Alee Denham

I’m CyclingAbout The Americas: Argentina To Alaska Over Two Years!!

My recent five-week bike tour of Japan was incredible. Too incredible. Incredible to the point where I didn’t want to get on that plane home when it was over! That feeling got me thinking about what the future holds, and guess what – it’s exciting. My heart and my mind are rearing to go bigger, longer and higher than ever before. And hopefully, you’ll join me virtually for my next chapter, CyclingAbout The Americas.

CyclingAbout The Americas

Alee Denham

The bottom of Argentina to the top of Alaska over two years? Let’s do it!

Since finishing a two-year overland bike trip from Europe to Australia (2012-14), I’ve completed dozens of month-long rides around the globe. While this has allowed me to get a taste of so many amazing places, it makes me feel uneasy to fly around the world all the time when it’s environmentally unsustainable.

In a time when climate change is having such a great effect on the planet and its occupants, I can’t continue with my routine of long-distance flights for short bike tours. Over the last few years, I’ve been slowly consuming less, living car-free, catching public transport and eating a vegan diet to reduce my impact. By staying away from air travel it will help me to further align my morals with my actions.

This trip is, of course, not perfect. Nothing ever is. CyclingAbout The Americas requires flights to get me to the start line. But the aim after that is to take zero flights for a good few years. I’m then considering setting up base in Canada once I finish, exploring the rest of North America all overland. Fingers crossed!

My KOGA WorldTraveller

I’ve decided to build up a custom touring bike for CyclingAbout The Americas via the KOGA Signature program. The custom configurator allows me to select the parts that I like, with a colour that is inconspicuous. I chose KOGA primarily because I’ve never owned an aluminium touring bike. You may have heard that aluminium is ‘harsh’ to ride on, irreparable and not as strong as steel, so part of this adventure is simply to assess whether any of these stereotypes ring true.

My KOGA WorldTraveller is fitted with my touring favourites such as a Rohloff 14-speed hub, Gates Carbon drivetrainVelo Orange Crazy BarsThe Plug III Schwalbe Almotion tyres, Tubus racks, Schmidt dynamo and more.

I’ve chosen 700c wheels and slick 2.00″ wide tyres, but this frame can accommodate 29er mountain bike tyres too. There was an option to go for 27.5+ wheels with 2.8″ tyres, but I think the times when the additional width will be advantageous will only be for a small portion of my trip.

Follow My Trip

I’m looking forward to sharing my travel experiences with you! I know that it’s not easy for many of you to travel to the places I get to go, so I hope my videos and resources will help you to experience the world by bike, in a capacity that works for you.

You can follow in a number of ways, you’ll get:
– Regular image updates by following my Instagram profile
– Stories, links and photos by liking my Facebook page
– Monthly videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel

That’s it. It’s pretty scary, but damn it’s exciting. Let’s take a look at where I will be over the next 12 months…

December to March 2018: Argentina and Chile

cyclingabout the americas
Chile and Argentina took the no.1 and no.3 slots as the best bike touring destinations! Image: Bicycle-Junkies.com

Ushuaia – The most southern town in the world
Southern Patagonia – Carretera Austral highway
Northern Patagonia – Lake district
Puna de Atacama – Dry, high plateau

March to May 2018: Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni
Kamran cycling the largest salt flat in the world, the Salar de Uyuni. Image: Kamran Ali

Lagunas Route – High altitude lakes, salt flats and weird rock formations
Salar de Uyuni – Earth’s largest salt flat
Death Road – World’s most dangerous road
Cordillera Real – Mountain range with 6000m peaks

May to July 2018: Peru

Best Road in the World
Portachuelo de Llanganuco, Peru.

The Huascaran Circuit
Peru’s Great Divide
Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash

July to August 2018: Ecuador

Cotopaxi Volcano
Cotopaxi Volcano dominates the landscape in Ecuador. Image: Kamran Ali

Volcanic Rollercoaster – Cotopaxi to Chimborazo

August to October 2018: Colombia

Kamran cycling through Colombia on his way to Panama. Image: Kamran Ali

Eastern Cordillera

Got Any Advice For My Trip? Can You Host Me? Feel Free To Drop A Comment Or Contact Me Via Email/Facebook

  1. Wow, looks beautiful!! One word of warning, the US is kind of a shithole right now due to our garbage president and his fans, so be careful for that kind of aggression to spill over to the roadways and national parks as well! Apologies in advance…

  2. Where did you find the 27.5 + 2.8″ tyres in the Koga configurator? I’d be interested in that, but I only see the 28″ options.

  3. Great adventure awaits you and good luck with that. But one question popped up in my mind. When you described how you want to make your carbon footprint smaller then why do you need a new bike which will cost about 1 to 2 thousand dollars? I`m sure you have a bike, or suitable part of bike witch is suitable for that adventure.

  4. Some examples were shown at Eurobike! This option will be applicable for the WorldTraveller-S and the new E-WorldTraveller-S (both discbrake only) and will be available in the configurator within 8 weeks.

  5. Did you consider the wider 55/2.15 Almotion tire? I love it for gravel roads. Jan of Bike Quarterly has also come around to fatter tires for gravel road touring. Are you going tubeless? A better option for the puncture prone western U.S.. What rim width? inside 29mm makes for more stability at lower pressure.

  6. Koga only carry stock of the 50/2.00 Almotion. I’m assuming this is due to fender/mudguard clearance. I’m happy with 2.00″ in any case. I don’t plan to run tubeless, as I find it can be a bit of a hassle on a trip this long. I’ve also had zero punctures on my current Almotion tyres, so hopefully that trend continues!

    I’ll be using the Ryde Andra 210 rim which has a 19mm rim width. It’s a bit on the narrow side, but given I’ll be carrying a fair bit of gear, my tyre pressure will be up pretty high for this trip.

  7. I see that Brazil is not part of the itinerary. Any specific reasons why? (just curious) You will probably get some of the Amazon forest around Peru and Bolivia, but if you are willing to consider some (significant) adjustments to the route in deference to further natural beauty, have a look at Bonito (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil/the-central-west/bonito) and Lencois (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Lencois-maranhenses-brazil-thousands-clear-blue-lagoons-in-sand-dunes-180951756/ ). Best of luck and I’ll be definitely following your adventures.

  8. Awesome dude! I would be jealous if we weren’t doing our own year long trip starting later this year (which your website has been very useful for planning).

  9. Nice trip!
    I’ve been in some place so I can give you some advice: first one is for the beginning, in Patagonia going south to north mean have wind mostly against you, think about it!
    Almost all the ruta 40 (Argentina) and carrettera austral (Chile) are unpaved and mostly are terrible gravel surface called “ripio”, you need at least the schwalbe mondial, the allmotion is not the best there.
    Even in Bolivia you need better tyre: all the track in the Salar are pretty bad.
    I’ve done also the most dangerous road, now is’t pretty tourist but still a good experience, you just need a ride for reach the top at the beginning (almost 5000 mt high!) and good brakes!

  10. Really excited for you! I’ll be reliving your trip, as it sounds like you’ll be taking some of the exact routes I did but in reverse.

    FYI, don’t ever doubt doing the Peru Great Divide, or for that matter, anything that the Pikes have contributed on andesbybike.com. It’s tough going, but by far the highlight of the Americas.

  11. That’s great, Alee. Feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions or concerns. Though somewhat outdated, also feel free to have a look at my blog (I tried to include some useful information for other bike tourists doing the same routes):



  12. Wow! Congratulations on your decision! It’s good to change from watching pretty touring bikes to actually get back on the road, well done!
    Have a great trip, and send updates from time to time. I’m planning myself to do the same trip (the other way around, north to south) in about 2 years with my family (waiting for my son to grow up a little bit). We also plan to take 2 years to do it, but not like you to visit a lot of places, but rather because we expect to do no more than 50km per day…

  13. That occurred to me as well, particularly since aluminium has the nickname ‘congealed electricity’ due to the huge amounts of power it takes to make it. But I understand your point about needing to stay on top of the game. At least it’s a quality product that will last. I think it’s great that you’ve opted for a more sustainable form of travel – we all need to make adjustments to our lives to help our planet. Have a great trip!

  14. there is really nothing preventing you to do the patagonia leg the other way. you will need transport in one of the directions regardless. also remember to bring a spare backup hub, oil and seals. would not do such a trip without it. or rather would avoid hub gear.

  15. there is also something romantic about reaching the end of the world by own means!
    understand you wish to end up in canada, going the other way from alaska to c
    anada is also wise wind-wise:) watch out for bears, and in south america and the us for dogs. you know this of course. whistle and bear spray; what else do you bring?

