilson, aka @RMDub decided to take on multiple 14,000′ summits with his bikepacking rig last year. Little did he know something sinister was waiting for him in the water… Check in tomorrow for the full story and one of the most amazing galleries to ever grace this website!