August 23, 2011 GMT
Episode I: First days in Santiago

Well here we are...
First blog of our trip.

It´s taken a lot of planning (Thank you Alex), whilst I was frantically finishing off work and things, and suddenly it was time to get ourselves to the airport. Christos helped to weigh the bikes...

(didn´t work...), and then off we went.

We spent two hours in Heathrow just packing the bikes,


with my parents´ help...into two big plastic bags...Great way to transport luggage, plastic bags...


80 pounds (Sterling) later, off the bikes go to Santiago


Arrival in Santiago was fairly uneventful. The Chilean airport workers were quite interested in our bikes (especially when it took us another two hours to put the bikes back together and the panniers on),


and then off we cycled through busy Santiago


to our first host - Pedro - of (a cycle touring network) who took us in with a big smile and open arms.


Pedro owns an amazing bike shop which is about 5 times bigger than the shop that we´d bought our bikes from, with everything a biker could possibly need under the sun...if we´d known, we´d have just gotten everything here!


We stayed in a rather posh area, about 500m from a "sports mall" where we browsed yachts (though didn´t find anything which fitted our criteria...)


kayaks, bikes, outdoors equipment, a climbing wall, a wave machine for surfers/wakeboarders to practise on...not quite what I was expecting of our first days in Chile anyway!


We did also walk around town, and saw some evidence of student protests, regarding education reforms in Chile, here's a huge banner that they put up in front of the university, for example. But we saw no trouble at all.


Day 2 in Santiago - a huge dump of snow...the city became white, people were throwing snowballs and trying to sledge down a slope with cardboard boxes...we hibernated in Pedro´s flat and kept warm!! It apparently never snows in I would have said that we brought it with us from London - except that it was lovely and warm when we left....


Day 3 - why not go skiing with all this fresh powder about? Valle Nevado, with fantastic powder, blue sky, warm sunshine...again, not quite what I was expecting of a cycle-tour, but hey, who´s complaining?? On the windy road up to the mountains, we saw some funny looking snow-hats for the cacti...


And here we are ready to go up the Andes...well, ok, the chair lift :-)


Alex nonchalantly going down an "expert slope"...


And the beautiful view from the top.


Finally we thought we should make a move...goodbye Pedro - we managed to leave the flat and cycle 62km (yes, I´m VERY proud of it...). This is at the beginning of the uphill part, saying goodbye to Santiago (you can tell it's the beginning as I was still smiling)


It would have been a shorter day, but when we reached Colina, our initial destination, and tried to find somewhere to stay, we were brought in front of the "policia" - and through sign language (sadly we don´t speak much Spanish) we established that there was no campsite OR hotels in this town (how is it possible!?!) Eventually our friendly policeman phoned a friend 25km away (!) and asked if we can camp in her backyard - behind the convenience store...´cos it was "safer" - well, if the police thinks so, who are we to argue?!


As it wasn't entirely planned, we arrived much later than we'd expected, in the dark. The Taiwanese instant noodles came to the rescue and we had a pretty good meal in the backyard!

Even though we had no common language with our impromptu hostess, Pilar, she opened her house to us, accepted no money and invited us to stay with her again on our way back from the North.

I ask that not a crazy start to our adventures??

The very next day - Alex decided that he was far too cold in his sleeping bag


despite looking fairly cosy in this picture, and that we had to cycle back to Santiago (don't forget, 62km!!) to find him a down sleeping bag to match mine...It was 10km of uphill, and a heck of a lot of pain. Poor Pedro received a "help" text to host us again, to which a cool "no problem" reply was gratefully welcomed.

We found the Chilean prices far too expensive, however, over twice what I had paid in London, and so two pairs of warm socks and a pair of thermal trousers later (£40 rather than £400!!), off we went again, determined to REALLY LEAVE Santiago, and start exploring Chile.


By the way, if anyone would like to follow our twitter updates (get me! techno-tastic!), this is the link:
- as we can do it through the Kindle, it will be frequently updated!!

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Posted by Ping-Yi at August 23, 2011 12:16 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!