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  1. #1
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    Mountain Biking In Perú

    This thread is intended to be a primer about the mountain bike scene in Perú. The original conversation started in this thread.
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...aca-Puebla-too

    I think this is a better place. I have been riding in Perú since 2001, and the scene has matured to the point that I would like to get groups together to ride there. The riding varies from upper-intermediate to as agro as you want. There are very, very few ‘purpose built’ trails, but there are a million miles of single track that are not on any map.
    This is a little long, but will give you a great visual representation of some typical trails that you would ride in/above the Sacred Valley, near Cusco.


    Please feel free to ask any pertinent questions, and we will see where this thread leads!

    In my mind, experiencing riding in Perú right now is magical. It is in it’s ‘golden age’, kind of like living in JH in the late 80’s early 90’s. Extremely few people, unlimited terrain. Enough local riders that trails are being discovered and improved, (there are only a few thousand riders in the entire country) but such light traffic that there are absolutely no braking bumps yet. No ATV’s, and basically no recreational motos.
    The altitude keeps a lot of people away, as well as the difficulty of the trails and navigating them. Poking around on your own would be ok if you lived there, but you would waste a lot of time exploring without a guide, IME.

    The lodging and restaurant infrastructures are obviously well established, due to Macchu Picchu and other tourist activity. It is also still relatively cheap for foreigners, but it is not immune to global inflation, of course.
    Last edited by rideit; 12-01-2023 at 02:04 AM.
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  2. #2
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    If someone was ever organizing an intermediate trip I would be interested.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
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  3. #3
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    A decent rider that can handle some tech (think Hymasa/Ahab level? Heil/Hall?) could handle 80-85% of the great routes. And there is no shame in walking some sections! There is the possibility of some exposure, though. But the guides generally know how to qualify the riders with a ‘warm-up’ lap or two.
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  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Danno, I am actually thinking about organizing two trips in May, one with four or five days of fast n' rowdy, and immediately following that a multi day less rowdy trip.
    Last edited by rideit; 09-17-2022 at 09:35 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Ballpark from Denver all in for a 5 day trip,how much would you guestimate?

  7. #7
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    Wondering the same.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "everybody's got their hooks into you, fuck em....forge on motherfuckers, drag all those bitches across the goal line with you." - (not so) ill-advised strategy

  8. #8
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    I’ll work on an all-in price, (in Cusco) depends on a few things.
    I can’t help with international travel.

    How many days of riding? (You will need a day or even two of travel on either end of the trip, so likely it would be a 8-10 day trip total)
    How many in a group? (Usually a bit cheaper with more, 6 and 10 are where the prices come down)
    How many nights lodging total?

    How ‘fancy’ lodging do you want, or not?
    Those are the basics.
    I can easily come up with per day prices from the Cusco airport and back.

    Other thing to consider, will you want to go to Macchu Picchu for a day?
    Last edited by rideit; 09-17-2022 at 11:27 PM.
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  9. #9
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    If you fly all the way there and don’t visit Macchu Picchu that’s an absolute travesty


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  10. #10
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    ^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^

    But you can’t just roll up anymore, gotta have your ducks in a row. Where we ride is about 20-40 miles away by train. Roughly. (You have to take the train, and they sell out)
    Last edited by rideit; 09-18-2022 at 12:50 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Super-rough and loose bottom line: between $3000 and $5000 per person, depending on how long you want to stay, and what the tastes of the group are. This is based off of a $1200 round trip ticket to Lima (I checked Denver and SLC as reference points for early May.) would likely be a 10 day trip or so.
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  12. #12
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    I wind up in Cajamarca a couple of times a year for work. Any thoughts on the riding around there? I imagine there is tons of historic singletrack trails all over the country. Any guiding or beta around that area?

  13. #13
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    A buddy of mine wrote this book:

    https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Biking.../dp/1852846313

    For several years, he ran a hotel in Ollantaytambo (the last train stop before Machu Pichu), and did guided mtb trips (as well as moto and horse trips). I spent 10 days or so down there, and he showed me some super fun stuff. He's pioneered several trails, and started the biggest DH race in the area (Inca Avalanche). Probably the best source of info you could find.

    PM me and I'll see if I can get you in touch (assuming he's interested in being in touch - I'll check - maybe you'll just have to buy the book).


    EDIT: Actually, I'll take back the offer to get directly in touch with Will. Here's the company he started:

    https://kbperu.com/

    Get ahold through them, please (he's busy doing the same sort of thing in Iceland now).
    Last edited by skizix; 09-19-2022 at 12:08 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by altacoup View Post
    If you fly all the way there and don’t visit Macchu Picchu that’s an absolute travesty


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    Nope. I stayed pretty much right next door, and did not visit. Instead, we went to Choquequirao. Which is on the same scale as machu picchu (maybe bigger - it's still being uncovered), but MUCH more remote and hard to get to (so *no* crowds).

    Access basically involves crossing the Grand Canyon: 5000'+ down, 5000'+ feet up the other side. We did both downhills (the way there and on the way back) on mtb's, which was some radical, sketchy stuff! Whilst on bikes, mules carried our camping backpacks down. Then we met them at the bottom, strapped our bikes onto the mules, and hiked up with our backpacks (very little of the marathon hikes up would have been rideable). The few folks we encountered looked at us like we were completely nuts - may have been the first mtb mission to Choqi. Saved a ton of time though (we made it to the site in 1 day, which normally takes folks 2 days), and it was incredibly fun, endless DH mtb-ing.

    I'll post some pics later, when I get the time. Skip the machu picchu crowds and do Choqi, if you are game!

