25 Aug, 2011 | Eleanor Potter
Death Road is a pretty scary name, and it led at least one of our group (namely myself) to be more than a little hesitant about taking up the challenge in the first place! Let me just explain the challenge: take a downhill bike all the way down Death Road, without dying. Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a successful tourism business if every other person snuffed it on the way down – but there are a fair few crosses along the way, and some hairy stories that the tour guide will ensure the most nervous person gets to hear all the details of!
I am so glad I was persuaded into it though. There is nothing like the feeling of the wind rushing through your hair, sun on your face, taking in the beautiful surroundings (but not too much though! ‘Don’t look at the edge and you won’t go over it...’ is the standard advice) and every so often, you suddenly realise: “Oh my God, I’m on Death Road. In Bolivia. On a bike. Wow.” It’s not a walk in the park though – coping with the temperature change from top to bottom, the narrow road (a scant 3 metres at times – I don’t envy the bus drivers!) and the very bumpy gravelly surface are all challenging factors. You alight at the bottom, arms feeling like they’ve been holding a pneumatic drill for five hours, windblown, bitten by sand flies and with a more than a slightly sore arse but nothing beats the feeling of achievement and elation and having taken on the World’s Most Dangerous Road. In your face Top Gear! And extra credit to our most intrepid cyclist, who may have taken a fairly heavy tumble in a tight turn but who we all have the utmost respect for: after completing the remainder of the journey recovering from concussion in the bus and swathed in various bandages, Gabriel Rachel still didn’t back down from our final challenge, an epic three-part zip wire experience.
Every single member of our group would recommend the trip. It is an absolute thrill and that joyful feeling afterwards is unlike any other.