by Diana Proemm
The thought of hopping on a brand new trek mountain bike was making my blood run fast! Maybe it was due to the high potency of the Colombian coffee I had just downed with breakfast at Gringo Mikes. None the less, we were about to embark on a full day adventure consisting of 50km downhill and cross country mountain bike ride in San Gil, Colombia. San Gil is known as the extreme sports capital of Colombia offering downhill mountain biking, Class IV and V whitewater, paragliding, caving and more. The mountains are incredible and are around 2000 meters (or approximately 6000ft) deep. This area also boasts Chicamocha canyon as the largest canyon in the country.
After meeting our fellow tour mates and downing a fat burrito from Gringo Mikes in San Gil, we were shuttled in a Toyota Land Cruiser high on a mountainside above the little historical colonial tourist town of Barichara. We were outfitted with out bikes, water packs and safety gear. Our goal was to ride around 10km downhill along some single track into town and then break for a quick snack. After reaching town we sat in the quaint square eating bananas and granadilla. We departed Barichara winding downhill to the Suarez River where we stopped for lunch. A nice dip in the river before eating lunch was utter bliss in the heat of the day.
After lunch we were shuttled up the other side of the canyon above the little village of Galan. We then hopped on our bikes and rode half-way down the canyon. There was a technical section of rock boulder trail that the upper level riders went down, and those that chose not to ride that section stayed on the road and met at the bottom. We continued on through the country side riding up and down along quaint little farms and green jungle scenery you dream of. We ended our ride at a little stream and then were shuttled to a small stand on the river to end our trip with a celebratory beer and chips.
Needless to say, the Colombian Bike Junkies put on a good trip. They were first class in equipment (which is not the case with most Colombian or Latin American companies) along with their shuttle and guide service. As a glutton for mountain biking, I signed up for another 50km trip a few days later, while Trevor went paragliding. Both biking trips allowed me to see the beauty of the Colombian countryside and drop into some steep canyons in a way most people don’t. Truly an amazing experience.
Diana is an adventure photographer traveling whenever and where ever she can. The Bigger Picture uses my love for photography to capture real people using recreation to gain wellness and happiness. Diana Proemm is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) with a photography and travel problem. She provides RT consulting and photography services throughout the USA and beyond.