Death Road Biking

Mountain biking down Bolivia’s Death Road with Xtreme Downhill.

The road was built-in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners. It is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to La Paz city. Upon leaving La Paz, the road first ascends to around 4,650 metres (15,260 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) at the town of Coroico, transiting quickly from cool Altiplano terrain to rainforest as it winds through very steep hillsides and atop cliffs. Because of the extreme drop-offs of at least 600 metres (2,000 ft), single-lane width – most of the road no wider than 3.2 metres (10 ft) and lack of guard rails, the road is extremely dangerous.
Xtreme Downhill

The first part of the ride is on tarmac to allow us to get used to the bikes before starting the official death road. This part of the journey was the fastest and our tour guide said that we would reach speeds up to 65km/h

Thankfully the death road has been closed to traffic for at least the last 3 years when the new alternative road was completed (took around 17 years to build and has over 110 bridges and takes longer to drive)

Before the new road was built the death road was the main route for traffic and estimations range from 100-500 people perishing on the road each year. All the way down on the side of the road are crosses and monuments to remember those who lost their lives on the road.

Pretty much the only traffic on the road now is mountain bikes and the occasional car

This is defiantly the most exhilarating and extreme bike ride I have ever been on

Once complete such a sense of achievement, however I found all the rapid changes in altitude over a short amount of time a bit too much and it had a funny effect on my body, by the time dinner rolled round my heart was racing so I had to call a doctor out. One injection and a few tablets sorted me out, i just had to take it easy for a couple of days.

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