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Wednesday, 8-Jun-2011 14:51 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Chapter 16

The World’s Most Dangerous
Road

“The World’s Most Dangerous Road... what a name”, I thought as I ascended the
heights from La Paz to La Cumbre in the packed micro. I recently met up with two
other travelers, Mitch, a British cyclist, and Joe, another American cyclist from
Washington. We got together in a La Paz cafe, and then we decided to go and
see for ourselves just how dangerous “World’s Most Dangerous Road,” was. We
wanted to take the road for the next sixty kilometers to Coroico, the cloud forest’s
emerald village which lay in the mountains at the edge of the Amazon.

The road from La Cumbre to Coroico claims about twenty six vehicles a year.
That figures to about one vehicle every two weeks falling off the sides of the road
to a definite death one kilometer below.

The road was the only route to Coroico and Rurenabaque in the Amazon Basin,
and there was no luck in trying to find an alternative route. As a result, most drivers
took some time out to pray before heading off down the road.

Presumably, it was a lot safer to traverse the road on mountain bicycles, since
bikes were tiny compared to the buses and trucks that drove through. The width of
the road in some places was just wide enough for a single vehicle to pass through.
Of course, if you’re stuck at on one of those sections, than you either got run off
into the abyss below, or you flattened yourself on the side of the canyon, and hoped
that your head didn’t get taken off with a side mirror. The attraction was the sheer
downhill. Seventy kilometers of downhill meant several hours of high speed, white
knuckle, and moderately technical riding.

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