As expected American Airlines charges a fee for bikes. $150 USD one way fee from Seattle to Lima. I wouldn’t have cared so much about this fee, except the bikes didn’t arrive in Lima when I landed!
I was fairly worried since the process to claim a missing bag seemed fairly unorganized, and there was a bit of a language barrier with the American Airlines employee at the Lima airport.
Nonetheless, I emailed Big Mountain Bike Adventures to let them know, and asked if there was a back-up plan incase my bike didn’t end up arriving (which there was, some rental bikes were available).
I arrived in Lima on Thursday morning, and the trip didn’t officially start until Friday night, (with meeting the guide, and an introduction session) so had a couple of days to check out the sites in Lima. My bike was delivered to the hotel, undamaged, late Thursday night, so was able to breath a smoggy sigh of relief (yes, Lima is very smoggy).
Finally Saturday arrived. The first day of riding was only an hour outside of Lima in Pachacamac (a little town that holds the biggest Inca construction in the coast of Peru). It was a short ride, to make sure the bikes were working properly and to make any adjustments as needed. We were only at 300 meters that day, so not a worry about any altitude sickness.
Sunday was a 6am departure from the hotel. We drove 4 hours outside of Lima, with a stop for a picnic breakfast. The Olleros trailhead was above 10,000 feet, and the road up was sketchy. It was gravel, narrow, had a rock wall on one side, and a steep drop off cliff (with no barrier) on the other.
Reaching 10,000 feet, I thought about my altitude sickness pills (everybody in our group had started taking them already, except two of us). I felt OK, though, with the exception of being a little more winded than usual on the very short climb (less than 5 minutes) from the van to the trailhead.
After packing up our bikes in the cases, it was straight to bed last night after an incredible day. This morning was another early start… checked out of the hotel and took a flight from Lima to Cusco (over 10,000feet)
Arriving at the hotel, we indulged in some coca leaf tea (supposed to help with altitude sickness). Unfortunately for me, I was feeling very light headed from the moment I got off the plane, and it began to get worse when I got to the hotel. I decided to take one of the altitude sickness pills for fear that it would get worse. After a couple hours, and lunch, I was good to go, and ready for our afternoon spin around Cusco.
now ready to build bikes, and go for a spin around Cusco!
Next blog post here: Cusco to the Sacred Valley – Peru