  16. Hi Alee,
    Have a great ride, My wife & I just came back from 9mths of ‘cycling & trekking in Chile, Argentina, Peru & Bolivia, using a 2006 Koga Signature & a Koga Randonneur both with Rohloffs. We rode lots of ripio, dozens of high passes & avoiding sealed roads where possible. My bike was grossly overloaded. We ended up sending about 10-15kg back to Australia. At one point we had to carry 25L of water & it was barely enough. We never broke a spoke, have a wheel go out of true, or had any problem with the frames even though both these bikes have done over 30K kms.
    Our biggest problem was sourcing tyres. 700 x 42 to 47mm tyres are totally unavailable in South America even in big cities. I had to use 29 inch tyres & cut away part of the rear wheal mud guard attachment point to get them to fit. Similarly 26x 2″ is hard to find. 27.5 & 29 inch tyres are now far more common but not necessarily good quality. Personally if your going to ride ripio the wider the tyre the better.
    Ripio not a dirt road like we are used to in Australia. Most often it is comprised of evil round river pebbles up to 100mm in size, uncrushed & uncompacted, spread liberally over the the entire road. It is more like riding a river bed than a road, just add corrugations to taste. At some points we had to push the bikes on flat ground as the tyres would just “dig in”, as if riding on soft sand! Melodrama.
    Some days were more trying than others.
    Due to the quieter nature of the roads & generally low traffic speed, where we we travelled, I would say that ‘cycling over there was safer than in Australia, until you came to a city or large town.


    Look forward to following your adventures
    Peter & Vicki Webber

  17. Hi Vicki and Peter,

    Thanks for sharing your advice! I’m planning on getting tyres sent in along the way, so that I don’t have to rely on bike shops for stock. I’ll be using 29 x 2.0″ tyres. Which section did you need to carry the most water?

    Many thanks,

  18. Hi Alee,
    In Northern Chile, where almost all surface water is saline & you can’t melt snow due to Sulphur contamination. We found we had to buy water in the Altiplano of Bolivia & Northern Chile as there was no surface water to filter.
    Most of the trip we didn’t have to carry much water, as we could filter (MSR Guardian) from any suitable water courses we passed during the day. We never actually ran out of water, but had to filter out of a tiny soak one day when we didn’t think we were going to get to the next town & needed water for overnight.
    IMO I would not recommend anything under 2.0″, preferably wider. We had tyres ready to post in Australia. When I asked our AirBnB host in La Paz, if I could use her address to send the tyres, she told us not to send them, as in her opinion they would be stolen or if they did show up they would be months late. The best is if you are meeting a friend over there & get them to bring them with them. Just our experience, obviously other people have been successful in receiving supplies, but my Spanish is not that good for organising the delivery & receipt of goods.
    Regards Peter

  19. Welcome to South America! Huge fan of your site, and it’s nice to see you coming to the place I now call home. 🙂

    If you happen to stop by Santiago, you’re invited for a beer or even a couch if that’s what you need.

    Enjoy your trip!

  20. Good luck bro!! Looking forward to seeing how you get on. You picked up the new bike yet?

  21. I just found your blog after following you on Instagram for a bit.
    Once you reach the States and if your tour takes you through Colorado, you have a room, a bed and shower and a good meal at our place if you decide to come through Denver.
    I’m looking forward to following your adventure!

  22. Great to know about your trip through America! I just tought about adding a colon to the title to make it even more bold. “CyclingAbout: The Americas”

    As a life-long citizen of Latin America I’d like to give you some advice.

    Try to use the toughest and widest tires you can get. Blacktops across Latin America are only fair within the bigger cities and some highways. Everywhere else you’ll have to deal with holes, cracks, loose gravel, and lots of dirt.

    The ideal wheel size is 26″ followed by 29″, since mtb bikes are really popular all over Latin America. 700c are found mainly in the bigger cities due to the aforementioned road conditions.

    Never drink water from the tap. In the USA bottled water is a scam, but in Latin America is the only warranty against amibiasis, bilharzia, or dehydration by diarrhea when you are far away from the town. Always drink bottled water or canned beverages, even in restaurants. Get a reverse-osmosis filter if you can: just like you first aid kit, you might have to use it only once, but it will save your life.

    I’d recommend to stay away from the Gates belt drive for a simple reason: they are almost unknown in Latin America. But you can find 9-speed chains everywhere at fair prices, and 10-11 speed chains in bigger cities. You might want to buy a belt and can of Rohloff oil and leave them in a friend’s or your parent’s house, ready to be shipped to a major city when needed via UPS or Fedex.

    When you have to get supplies or parts from outside the country you are in, try to have them sent by a big-name service like UPS, FedEx or DHL to a good-size city instead of a town.

    Customs officers and law-enforcement people can’t be trusted. When they ask for your papers, give them a quality color copy instead of the original. If they insist on having the original, don’t let them get out of your sight.

    Try to include Brasil in your trip. It’s the only Latin American country with a big cycling industry of their own, (with even a recumbent bike builder) and their products are top-notch.

    While most people could warn you about crime, one common trait of Latin Ameican people is our friendliness to visitors. Lots of tourists and trekkers travel here to get amazed by the nature and to enjoy the unique foods and experiences we share. Once you spend quality time around here, you’ll understad why so many adventurers keep coming and returning. See ya!

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