They did it! Barrow born Morgan Bywater with friends Henry Jeffers and Nathan Bell, completed their mission of cycling 8,000 miles, the length of South America, completely unsupported and self-funded to raise money for Help for Heroes.
The team completed their 8,000 mile ride from Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, to Cartagena, Colombia. This meant they cycled the Andes Trail through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Whew!
After leaving Lima they headed north along the Pan American Highway. It was so hot that Nathan’s hands managed to get sunburnt through his cycling gloves! Crossing over the border into Ecuador the team decided they would finish their journey in Cartagena, which is close to the Panama Canal, as they were ahead of time. Ecuador was very hilly and wet with banana plantations everywhere, and beautiful scenery. After reaching Quito they made a detour to Banos to do a bridge jump and another into the Amazon jungle.
The final leg of the journey climbed the mountains of Northern Ecuador into Southern Colombia. The winding roads rose to over 3,000 metres and Morgan said this was the hardest riding of the trip. Being ahead of time, they luckily missed the Ecuador earthquake of April 16th.
The 100km stretch of road near the Colombian border is branded by the Foreign Office as one of the most dangerous in the world. Robbery, drug-manufacturing, kidnapping and murder are all found here. However, the team decided they would take the risk and, despite the region’s bad reputation, only came across kind and humble people with a keen interest in their travels.
After cycling so many 1,000s of miles the bicycles were having problems but as Colombia is known for its cycling there were plenty of bike shops to do repairs.
The team arrived in Cartagena on April 21st after a marathon of 580 km in 35 hours. This added another 350km to their 8,000 total. Well done. A great achievement!
So far they have raised the magnificent figure of £5,383. You can still add to their total by going to www.justgiving.com/SouthAmerica and learn more about their trip from www.facebook.com/PedallingPatagoniaandBeyond and watch funny videos.