Colombia 2013. Day 1: Cali – Mondoro

2013/10/10

cali - montoro

Click on picture to enlarge

My first day. Couple of decisions to take. The most important one, when was I starting? (there’re not that many important decisions on a bike trip really…) I decided to leave really early to avoid heavy traffic and crowded streets. So I left the hostel at 6.20 and, after breakfast at Kuty’s (they open at 6), starting pedalling at 6.45.

Too late.

There wasn’t that much people on the streets, but there were already lots of cars and buses.

Leaving Cali by bike through main roads is a small hell. Careful if you don’t tolerate the smog from cars. My stomach didn’t feel very well to be honest. The exit road is ok, and don’t get scared if you think you’ll be cycling on a motorway, since traffic respects cyclists (and there are millions of them; or should I say of us?).

People will talk to you while you cycle as well. If you need any direction, ask for Jumandí, not Popayán, since most of them have no clue about getting here.coffee

Everything starts to get better (and prettier) after Jumandí. There’s some side road to this town; it may not be a bad idea to use them.

After Jumandí you enter the motorway. Nothing to worry about. It’s a flat and nice road with a wide and clean hard shoulder. And bikes don’t have to pay! 🙂 The ride to Santander is a very nice (and easy) one actually!!
morning food
Santander de Quichipao is a busy and nice town. Makes the perfect stop for some food and to see locals at the market. It’s not a bad place to stop for the night neither. I actually thought about that for a while, since it was my first day and I rather take it slow. But in the end I decided to keep going.

The view gets so much better from there onwards… just like the road goes uphill. It’s not an extremely har drive but, with midday heat and some legs that still needed to adapt to cycling again. It was pretty hard for me.

Traffic is so-so. There’s only one lane, which gives the feeling of an increasing traffic. Cars go quite fast, and trucks and buses try to. It’s not a very heavy traffic what you’ll find here, but you can tell you’re on the main road.

I couldn’t wait for smaller roads to come!!

By the way: there are bars and shops all the way from Santander to Mondoro. So no big worries if you’re carrying lots of stuff with you or if you’re starting to get hungry!

I decided to stop at Mondoro. Could have kept going really, since it was very early, but it seemed like a nice town. And I have to start controlling myself sometimes: I shouldn’t cycle 100 km on the very first day!

Overall: very nice first day, specially if the first kilometers out of Cali are not considered. Things are starting to look very nice. But it’s just day one.

water

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