1. ADVRIDER Print Magazine!
    We're doing two more print magazines this year. July & November. 144 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase both for $35.
    Dismiss Notice

Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Sag Harbor
    My info is a bit sketchy, just what I read on the net. My understanding is that the 3 neighborhoods under strict quarantine - Usaquen, Suba, and Engativa - surround Chapinero directly to the north and, according to google map, are very close to the clinic -

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/S...c7cd69e940f94f14!8m2!3d4.7207926!4d-74.074768

    Also, the local government plans to implement three more neighborhood closures in the next couple days. Granted they don't want to lose tourists, so the more historic and commercial parts of the city for the time being will remain open. But what about museums, restaurants, covered markets, ect? All the good stuff found in major cities that tourists want to go to? There's no guarantee they'll be open, even in open neighborhoods.

    My thought/hope is that in a month, Bogota will be ready to resume the new normal.
  2. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    I am hoping for the old normal.

    Staying at the 82 Hostel are Joseph - an American that has been in South America for 30 years and at the hostel for 8 months, and Brent - a Canadian who has been in Colombia for a few years. Neither has any intention of going back "home", except maybe to visit, and certainly not now. There was another younger American there for a while - he went on to Cartagena.

    I suppose I am lucky I got in and out so easily. There was a long period where it was not possible. And I think that may happen again. So missing my time slot again is a real possibility.

    If so, we make lemonade. I can drive to and from Mexico. Would use a bike I already own. Just have to decide if it will be Baja or mainland or both.

    Anyone know a good dentist in Mexico ? I think I am all set for a while, but you never know.
    Mcahron likes this.
  3. Tomaso

    Tomaso Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Sag Harbor
    I hear Algodones, Mexico has some good dental clinics. It's right across the border from Yuma, Az. Evidently the town is pretty much set up for one thing - dental tourism. Based strictly on what I've seen on youtube, gringos are happy with the level of care. People even walk across the border to a clinic.

    How would you get your bike from NH to Mexico? It's cold here today, more than 200 miles south of you.
  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    Last time I did Mexico by bike we trailered to Texas. Paid a random business to park our rig in their fenced lot. There was snow on the ground so this was best. Towing with a van we could drive straight through too.

    Next time I would do the same, only alone. Would take longer, but would be cheap. These days I would use a VW diesel wagon with a three rail trailer.
    Mcahron and Tomaso like this.
  5. RebornRider

    RebornRider Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    450
    Location:
    West Massachusetts
    Excellent Ride Report! Thanks!
    Ride safe all.
    Gary
    Champe and Tomaso like this.
  6. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    Ana and I are still in touch via WhatsApp. It seems that she will be in Miami for a couple of weeks starting Feb. 19. Still a little far.

    Meanwhile I am back on Duolingo. I had a 280 day streak before my trip. In Colombia I did not do even one day. They continually improve the course, and for me, it is good to go back and review. Maybe some of it will finally stick.

    According to Duolingo, I am doing pretty good. My current streak is 12 days and I am in the diamond league, about halfway through the course, working on level 4. In real life that is enough to get by, but barely. It looks like the adult ed classes around here are on hold... so more Duo is the only option.

    For anyone considering Duolingo.... do it. It is free so you have nothing to lose. Of course there is a paid version that makes it a little easier, but that only makes sense if you are going to use it a lot... like I do.
  7. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,028
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca/outside Zihua Guerrero
    On the facebook groups there are a lot of people offering up webcam lessons during this pandemic, which could be another cheap option, though not free....I cannot converse well so have though about it, but not gone ahead with it.
    Champe likes this.
  8. Cal

    Cal Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,387
    Location:
    Calgary
    Today was my 101 day streak and also in the Diamond league. Whats your handle on Duolingo? I am just about finished the second level but the interesting thing is I communicate decently when traveling in Mexico, I just speak with all the mistakes and Duo will not let you move on unless the grammar is perfect.
    Champe likes this.
  9. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    556
    Location:
    Colorado
    Digging the discussion on (spanish) language here. After my last trip to Baja I made it a mission to learn spanish. Not being able to interact with locals is something I want to change. Attended a local Jr. college class then covid. I really do like Duolingo as they make it fun and challenging. My handle is "Mech" if anyone wants to follow as I like following as well as it does inspire, i.e. "Hey, that guys is killing it, I'll show him!" Ha!

    However, the real gains came from an app called iTalki. It allows you to find a native speaker in the language you want to learn and then take a one on one Skype lesson from them. Lessons can be as short as 1/2 hour or over an hour. It does not even have to be a lesson but can also just talk. I have about 40+ lesson with an instructor named Cynthia and she lives in Mexico. We try to spend the first half just talking, then the second half learning new concepts. She is the absolute SAINT of patience. I can take as long as I need to try to figure out what I want to say and she just listens and lets me finish. Then we go over the "correcciones"...and there are many. It does cost, however, for a one on one tutor it is an amazing deal. And you can shop around on the app if you need to keep the cost down. Nothing, and I mean nothing makes you learn faster then actually talking and listening to it.

    Champe, thank you for a great report. I have taken notes and names. Just so you know, you inspired one guy with your one quote "You guys have seen my picture. I am short, fat and old. If I am having such a good time so can you."
    Scribe, Tomaso and Champe like this.
  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    I am ... Champe... on Duolingo. go figure.

