Thursday, April 7, 2011

South American Facts and Figures

Before I set off across Canada, I thought there might be some people out there who would like to know some of the stats from South America. I’m certainly curious myself, having never yet got around to sitting down and doing the sums, so now seems as good a time as any. It’s going to be a bit listy, but I’m sure you’ll be able to manage. To add a bit of comic relief - or perhaps, preferably, some awe and wonder - the photo is of my biggest 'offsie'. Rich is standing where I began to lose control of the bike, and the bike is where it finished cart-wheeling. Cool, huh? (Mother, close your eyes!) So, here goes with some Crazy Roads accounting:

Total distance covered

30,810 km or 19,145 miles

Greatest distance covered in a day (best guess)

660 km or 410 miles (Foz do Iguaçu – Curitiba, Brazil)

Shortest distance covered in a day by choice

158 km or 98 miles (Azul to General la Madrid, Argentina)

(Actual) Longest day in the saddle for the shortest distance traveled:

105 km or 65 miles (Mendoza to Uspallata, Argentina) over 10 hours, in the snow and sunshine.

(Perceived) Longest day in the saddle for shortest distance traveled:

137km (Huanuco – La Union, Peru) over 6 1/2 hours, in the rain and mud.

Top speed (by me)

140km/h (Route 26 between Villa Unión and Villa San Agustin de Vallé Fertil, Argentina – throttle fully open, level ground, straight road, no wind)

Highest altitude ridden (by me – Rich went higher when his girlfriend came to visit in March)

4748m Paso de San Francisco, between Argentina and Chile)

Largest number of ‘offsies’ in a day

Impossible to count, but certainly over 30 (Mendoza to Uspallata, Argentina)

Total number of ‘offsies’ for the trip

You’re kidding, right? How the hell can I remember that? Well over 100, and thankfully ever fewer towards the end of the trip. I think Rich came off about 5 times in total. Git.

Most destructive ‘offsie”

The 60km/h cartwheel I did between Viedma and San Antonio Oeste (photo)

Total number of days on the road


Different places stayed at night en route


Number of nights camped out

27 (24 different locations)

Most nights stayed in one place

Cusco, Peru (2 months - volunteering)

Least nights stayed in one place

Rafael, Argentina (3 hours)

Number of windscreens broken

2 (3 if you count breaking the repaired one a second time)

Number of times handle bars bent and replaced

3 times bent, 1 time straightened and finally 1 replacement

Number of panniers damaged

2 – both the left and right were held on to the racks by straps by about the 5th week. They remained 100% waterproof throughout, however. I was impressed!

Number of times of chain/sprockets replaced


Number of times tyres replaced


Number of punctures


Number of breakdowns

1 (in Punta Arenas, Chile)

Number of Injuries

Not many. Coupla cuts and bruises, mostly my own fault!

Number of times food poisoned

2 (Fiambalá, Argentina; Lake Titikaka, Bolivia)

Run ins with the cops/customs


Number of tantrums

Too many, all ‘offsie’ or stress related

Approximate cost of whole trip, including shipping and flights


Number of unforgettable memories


There were times during the trip when all I wanted to do was go home. By the end, however, I was left with the certain knowledge that I want to do another motorbike trip some time. “So why not take a bike across Canada, instead of a car?” I hear you ask.

Well, during my time in Cusco and the Bolivian jungle, I was suffering some fairly severe back and sciatic leg pain. I got some treatment in Cusco and, by the time I got back to the UK in May, it seemed to have calmed down. About 3 months after returning to NZ, however, in October 2009 (and probably as a result of visiting chiropractors and massage therapists to ease the pain and tension I was again feeling) the locked muscles that had been doing their best to protect my lower back, were released sufficiently so that I burst a disc in my spine (the L5S1 in the lower back, for those with experience of these things) which inpinged on the sciatic nerve in my right leg. I have never felt pain like it, and suffered a week with only about 6 hours sleep before I was given a cortisone injection to kill the pain. I was off work for 5 ½ months, and have since been advised that long days of riding would be a bad idea at this stage in my recovery. The fact that my baby bro suffered a similar (but surely less severe ;-p) injury to mine several years ago, and is now planning a big bike trip of his own, suggests I just need to be patient and keep doing my exercises, and one day I will be up to another bike trip. That will be the time that I look at riding from Anchorage to Cusco, or some such. Until then, it will be 4 wheels on my wagon, and I’ll keep rolling along. And that's it for today. Thanks for tuning in, and see you next time &:-)

No comments: