Published: December 9th 2005December 5th 2005
The self styled 'World's Most Dangerous Road' (WMDR) is a stretch of dirt 'road' from La Cumbre high above La Paz (4700m) down to Corioco (1200m) and is a notorious must do for travellers to this part of the world (recommendations from Marcus, Fionne, Kim, Ricky and multiple others).
The trip with Barro Bikes started with a 07.30 breakfast where we unexpectedly met Kevin/Claire who had enjoyed the same bus journey as us from Uyuni to La Paz. We were also joined by Joe, a professional poker player from California. This was obviously a trip for risk takers.
An hour's drive out of La Paz brought us to La Cumbre where we were introduced to our bikes which were in the same good condition as the one on display in the office, something we weren't pinning our hopes on
although Ricky/Kim had had good bikes on their trips with Barro Bikes. After a brief ´safety briefing´ (amounting to not much more than "keep right for this bit") we were off on the 22km tarmac section. Great views initially but soon we were down in the cloud and then rain (we should have checked when the rainy season was when
planning this trip). Somehow I managed to pick up a puncture (the first I can remember this year) but a quick bike swap later and I was back with the group. It wasn´t all downhill though and any sort of climb at that altitude had us gasping for air.
The ´World´s most dangerous road´ proper started when we turned off the tarmac and onto the dirt road. At which point we got another safety briefing which amounted to "keep right" whilst he pointed to the left! For the next 40km (ish) we followed the winding track down the mountain all the while accompanied by precipitous drops on our left and all manner of vehicles to passing us in both directions.
Several hours later we arrived down at Yolosi, grateful to have survived the first half of the trip (as the way back to La Paz was back the way we´d come in the minibus). Before this we had a much needed shower and food a few km up the road in Corrioco. As we headed back up the road, the cloud had lifted and we were able to fully appreciate the road we were on. It was at
this point our guide started to point out numerous places where vehicles had gone over the edge in recent months! We eventually got back to La Paz around 10pm and felt for our guide who would be up early the following morning to do the same again. On reflection as a mountain bike ride this wasn´t all that great, but as an experience it was unmissable.