    For those that don't know... diamond league is the the highest of about six levels. You get there by scoring more points than the others in your league. You are a hard worker if you are in this league. You may not know much, but you are a hard worker.

    iTalki sounds interesting. At my rate of learning it could get expensive though. What kind of prices do they charge ?
    Tomaso likes this.
  11. youngforever

    youngforever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Puerto Escondido mexico
    iTalki sounds interesting. At my rate of learning it could get expensive though. What kind of prices do they charge ?[/QUOTE]
  12. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    556
    Location:
    Colorado
    Prices can vary depending on who you pick. Going off 1 hour lesson, I am paying about $18/hour. Have seen some on there for under $10/hour. Some of them will give you a free or discounted trail first lesson.

    I consider the one hour lesson a must. I see others offer 1/2 hour but that seems very short to me. I do one hour a week and seems to be perfect.
  13. youngforever

    youngforever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Puerto Escondido mexico
    Champe congrat ... neighbourg (I'm from Sherbrooke) for your great report. I don't want to hijack your thread, but I would like to ask you how the Duke manages riding on wet Colombian dirt with a 17 inches front wheel. Do you think a 19 inches front wheel will do much better? I'm planing to ride down to Colombia again the next day Canada opens it's border with the States.

    I plan to ride a Duke or the Adventure 390. I think it's going to be the Duke. I can get a 2017 with one thousand miles on the clock for $4000 cdn, and get Ohlin fully adjustable rear and front suspensions for $2000. For the riding I do I don't need spoke wheels. The Duke is 10% lighter the seat height is one inch lower, the Ohlin suspensions than the Adventure 390. I would save hard earned money which will pay for the trip and spare me to deal with technology.
  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    The Duke does fine in all conditions except deep mud. I have not tried deep sand yet but I do not expect it to do well there either. I was holding out for the Adventure version but am glad I did not get one. The added weight is a big turn off and the slightly larger front wheel is not significant.

    The right move for KTM would have been to go with spoke wheels in the 18/21 size. But I do not care about that anymore either. I have had no flats yet, but putting in a plug seems a lot easier than changing tubes. Traction has not been an issue.

    Ohlins suspension is always good. But I have beaten my stock suspension pretty hard and it is not showing any signs of weakness. I worry a little about breaking or bending a rim since this is a known weakness. But I have taken some hard hits and so far so good.

    You are looking at the older model 390 Duke from 2017. They are fine, but the newer model is a little better. The seat is particularly good on the new one. I have been able to put in some very long days on mine. Passengers have not been as impressed with their seat though.

    Are you in Mexico now ? Seems like the place to be at the moment. I am living the NH motto... Live, Freeze and Die.
    Tomaso likes this.
  15. youngforever

    youngforever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Puerto Escondido mexico
  16. youngforever

    youngforever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Puerto Escondido mexico
    thanks, great feed back. I'm currently in Montreal, but I was in Mexico and Colombia this fall. This is our first winter in Montreal in 6 years and I hope it would never happen again. We enjoy riding in and around the Rockies in the summer, but when comes September we relocate to the Oaxacan coast in southern Mexico until mid April before it gets too hot. I call it home. If I have to die one day I hope it will there.

    Then Colombia is our awaiting destiny till mid June. My wife is a Colombian native and we have lived or travel every year to Colombia since 1974. So wether in Mexico or Colombia we feal at home making. It easier to have two weels awaiting me. My wife has great time with her family while I have free time to explore the back country.

    It's not the dream life. It's a give and take. We have four kids living in Montreal, they miss us and we miss them. Fortunately we have been able to have them visiting us.

    I have to disagree with you for one thing. Colombianitas are not as beautiful as your photos seem to make your followers bielive so. I think that their main atribute is their dynamism. They are high-energy persons. They can get twice as much work done. Surprizing they put twice as much energy to be and look pretty up. This make them pretty atractive.

    Cheers
    knight and Champe like this.
  17. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH

    The human life is not meant to be perfect but I think yours is very close.

    I assume you have a Canadian passport. Are you stuck in Canada now ? I hear you cannot cross the US/Canada border with a bike anymore, but can you fly to Mexico or Colombia now ?

    Hope things get close to normal soon - at least as far as travel goes.

    I do not disagree about what makes Latinas attractive. Looks is not the whole package. Attitude counts for a lot.
  18. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,795
    Location:
    In my natural state
    Re Spanish lessons: the iTalk site sounds cool. I have often thought there should be a website where native speakers of different languages could get together and exchange their knowledge for free. Surely there must be English learners who could benefit from a conversation with a native speaker, and in exchange have a conversation with a Spanish learner.
  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,076
    Location:
    Belmont, NH
    Klim Badlands Pro pants

    The pants that had a vent zipper failure in Colombia were replaced by Klim at no charge. Got them via UPS today. The new pants are quite a bit different but I would say the same or better quality. The material feels softer. The pads are thicker and they added a tailbone pad. The vent zipper is a more common looking all plastic one with teeth. Same tab pull. It works a lot smoother than the old one ever did.

    One feature that I know they know can use improving is to be able to work the zippers while riding. Good luck. Maybe the chest zippers on the jacket. Otherwise you have to stop and take it off. With the pants you need to stand straight to straighten the zipper, then pull. It is nice that they have designed this gear to be used in such a wide range of conditions... and here I am complaining that you have to operate it properly.
  20. youngforever

    youngforever Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Puerto Escondido mexico
    You are right, impossible to cross Canada/US border with a motor vehicle, but there is no restriction to fly the US. My initial plan was to drive the motorhome from British Colombia down to Mexico in September with two motorcycles. And from there ride the motorcycles to Panama, and sail to Cartagena. We none the less fly to Mexico and Colombia and be with friends and family and still healthy.
    Champe likes this.