Magical Realism in bike
Colombia, is well known and has been called for a few months: “Cycling Destination “, a destination that has gone from being a place for only a few days, to become the home of many foreigners. This time not only for its tourist attractions, holidays and culture, but also for the exciting routes that cyclists fall in love with.
Ben is an Englishman, born in London and dedicated to ride bicycle, another of his passions as well as pedaling, is the theater, art to which he dedicated part of his life.
We had the opportunity to talk with him and learn about his experience as a cyclist in Colombia; Ben told us the best routes that, from his point of view, no passionate can miss and other aspects that he has fallen in love with in our country.
-Bella in Sella: What was your passion before cycling ?
-Ben: Cycling has always been my passion. It was always my favourite hobby as a child. I remember watching Miguel Indurain on the television in the early 1990s. I went to Paris in 1997 to watch the final stage of the Tour de France, the year that Jan Ullrich won. Apart from cycling, my other passion was theatre. I was an actor for several years.
-Bella in Sella: What was your motivation to dedicated to ride bicycle?
- Ben: Riding a bike is such a pleasure – I don’t need any motivation. Even during the winter in England when it is cold and dark and raining! I love to be outside, to explore, to challenge myself, to go fast, or just to ride slowly and enjoy the peace and quiet away from the stress of daily life.
-Bella in Sella: Why did you choose Colombia as one of the places to ride?
-Ben: For me Colombia has always been a mythical place. It is on the other side of the world. It is the home of ‘magic realism’ and the homeland of the best cyclists in the world. It was always my dream to come here and to experience it for myself.
-Bella in Sella: What are the greatest experience a cyclist can have when they train in Colombia?
-Ben: Colombia has so much to offer for cycling, that there is not just one experience that is the best. Obviously Alto de Letras is famous and it is indeed very special. But there are incredible roads and climbs all over the country.
-Bella in Sella: What are your favorite routes in Colombia to ride? And why?
-Ben: Medellín / Oriente: No question. It has everything. You start in a really cool city and then climb up and out to amazing roads. The road surface is perfect, the climbs like La Unión and Topos are hard but satisfying. And then you can speed down Las Palmas to finish. It’s perfect.
-Bella in Sella: What other things you love from Colombia?
-Ben: Ajiaco and obviously the people – I came here alone with no real plan, just to ride my bike. All over the country I have been welcomed and helped by the most friendly people. Apart from cycling, I have visited a coffee finca, I have trekked to the “Ciudad perdida” in Tayrona and I have swum in the Caribbean Sea. Colombia is great!
-Bella in Sella: How is a normal day in your life?
-Ben: my alarm goes at 5am!!!! Then I go to ride – I prefer riding with other people so I am happy to get up early even though I am on holiday. I usually get back late morning or lunchtime, so I have some food (maybe a little sleep…) and then in the afternoon I do some tourist things, lots of walking. I always try to find really good cafes. For example, today I went to “El Laboratorio de Café” Then I go to sleep quite early, because I am getting up so early – so I haven’t really been doing any partying! In Cartagena I was getting up at 4am because it is so hot, you have to ride very early.
Once again, we confirm that our country has a culture rich in flavors, colors, sounds and landscapes and these are all the things and many more that can only be known and shared by having an experience close to our country.
We thank all our cycling heroes who have left our name high and have been part of this story that starts building around this sport.
We hope that our country could be filled with bicycle enthusiasts and that more and more people support this sport, that was born in our mountains and now crosses borders.