Photo Gallery: Snow Adventures In The Andes

It’s been such a wild ride through the snow in the Andes this month. I’ve been blown away by the landscapes, the wildlife and the sheer terrain… this place is the real deal, and a true paradise for those who have adventure running through their veins.

Here are the photos and captions that I shared on social media this month.

MY BIKE: Koga WorldTraveller Signature
MY GEAR LIST: My 25kg of stuff
MY CAMERAS: Panasonic GH4 and GoPro Hero6

Imagine a therapy that has no known side effects, is readily available, and can improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost. It’s called ‘being in nature’. At a time when American adults spend less time outdoors than they do inside cars, nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress. Our bodies have evolved in nature and that’s why we think they’re able to relax and unwind in natural surroundings. People who interact with nature have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, nail problem-solving questions and even display less violent behaviour in neighbourhoods where it’s common. While I’m currently a passionate advocate for environmental immersion via my photos, videos and stories – I’d love to one-day take people of all ages with me into the wild, to help them appreciate how important it is for their wellbeing.
There’s the easy way to escape La Paz, or there’s the Alee way. The latter pretty much involves finding the steepest roads with the best views of La Paz. 30% was not an uncommon gradient on my escape route — I was on the rev limiter most of the way up!!
Pushing your bike can slow down your travel experience enough so that you get the optimal time to appreciate the wilds that surround you.
You might think that I’d constantly have sore legs given the amount of time I spend in the mountains. Believe it or not my legs are NEVER sore! This is for a few reasons: I ride all day at an effort I can sustain, I eat very well, I listen to when my body needs rest, I use appropriately low gear ratios and my muscles are well-conditioned to cycling.
When you cycle above the clouds in the mountains and it’s almost like you’ve got your own pedal-powered aircraft.
Don’t stress guys! Internet is sparse, but I’m living the good life here in Peru.
L A G O ✖️ T I T I C A C A : the biggest lake in South America. As I’m cycling north that means I’ve hit my SIXTH country on this rather large continent – Peru! In just 24 hours I could probably visit six countries on a bike in Europe though… how about Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and France? I think the world record is actually seven: Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bosnia&Herzegovina.
I wave to everyone on the small backroads. Even the llamas get their fair share of wavy hand.
I’ve done lots of riding in both Peru and Bolivia where there is no road or trail. The ground is often hard enough that you can point and shoot and you’ll eventually hit your destination. I recommend working with the contours, rather than against them! And be prepared to push your bike a bit.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY LAPTOP ON ROUGH ROADS? I have a 20L pannier dedicated to the job! First I put my 15” MacBook Pro 💻 (necessary for video editing) in a small backpack. I then fill the bag out with a puffy jacket. The daypack slides into my rear pannier along with my sleeping bag which is loose. The theory is that if I can prevent as many vibrations from getting to electronic circuitry as possible, then my laptop should be able to last as long as my bike. So far so good!
I’m finding it really hard to schedule in rest days when the scenery is this good! 🔥 But I do try to put the feet up at least once per week and definitely prefer it if there are hot springs in town to relax in.
This mountain looked so much like a villain’s secret lair. As I was cycling around it I was imagining finding a trap door to access the control room for taking over the world!
To tell you the truth, I’ve been getting my ass kicked by winter. And so have the Peruvians. A cold spell hit HARD recently, killing hundreds of mountain people who didn’t have the resources to keep warm. I was one of the lucky ones up around 5000m in a remote part of the country. For 36 hours I was constantly lifting snow from my tent to prevent it from collapsing in on top of me. There were days where I pushed my bike for 10+ hours in pretty wild conditions too. I ultimately had to abandon a section that I’ve been looking forward to for months. That was hard. In hindsight I’ve downplayed the difficulty way too much in my videos because I somehow revel in the hardship. This makes it super hard to be honest with the camera and come across as authentic at the time. But it’s definitely the real deal out here. Anyway, enjoy the next few days of snowy mountain pics. Peru is stunning under a thick blanket of snow. And please rest assured that I’m making smart and calculated decisions to ensure my safety. I’ve got enough experience behind me to know where my limits truly lie.
Adventuring every day puts a bloody big smile on my dial. I don’t quite know how I’m going to re-integrate with civilisation after so many years of this. Have you guys ever struggled to slot back into the herd after a big trip!!?
