Photo Gallery: Bicycle Touring Brazil and Uruguay

SAND. TRUCKS. HILLS. JUNGLE. It’s been a strange month because my preconceptions of Uruguay and Brazil were so different from the reality. Normally my judgement is spot on, but I didn’t plan to end up here, so I guess I didn’t have time to think about it.

Uruguay is so liberal and so peaceful. It’s amazing how different the culture is to the surrounding countries despite having a similar history. Brazil is ultra busy and hilly. It’s super hard to get away from all the ruthless truck drivers! There are so many wild animals, such beautiful landscapes as well as incredible European architecture to admire.

bicycle touring brazil

At dusk last night I turned onto this small road and pedalled a few kilometres. I set up my campsite, made a delicious pasta and then fell asleep… for 12 hours! There’s nothing quite like resting in nature; I feel so invigorated having just been amongst the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires!

bicycle touring brazil

Compared to Argentina, Uruguay has slower drivers and big shoulders on all of the roads. These two things make riding here feel much safer than the previous 6000km.

bicycle touring brazil

A month ago I had no idea I would be riding with the Atlantic Ocean by my side. This situation was very intentional, however. I craft my life, not just my bike trips, in a way that provides a level of unpredictability. Do you too find life a little less enjoyable when you can see exactly what’s coming?

bicycle touring brazil

In the last few days I’ve ridden (walked) over 20km on sand. There are definitely easier ways to see the world!

bicycle touring brazil

Trying to ride on sand dunes was frustrating, but not as frustrating as my week! So far: my phone won’t charge properly, my stove pump needs a rebuild, 1x broken sunglasses, 1x broken spoke, 1x puncture, my powerbank stopped charging from my dynamo and I have sand through EVERYTHING. Argh… the ups and downs of bike travel… but up from here, right?!

bicycle touring brazil

I’ve never felt a strong tribal affiliation for where I grew up, and I’ve also never found a patch of Earth that feels truly mine. Wherever I am, wherever I have the experience of SUBLIMITY – it could be hiking in Nepal, or cycling in Patagonia, or sitting in the doorway of a train in Sri Lanka… wherever I am, at that precise moment — that’s home to me.

bicycle touring brazil

WHY DO I PUSH MYSELF? I find that there’s a freeing aspect to pushing boundaries, not because my body is going through hell, but because there is a mental strain on my body’s desire to quit. When I push past this, my flaws are laid out in front of me, exposing the true vulnerabilities of me as a person. My only option at the time is to accept them as it’s incredibly difficult to think highly of yourself when your body is screaming to stop.

bicycle touring brazil

I didn’t enjoy the first 600km of touring in Brazil. This was because the roads were packed with TRUCKS. On one occasion I counted 30 semi-trailers pass me by in one minute! It’s actually quite stressful. But north of Porto Alegre is different. There are ample dirt back roads with zero traffic. They are ultra steep at times but I finally feel connected to nature again.

bicycle touring brazil

I’ve been riding in this Patagonia Sol Patrol II shirt for almost 2000km. I bought it because lots of you suggested I get away from my cheap cotton shirts and try something technical and fancy. I tried on dozens of shirts but the synthetic material felt scratchy on my skin, or the fit was super baggy… ’til I found this one. It’s a size small despite my 2m height. The arms are a bit short, but it fits well elsewhere. It dries quicker in mild temperatures and it doesn’t crinkle. It doesn’t feel cooler, but the buttons and materials are WAY more durable and it’s less susceptible to UV damage (the downfall of my regular cotton shirts). If it lasts 6+ months of daily use, I’ll be happy with the high sticker price.

bicycle touring brazil

When the backroads turn from dirt to bitumen, you’re in trouble. That’s because these are the steepest sections of the road! I have pretty low gears on my touring bike, but 20% for more than a minute is exhausting!

bicycle touring brazil

Last night I was photobombed by a doggo! I was a bit annoyed at first, but then I saw the result and was stoked.

bicycle touring brazil

Since my video about the truck drivers in Brazil, many people have commented saying that I should ride on the small country roads. Trust me… I do!! I follow as MANY as possible for obvious reasons. The thing is that Brazil is littered with mountains and rivers. These geographic barriers make it impossible to complete a 2000km touring route without getting spat onto the busy trucking roads at multiple points.

bicycle touring brazil

As soon as the sun goes down, I give myself just 15 minutes to find a place to camp — it’s not worth any more time when you’re off again at dawn. I’m normally somewhat hidden so I feel very safe, even in big cities. My main concern is that there is no barking dog within 200m! Recently I’ve pitched in vineyards, industrial areas, soy fields, parks, churches, school grounds, football stadiums and construction sites. I still get a buzz out of how sneaky it is!

bicycle touring brazil

Golden hour! Don’t waste it inside!

bicycle touring brazil

At the age of 23, I rode 31,000km with my ex-partner from Amsterdam to Australia. These were such life-changing years. I found out the world is an inherently good and safe place. I learned about generosity, prejudices, religion and how to live with almost nothing. I learned that the most fulfilling lives require loving and supportive friends/families, a valued role in society, a sense of community and little risk of persecution or danger. I found the boundaries of my personal relationships. My current trip is so different. Beyond the bike touring, it’s focussed on bringing everything I understand about the world together into one.

bicycle touring brazil

I’m currently piecing together my fourth video. It’s been a strange month because my preconceptions of Uruguay and Brazil were so different from the reality. Normally my judgement is spot on, but I didn’t plan to end up here, so I guess I didn’t have time to think about it. Anyway, looking back at the footage, I had a rough, but rewarding time!

bicycle touring brazil

Million dollar views without costing a cent! I wedged myself between two Hollywood-style mansions on this vacant lot. I was out by 7am so no-one got upset. The next month of camping is going to be INSANE. Just wait ’til you see my route.

bicycle touring brazil

Hey you! My latest monthly video for my ride to Alaska is HERE.

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MY BIKE: Koga WorldTraveller Signature
MY GEAR LIST: My 25kg of stuff
MY ROUTE: HERE

Watch My Bicycle Touring Brazil Film HERE

Alee is a bike and travel addict who has cycled through 80+ countries and doesn't really have any plans of stopping. Along the way, he creates technical resources, in-depth reviews, inspirational videos, how-to guides and more. If you've learned something from him, you can support his mission to create the best bike travel content HERE.

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