60 kilometres long, 3 meters wide, draped with lush greens, topped with hazardous rocks and a few 1000 feet drop – this is Death Road!
I am no thrill seeker nor an adrenaline junkie. In fact, I can’t even go on amusement park rides or watch scary movies! So I have no idea how or why I agreed to go mountain biking down this so-called, most dangerous road in the world!
Death Road is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of Bolivia to La Paz and over the years has become a favourite destination for travellers wanting to experience some thrilling down-hill mountain biking.
(Apologies for the poor quality of photos but they were taken by the instructor on his camera! There was also no way I could brave taking mine out, mid-ride!)
My journey started in the city of La Paz and about an hour drive away, I arrived in a scenic open stretch of road, bordered with stunning snow-capped mountains.
After some quick instructions from our instructor and getting suited, booted, gloved and helmet-ed, we were ready to test out our double suspension (whatever that means) bikes!
This first stretch was a dream. A wide, open road with beautiful scenery all around and strong, icy air giving you a major wake up call! Going entirely down-hill, the speed was incredibly daunting which is why brakes became my new best friend. BUT, this was just the beginning as we were yet to arrive at the real Death Road.
Cool and refreshing winds and a smooth terrain now far behind us, we finally made it to our destination: Death Road.
All motivated and hyped up to go, not knowing exactly what I had in store for me!
I endured 60 kilometres of this down-hill trail of uneven, rocky terrain, blistering heat and petrifying speed! Never mind the fact that it was my first time ever mountain-biking; throw in these rocks and you get me horribly swerving at every step of the way! Embarrassingly, I was braking so much that they more or less gave way and began squeaking mid-ride. FAIL!
My nerves aside, the view all around was absolutely stunning! Greens and clear blues and row after row of mountains along the way. I only wish I had the courage to look up from my road ahead more than I did and take in everything around me.
This was definitely one of the best things I have ever done! Scary, exhausting, painful, long (the whole journey took about 4 hours!) and just completely nerve-wracking but so very worth it! Something I really tried to do on my entire trip was to not say no to any experience that was presented to me. As I said, I am no thrill-seeker and rarely go out of my comfort zone so being given this once in a lifetime opportunity meant that I needed to just shut my eyes, say yes and make the most of the ride!
There are several tour groups that provide this activity these days but the one that I went with was Altitude Biking and you can find more information about them here. Not to mention that you get a snazzy t-shirt as a keepsake once you complete the trail.
One thing to note is that people have and do die on Death Road so please be incredibly careful and responsible if you plan on trying this out!
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