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> US tourist dies on Bolivia's "death road"
starlagurl
post Apr 24 2008, 03:35 PM
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An American biker plunged down the side of a cliff in Bolivia and has been pronounced dead. He was 56 years old and on a tour with a guide.

Have you been on the "Highway of Death"? What was it like?

Link to the article at Newsday


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introducinlyric
post Apr 24 2008, 08:07 PM
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i asked keith what the highway of death was ...i have no idea but it doesnt sound inviting


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starlagurl
post Apr 25 2008, 09:11 AM
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Yeah, he's talking about the Canadian one though.


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veromarcos
post Apr 28 2008, 07:28 PM
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The "Most Dangerous Road in the World" is one close to La Paz. It is basically a dirt road that goes down cliffs for 60kms.

its a favourite in the South American Gringo Trail.

Check "Gravity Assisted Bike Tours" on internet. They explain all.

Where did you read the death story?
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starlagurl
post Apr 29 2008, 08:25 AM
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I found it on vagabondish.com


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kathryn77
post May 7 2008, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE(starlagurl @ Apr 24 2008, 03:35 PM) *

An American biker plunged down the side of a cliff in Bolivia and has been pronounced dead. He was 56 years old and on a tour with a guide.

Have you been on the "Highway of Death"? What was it like?

Link to the article at Newsday



Hi Louise, I just replied on the other Death Road entry as well and then noticed this one. I'd say that yes, it is dangerous, but I found that if you listened to the guide and followed the instructions, you shouldn't be at risk. They stop regularly (well, I'm speaking for 'Downhill Madness' here, as that's who I did it with), to give you safety briefings and describe the twists and turns you should expect in the next part of the road. They also check your brakes at every stop, and the bikes my group were on were in excellent condition. The guide is always at the front, and the combi van is always behind the last person (if you really get scared, you can get in the combi). The stops on the way down ensure that the group is never too spread out, and allows the vital safety checks and briefings. It is a gravel road, so it is slippy, but the sheer drop is only on one side. I stuck to the inside, away from the cliff edge, and went at my own pace, which is what they tell you to do, and although I had a couple of heart crunching moments when my wheel slipped on a stone, I was far enough away from the edge and at a speed I could control. In the worst situation if you were following all these rules, you'd have time to chuck yourself off the bike, even if it meant the bike flying over the edge!!

You do hear loads of rumours on the gringo trail about people having gone off the edge etc. When I was in Peru, I heard about an Israeli guy who went over last March - we asked the guide about this, and it happened with another company, but he said the guy and his friend had been riding too close together (they tell you not to do this) - the one behind didn't have enough braking distance, and when the one in front slipped, he crashed the back of his bike, which sent him flying over the edge. The guide also told us about a French girl who had stood to the side to let a bus pass - she chose the cliff side and accidentally stepped back too far! (so she wasn't even on the bike!) Not sure what happened to the American man, but rest assured, I found the road to be as safe as I made it myself by listening to the advice and experience of the guide, and going at my own pace.


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introducinlyric
post May 8 2008, 03:43 AM
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QUOTE(veromarcos @ Apr 28 2008, 07:28 PM) *

The "Most Dangerous Road in the World" is one close to La Paz. It is basically a dirt road that goes down cliffs for 60kms.

its a favourite in the South American Gringo Trail.

Check "Gravity Assisted Bike Tours" on internet. They explain all.

Where did you read the death story?



is that road a road thats used frequently??


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kathryn77
post May 8 2008, 05:01 AM
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is that road a road thats used frequently??
[/quote]

Well yes, but nowadays it's mainly used for the downhill biking challenge, as they have built a new road (which took them 10 years to build!). That opened about a year and a half ago, but some cars do still use the old road (Death Road). Both connect the low lying town of Coroico with La Paz.

Not many vehicles use it now though - when I did the bike ride, I only saw 2 cars coming up the hill (on a four hour bike ride) Then there were the combi vehicles coming down the hill for each of the groups of cyclists from the different tour companies. But none of them ever overtook us (our group was way at the front)

On the way back up, the combi uses the new road (previously, it would have come back up the death road, but they definitely use the new road now)


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starlagurl
post May 8 2008, 10:01 AM
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Wow...a road just for people to go up and then down on bikes...I've seen the videos it looks like a lot of fun.

I guess you don't have those pedal cages for your feet right? You have to be as unattached to the bike as possible, so you can get off the bike real fast.


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kathryn77
post May 9 2008, 05:36 AM
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Yeah, but I think you'd have to be crazier to cycle up it than down though. It took us 4 hours to get down (and we were the fastest group) and it goes from an altitude of about 4600m down to about 1600 metres.

The guide we had (Hector) from Downhill Madness was actually a professional Bolivian cyclist, and he and his crazy cycle buddies do actually cycle down then up!!

Definitely no pedal cages on the feet!


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starlagurl
post May 9 2008, 10:17 AM
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Four hours! Holy schniekies!


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bikingkangaroo
post Jun 5 2008, 10:18 AM
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I took the death road tour ņast week with gravity i had fun, until the point where one of the guys that took the tour wiith us lost control of the bike and fell down the cliff. he just got some bruces, but we all got scared and turned back. The worst thing and here is what i regret is after this i found out that this is not the only accident that they have had, but ive heard that the guy that died on the road was going down with gravity. i think i put my life on risk because of not having enough information about what companys are good...
and as a further advice.. spend a little bit more if you take the trip, it will be worth it and look for some good bikes!!!!!!!!!!!!
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starlagurl
post Jun 5 2008, 10:27 AM
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Wow, that is really scary. It's definitely always worth it to do your research before you head out.

Thanks for sharing that story, and welcome to the forums!


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andrea
post Sep 8 2008, 04:01 PM
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I did this trip and it was one of the best experiences of my life! I was so afraid at first but it was soooo much fun! It is really important to choose a safe, reputable company (I went with http://www.gravitybolivia.com and can only say excellent things).

From what I understand, it more dangerous to drive down the road than bike!

You can see pics from my trip down the mountain at http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entri...28960/tpod.html
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laine
post Jan 24 2009, 06:50 PM
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hey,
i did the bike ride just yesterday and it was amazing. We went with Topas and they were a very good company. The scenery was great you even get to ride under waterfalls! There was some sections where it got a bit scary, but you just take your time and try not to rush down. I would think you would have to be doing something pretty stupid to go over the edge. You can check out my blog for more info and a few pics.

Laine
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richymariner
post Jan 25 2009, 06:48 PM
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Thats sad news indeed. Never good when that sort of thing happens.

Did the īDeath Roadī last week too, and whilst the danger is real, the 600m drops aside if you follow the instructions given, there is no reason why you should not be ok (not that I am saying he wasnt following the plans or briefing, some tour outfits seem dodgy). Went with gravity assisted too, the lead guy was good and the briefing was thorough. Its scary stuff, I only pootled along whilst others were properly belting it down. Our group had a minor crash, with some guys cycling too close together despite being told otherwise. He got away with minor scratches.

Definitely an experience, but still thoughts go out to his family.
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starlagurl
post Jan 26 2009, 10:37 AM
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Yes, definitely it's important to follow directions and not do anything that is out of your comfort range!


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