Cycling above the Clouds

Riding the Andes by Bicycle

La Ruta de la Fruta, amongst other things

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I reluctantly left Ana and Jose’s warm and cosy house in the morning and made my way back to the main road. Heading south east, I bore inwards from the coast along Chile’s ‘Ruta de la Fruta’ – the Fruit Road. I loved the name of the road – it sounds so much better in Spanish than in English. This area is the verdant fruit and vegetable basket of Chile and the road is lined with farms. There are many shacks selling freshly picked strawberries and bags bulging with perfectly ripe avocados.

There were many stores selling fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables along the route

The area is far more populated than the deserts of Argentina I’d been used to and so the road was busier too. Mostly there was a small hard shoulder, but sometimes not, and I was grateful for the small mirror on my bike to be able to ride defensively if there was a lorry coming up behind me. Thankfully the vegetable trucks weren’t that large and there was generally plenty of space for them to pass me on the road – a good thing, as they weren’t inclined to wait to overtake if there was something coming in the other direction. From time to time I’d plonk myself in the middle of the lane to force them to wait to overtake me if I thought it would be too dangerous. Not a popular manoeuvre and often inviting lots of honking, but I was belligerent and stuck to my guns in the interest of staying in one piece.

Traffic aside (and it was still nothing in comparison to riding in London), I was just overwhelmed by the lush countryside. There were flowers bursting out of every hedgerow, and the rolling hills were just beautiful. I was starting to feel the benefit of my increased bike-fitness and pressed onwards towards finding a beautiful camping spot by Lago Rapel. The following day I’d be in for a treat, riding to Santa Cruz – the home of Chilean wines.

So many fruit trees and flowers lined the road. The ride was lush and beautiful

Stunning views crossing the river. People were fishing on the river banks

I found a gorgeous campground at Lago Rapel and pitched the tent right next to the water. I had the place all to myself for the night. The view was quite something as the mist descended.

The snow-capped Andes re-appeared on the horizon as I made my way to Santa Cruz.

Not a bad place for a home-made race track. Again coated in flowers.

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