November 11, 2011
The smiles of the men in this picture, enjoying a beer after a long bike ride, help make up my mental collage of Colombia. They flew by us in a tightly packed pace line as we pedaled our heavily loaded, lumbering touring bikes out of Bogotá. Waves and smiles and they were gone.
We finally caught up with them in a small town fifteen miles outside the city limits. They'd purchased a crate of beer for their team and they were sitting on the steps outside a store. Many of the riders were in their seventies. Seventy years plus and in better shape than most men half their age.
We begin each journey with little bits of fear and trepidation that we pack along like unwanted luggage. Too much time spent on the internet reading bad news. Too many travel warnings. Too many people sharing their opinions about places they've never been. Colombia has had more than its share of bad press.
Then we actually arrive in a country, hop on our bikes, and let the the small encounters paint a very different picture of this world we live in.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.