Posted on September 3, 2015
Dangerous Roads Ahead
Unfortunately, Lindsay was recovering from her big adventure in the La Paz public hospital, so I went solo on this trip. ~Aaron
I took the day and booked a tour to ride down the world’s most dangerous road with the highly reputable Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking Company($105). It started early with everyone meeting up at a decent breakfast place, Oliver’s Bar, where 14 of us gathered and got some coffee, eggs and toast before heading about an hour out of town to the starting point. The drive out was interesting in itself, going through some local neighborhoods and then to the beautiful outskirts of the city. We started next to a lake and put on the provided gear; riding pants, jacket, gloves, and helmet. They gave us each a top of the line, full suspension, downhill bike, and we were able to ride them around the parking lot to get a feel for the ride.
The first part of the ride was on pavement to get used to the bikes and enjoy some beautiful scenery along the side of the winding road. It was all downhill for about 30 km until the checkpoint and pay point ($1). Then we loaded most of the bikes back on the bus to drive up a 8 km steep uphill section. Since they were heavy downhill bikes, I opted to ride the bus with all but 4 of the others. After a 20 minute head start, we still beat them up the hill by about 10 minutes and were unloaded and ready to ride by the time they showed up.
At the top of the hill was the start of the world famous Yungas Road, better known as the Death Road. A windy single gravel road, only 3m wide at some points, cut into the side of a cliff. For nearly all of the ride, to the left of the road is a sheer 50m+ drop-off into the rainforest. And bikers are required to ride to the left of cars. Yikes! Just as scary as it sounds, but the payoff were the incredible views the whole way down. It was hard not to look at them while riding.
At the end of the road, the group stopped for beers and a snack at a local bar and were given the option to ride on the Flying Fox Zipline, a 3-part ride over the rainforest. Only 3 of us opted to go, but wow, was it worth it. The first line was 464m long, and at least 400m off the forest floor. The second line was 505m and the fastest, up to 85km/hr. The final was the longest at 587m long and brought us back to the village.
We met back up with the group at a nature preserve where they served a delicious pasta dinner. Now we had to get back to town… on the same death road we just rode down! I think it was scarier riding in the bus on the crazy-narrow road than it was biking down. I was sitting on the dropoff side of the bus and many times I couldn’t see the road at all when looking out the window. Yikes! But after a couple of close calls with large trucks coming around corners too fast, we made it just fine all the way back to the top of the road where the whole bus gave a cheer for the driver making it safely. Lindsay was extremely thankful I made it home in one piece.