  15. #15
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    As much as I would love to go ride bikes in Peru, I think if I'm able to come up with $5K for a trip I'd have to go hang with Buster & Vendul.
    "The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiracer88_00 View Post
    I wind up in Cajamarca a couple of times a year for work. Any thoughts on the riding around there? I imagine there is tons of historic singletrack trails all over the country. Any guiding or beta around that area?
    I have done two trips there, great riding, lots of Inka trails. My guy Wayo just did an Endure race there yesterday, i will get some details from him. There is a new, younger crew pioneering routes there currently.

    We also can do the Choquequirao trek with bikes, it's amazing.people have been dragging bikes up there for about 8 yeas now.

    We also do this type of thing in Huaraz, we did some trails up to 16.5k Altitude this way in the early '00's.
    I am sure your trip was awesome!

    Ski racer, there are also some amazing ruins up near Cajamarca and Cajabamba that could provide that super- out there experience with bicycles.
    Last edited by rideit; 09-19-2022 at 03:02 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post

    We also can do the Choquequirao trek with bikes, it's amazing.people have been dragging bikes up there for about 8 yeas now.
    Our Choqi trip was around 15 years ago

  18. #18
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    Sweet!
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  19. #19
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    Can't wait until grinch and his boys get down there on their ebikes. Peru, like all impoverished countries, has no sense of rules, laws, or preservation efforts of any kind. A complete free for all ripe for wealthy Americans to do whatever the fuck they want there.

  20. #20
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    Please read the link to the thread I posted in the OP.

  21. #21
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    What link?

    I'd just be conscious of pushing mountain biking, and inevitably, e-mountain biking, in too many places in Peru. Unlike the US, with wilderness and national parks where you can't bike (or ebike), Peru doesn't have the same amount of restrictions.

    Brad Johnson, author of Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, discusses this dilemma in his guidebook. He mentions in the early days of climbing down there the Italians wanted the experience to be just like it was in the Alps. So they convinced the Peruvian government to build refugios high in the mountains, inside Huascaran National Park. Johnson, an American, took more of a wilderness preservation perspective than the Europeans and was upset these refugios were built.

    It's a beautiful landscape. But they already have vehicle roads to 16,000 feet where roads probably should have never been built, massive dams in pristine mountain valleys, and cows everywhere. As altacoup mentions, the indigenous are still using all these trails to get their livestock from one side of the Andes to the other. Walking past them on the trail seems a little less in their face than blowing past them on a $5k ebike.
    Last edited by altasnob; 09-19-2022 at 04:38 PM.

  22. #22
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    As it stands right now there are really no e-MTB rentals in the country, yet. (Maybe a few near Lima. ). So ebikes would have to ship their batteries. None of the guides offer ebike tours yet. It will happen, though.

    This link.

    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...aca-Puebla-too
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post
    Walking past them on the trail seems a little less in their face than blowing past them on a $5k ebike.
    Not to worry. There are no full suspension ebikes in existence that any outfitter would trust to send their tourist customers on that cost anywhere close to only $5K.
    "The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."

  24. #24
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    Lol, true. But locals use the trails with 125 and 250 dirt bikes sometimes to get to their fields up high, and no one cares.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by altacoup View Post
    If you fly all the way there and don’t visit Macchu Picchu that’s an absolute travesty
    Gonna agree with this. Insert name of the other place mentioned if you need to, but not everyone has the time, ambition or connections to go somewhere that remote. Even if it's busy MP is still an amazing place to visit.


    Quote Originally Posted by skizix View Post
    That's the company I rode with for a few days when I was in Ollantaytambo. The train to Macchu Picchu was booked up for 3 days so I stopped in at a few tour companies who had bikes hanging in the window. None had any trips going which all required 2-3 riders minimum, but I pointed out 5 half and full day ones at KB and asked if they'd do them for me for $200. They said yes, so it was me and the guide and a taxi driver they hired going up to 14k passes and other spots and riding back to town. The owner Will stopped by at the end of one of the days but he wasn't running the tours. Great time despite the bikes being on the shitty side.


    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post
    I'd just be conscious of pushing mountain biking, and inevitably, e-mountain biking, in too many places in Peru. Unlike the US, with wilderness and national parks where you can't bike (or ebike), Peru doesn't have the same amount of restrictions.

    Brad Johnson, author of Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, discusses this dilemma in his guidebook. He mentions in the early days of climbing down there the Italians wanted the experience to be just like it was in the Alps. So they convinced the Peruvian government to build refugios high in the mountains, inside Huascaran National Park. Johnson, an American, took more of a wilderness preservation perspective than the Europeans and was upset these refugios were built.

    It's a beautiful landscape. But they already have vehicle roads to 16,000 feet where roads probably should have never been built, massive dams in pristine mountain valleys, and cows everywhere. As altacoup mentions, the indigenous are still using all these trails to get their livestock from one side of the Andes to the other. Walking past them on the trail seems a little less in their face than blowing past them on a $5k ebike.
    Is Brad's middle name Karen? I'd be a lot more concerned about more roads, dams and other development in remote valleys and cattle grazing than mountain bikers and hikers using the trails. The guide I had on a separate bike tour in Bolivia mentioned that a lot of the indigenous trails in his area are starting to disappear as locals use the roads for travel instead. We explored one of those trails on our last tour day and it was partly washed out and overgrown. That was in 2005. So bike traffic might actually be helpful to keeping the trails open. The social aspect would be the bigger problem, which is why I like the idea of requiring guides for access. They can make sure riders are respectful of locals and it brings income to the local economy. If I recall, tour companies like KB had to be 50% owned locally and they use local guides.

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