In today's blog post, I want to talk a little bit about what it's like to ride your road bike in Medellin, Colombia.
The traffic is a bit rough. The traffic is always moving and there are hardly any traffic jams when you're on a bike. You're encourages to split a lane, go around, etc. Just get through to the next place when you're here. The lights here flash green a few times and then turn yellow, then red. So if you see a flashing green, it will soon be yellow.
The drivers here I would say have skill. Due to the terrain, they are forced to drive in all the time, they must exercise caution. People are generally attentive and give some space. I think a lot of problems from drivers come from places where they don't have to think. Like in Florida where a driver just puts his or her mind on autopilot and points the car down a straight road. Here, there are potholes. There are obstacles, there are cliffs. So the drivers are generally more attentive. Just do not ever expect anything from them.
The terrain is tough. If you get out of the city, expect hard climbs but they aren't as bad as some I've seen. They are not straight up and down like in Vietnam or Thailand. The quality of the surface is a bit lower than average. If you really want to make the most out of your trip, strong wheels and 28mm tires are recommended. You can have every bit of fun on 23-25mm tires however, you just need to exercise more caution.
Pit Stops and Food On The Go
You'll see empanadas and arepas sold on the side of the road almost everywhere you go. There is no FDA or anything like that here so eat at your own risk, but I rarely hear of problems.
Danger and Safety
I feel safe on the bike. I stick to places where people ride. At least this way, I am not the first road cyclist they've seen today. A good way to find these routes if you're new is with Strava Segment Explorer. Look for segments with 1000s of attempts and that's where people commonly ride. I do not ride at night. It is less safe and you need your full vision to see imperfections in the road.
I've included a video of a 2 hour ride in Medellin below. You can see the Strava post of the associated ride here: