Mountain Biking Cotopaxi; The World’s Highest Active Volcano
Mountain Biking Cotopaxi? Sure, why not. When you have the opportunity to mountain bike down the world’s highest active volcano. Yet you have no mountain biking experience. Nor have you acclimatized to Quito’s 2, 800m altitude (almost 10, 000 feet) having just arrived yesterday from Colombia, clearly you should respectfully decline.
Add a reunion with an old friend into the mix, a measure of peer pressure and a rather large ego and declining is no longer an option; so off I went. Mountain biking down Cotopaxi. Oh sh*t.
Before long we were signed up through the Biking Dutchman. 49USD for the day trip, quality equipment, transport, guide, etc. Done.
Table of contents
Starting the Day
The day started pretty early early. We met at a cafe in the Mariscal district in Quito and waited for our guide to turn up around 07.30. There was a group of six of us and before long we were in the back of the minibus for the 90 minutes ride out of Quito. Bringing us to near the summit of the world’s highest volcano, Cotopaxi.
An Easy Ride?
The ride is pretty easy until you enter the national park. From there it’s a little bumpy. But the scenery is fantastic so it’s no big deal.
As usual, I had come very unprepared. Not even wearing a coa. And once we finally got to near the summit, at 4500m, it was snowing. The temperature was around five degrees, marvellous. Thankfully, the team at the Biking Dutchman clearly come across idiots like me fairly regularly so they had a couple of spare coats to keep me warm.
Once we were out of the car, the dramatic landscape really hits home. This part of the world is just epic. We had a quick debrief about how to use the gears, how to wear a helmet etc. And we lined up ready to go biking Cotopaxi!
There are essentially three sections when you mountain biking Cotopaxi, so here we go:
SECTION ONE of the ride
The best section, but also the most difficult. You don’t have to peddle at all. It’s all downhill and it’s pretty steep. You’re constantly on the breaks and the bumps really take it out of your arms.
But the views are second to none, and with Cotopaxi, in the background, you really feel like you’re out in the wilderness.
You can stop as often as you like, and the group gets quite spread out. Daredevils gunning it down the hill as fast as they can, photographers stopping every corner to take some beautiful pics. And the more risk-averse peeps holding the fort at the back.
You’re free to work at your own pace, which is perfect, because it’s not that easy. It’s loads of fun though. And for me this was ‘real’ downhill mountain biking.
This section takes around two hours
SECTION TWO of the ride
Spread out before and after lunch, section two requires a little bit of peddling.
You’re on more of a flat plateau, cycling over dirt paths and rocky routes. The volcano is further back behind you no. And there are two or three uphill sections that require you to drop gears. The speed is much slower. But the workload is slightly higher. It’s a gorgeous track and you cover a fair few km through the Ecuadorian countryside.
You stop for homemade lunch halfway through which is well needed. And the brownies to finish off are pretty special. Remember to ask for seconds.
This section takes around an hour before, and an hour after, lunch
SECTION THREE. The final ride.
You’re almost home and dry. It’s much easier from here on in… almost. Before you get to the paved, asphalt road you have to hit a seriously taxing uphill battle, complete with a hardcore bump. Which bloody hurt your hands and arms. It’s pretty good fun, and you really earn the ease of the last section.
Once you get up the hill, it’s literally almost all downhill on a smooth road, with mountain ranges all around you. Super peaceful, and a wonderful way to end the day.
You finish up at the national park entrance. Grab yourself a cup of coffee/beer and jump back in the transport to be dropped off at your hostel/hotel. My plans to party afterward fell by the wayside, as soon as I hit my bed, as I was a goner. So tired. What a brilliant day, an absolute MUST DO as a day-trip from Quito. another one to add to the travel bucket list.
Check out http://www.bikingdutchman.com/ to sort out your trip, or hit them up on:
Good luck guys, if you do this – let me know how you get on. I know you’re gonna love it. Happy travels.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.
Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!
Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.
Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email email@example.com to get started.
Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.
I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!