Hi. It’s your old pal awesome Mike. I had an opportunity to visit Santiago Chile in February.
A trip anywhere without riding or beer sampling isn’t complete. As any self respecting team vango mountain biker would do I drank some delicious beers and rode some sweet singletrack. Mmmm mmmm it’s a tough life.
After some online research I found Santiagorentabike.com On the day we’d planned I found out their new van had been stolen. Boooooo! Welcome to South America. This is a common occurrence. They have a cool little shop located a short distance away from downtown. It was short enough so I decided to walk. I got lost and had to be rescued. They offer Kona rental bikes and they have cruisers as well. Santiago is an awesome city with three nice hills in its heart so we could ride despite the stolen van. Riding from the shop to Cerro San Christobal Park was an adventure in itself. Think downtown Toronto during rush hour with 1.5 times the population density. After a perilous ride we reached the park. It’s a beautiful place with drinking water and food stands all over. It supports all sorts of riding. Roadies seem to love blasting down the paved curvy roads dodging pedestrians and cars at insane speeds. The singletrack there is great. It’s of the climb on the road to singletrack down hill variety. There are trails for most intermediate/advanced riders. The trails are made of baby powder soft sand covering a hard surface. The locals call it “Anti Grip”. Traction in corners is tough but lots of fun. It was great to see so many people getting together and going riding. The rock gardens range between challenging to holly $&$@? people ride this? I fell precisely 41 seconds into the ride when my new cleats made a fool of me. My hand got some new trophies. The guides were awesome riders, great guys and good paramedics.
We rode as long as we had time for and went for a beer afterwards. Give santiagorentabike.com a looking at and like them on Facebook. Great bunch of guys.
Chile has a vide variety of local beer and wines and I tried many different types. I can’t say I had one I didn’t like;) One of note was a dark Chilean beer called Quimera. It was excellent dark beer with 8.2% courage. It hid it’s potency well but I found it best for sharing. Funny thing, strangers seem to like chatting if you offer them beer. I also had a variety of beers from a brewery called Kuntsmann as well. They have a huge range of beers which were pretty Awesome. All in all an interesting city with lots of old buildings and attractions to keep you busy when not riding or tasting yummy beers.
By lucky coincidence my trip also coincided with Redbull’s Cerro Abajo urban down hill race in Valparaiso. Its an awesome city to visit located 1.5hrs from Santiago. It was built on a steep hill by the ocean. 10000 people show up to this event featuring some of the worlds best downhillers. Amazing to watch these riders so close.the jumps were amazing as you could basically be underneath the riders catching air. The course is on small roads going by homes and businesses. You can walk it entirely but its not easy as there are crowds close to every jump. The extremely small sidewalks and staircases that are all over valparaiso also make it difficult with that many people walking around. People capitalize on the event by selling beer and charging spectators to use their private bathrooms. There were 15-20 competitors each one riding the course twice. Amazing to watch the skill of these riders. A cool day watching an amazing spectacle.