Cycling from Leymebamba to Balsas in Peru

Cycling from Leymebamba to Balsas was one of my favourite days of bike touring in Peru. There's something special about an amazing view earned through pedal power!

Dave Briggs rode a touring bike and trailer in Peru

Biking from Leymebamba to Balsas

Blog post written July 22nd 2010

This blog post was written in 2010 when bike touring from Alaska to Argentina.

When I woke up this morning, I discovered that something had bitten the soles of my feet, and the ends of my big toes. Weird, and also a little irritating. Still, its all part of the fun of travel (apparently) and so it was time to hit the road.

The initial 30 km was all uphill from Leymebamba, although thankfully, the gradients were kind in nature.

Cycling narrow dirt tracks out of Leymebamba in Peru


The road was quite narrow in places, with sheer drops.

A dairy farm in Peru


The landscape changed to more open farmlands with many dairy cattle. Milk is not a big thing in Peru though, and if you ask for it, more often than not you end up with a tin of evaporated stuff.

Vince riding a motorbike in Peru

Along the way I met Vince, a motorcyclist from California, who had also set off a year ago. He’d spent quite a lot of time surfing in Mexico.

Calla Calla

A height marker at the top of Calla Calla in Peru shows it as being 3600 metres high. If felt like being on top of the world!

Amazing views from Calla Calla in Peru

And when I turned the corner, I came across simply the most amazing view.

Then, at 60 km, I started what must be one of the worlds longest downhill dirt roads.

Losing 2600 metres in height was probably something I would pay for later, but having to turn the pedals less than a dozen times in three hours, whilst cycling through those stunning mountains was great !

Cycling to Balsas in Peru


The views almost brought a tear to my eye, so they did!

Glorious views of the Andes in Peru

Simply amazing.

Bolsas in Peru

And then I was in Bolsas, a tiny village, whose existence owes itself only to the fact that it lays at the bottom of a valley.

It was quite hot, being down below the 1000 metres mark, so first job was a bottle of water followed by finding a room.

10 soles saw me in a room which reminded me a lot of some of the places I stayed in Africa. Despite the presence of a fast flowing river, this village has a shared toilet. Yes, you read it right, the village.

No problem during daylight, but I think an empty Inca Kola bottle will come in handy tonight !

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