Here I am descending from heaven, and I have a message from the skies: Earth is on par with the pearly kingdom! Scratch that… it’s actually better!! Please look after our planet because there’s clearly an overwhelming greatness to it. Visit a few nooks and crannies from time to time and you too will remember this fact.
Here we go. More rough roads with a side serve of ice! Oddly, there aren’t any people out here. Not sure why. 😂🤣😂
When the road is carved perfectly into the side of the mountain. 👌🏼 These roads were built for bicycles to explore! When are you guys coming to Peru to see this for yourselves?!?
Peaks over 6000m/20000ft are like magnets to me. I may as well be an insect to a flame. 🐞🔥 Whatever it takes to immerse myself in the sheer scale and beauty of these landscapes.
Dropping into my winter wonderland. ☃️💎❄️
I listen to podcasts when the landscape is vast, when there’s lots of traffic on the road or when I’m cooking! Almost every solo traveller seems fluent in podcast chat. Here’s some that will exercise your mind: Sean Carroll’s Mindscape, Waking Up With Sam Harris, The Ezra Klein Show, You Are Not So Smart, The Jordan B Peterson Podcast, Rationally Speaking and Under The Skin With Russel Brand. I try to listen to very left and right-leaning podcasts to prevent living in an echo chamber! For lighter listening try Case File True Crime (Silk Road series in particular), People Fixing the World (WorldBiking recommendation), Dr Karl on triplej (Science!) and How I Built This (the Wikipedia and Patagonia are cool stories). What do you recommend for fellow travellers?
Exploring the land of the giant boulders. Peru killing it with landscapes as usual. 🔪
BRRRR! More heavy snowfall this week! I luckily descended 1000m vertical in the dark before setting up my tent, so I didn’t have any frozen gear in the morning. Ride high, sleep low is the mantra here in Peru!
WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BIKE TRAVEL FOR ME? You might think it’s pushing my bike through the snow, packing up the tent in the driving rain, climbing 3000 vertical metres on one incline, dealing with trucks in busy cities or missing my friends and family from home. But there is honestly nothing that affects me more than seeing the hitting, shoving, cutting and transportation of animals. I’m exposed to it every day. It brings my mood down and often makes me feel sick in my stomach. You’re probably thinking I’m ridiculous because this is just how life is. If you don’t want to see it, don’t go travelling, right?! You’d also think I’d have come up with a strategy to overcome my vulnerability by now. Harden the f up, Alee! Well, that was super easy to do when I just turned a blind eye and suppressed how it made me feel. Unfortunately, after years of seeing this stuff day-in and day-out it eventually caught up with me. I was being dishonest with myself and with others. These days my morals and actions are closer aligned and I’m feeling so much better for it. I intentionally let myself feel this pain as a constant reminder that I once made a wise decision.
I live such a crazy life! I get to go on bike adventures about 75% of all days, and put my feet up for the rest. I have the luxury of asking myself every day, is this experience making my life richer? Am I spending my precious time on this earth doing something I’m truly passionate about? Am I learning something I can share? This is only made possible by living simply. I rarely buy anything other than food and the odd night in a hotel. When I buy gear, I invest as much as I need for it to last forever. It’s sometimes a bit bigger and bulkier, but can you believe my stove and cook wear has been with me on every adventure since I was a teenager?! I’m also very fortunate to have been raised and educated in a supportive environment with endless opportunity. For this, I’m super grateful.
Wide valleys. Icy winds. No trees. Lotsa gravel. Welcome to the Peruvian Altiplano. When I ride through these harsh environments I can’t wait to drop back into the steep, narrow valleys again where life is a bit more pleasant! That said, I don’t think I’d appreciate the more enjoyable sections of my trip without this brutal contrast.
It surprises me every day where my Koga Worldtraveller can take me. I have four panniers, slick tyres and lots of heavy/durable gear. It may not be the best on any one trail or road, but it can do everything pretty darn well, and that’s why I brought it here. Before you ask: the bike weighs 15kg, I have 25kg of gear and the tyres are Schwalbe Almotion in 700x50c/29×2.0” which have done 15,000km since Patagonia. I’ve broken one spoke and had four punctures. Pretty stoked with that. Any questions?
These days I make enough money to support my adventures by sharing my expertise and my experiences around the world. My hourly rate for these things may be incredibly low, but hey, my living costs are also low. An accountant friend once told me that he has clients who make big money, but also spend big money. We’re talking millions of dollars coming in and going out. His clients with average salaries were often so much better setup for the sustainability of their lifestyle. This has always resonated with me because I don’t think I’ll ever live a lavish lifestyle. Investing what I have in time, learning and experiences around the world feels like the best investment I can currently make.