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The Moots Route – Bogota to Bucaramanga

This story is presented by Brent Whittington of Moots.

 

I met my friend, Tobias Franz, in 2018 on a Rapha Travel trip to Colombia. We shared a lot of miles together and quickly built a wonderful relationship. We stayed in touch after that trip and I hosted him at one point in Steamboat Springs where he came to ride and collect his very own custom Routt 45. A beautiful thing about Strava is the ability to stay in touch over long distances and I have been constantly amazed since by the places Tobias would ride his Moots.

Flash forward to the winter of 2024 where the snow is deep and the mind is actively planning cycling adventures for the summer ahead. My good mate Clark Butcher, owner of Victory Bicycle Studio, and I are always planning adventures and were in deep discussions on what to do this spring. Clark turns 40 this year, so he wanted to dial up something really unique. It then occurred to me to reach out to Tobias and propose that he guide us on a truly epic adventure in
Colombia. Little did I know at the time that he was considering starting his very own business – a cycling travel company focused on custom adventures throughout Colombia. We all need a little push for something as courageous as this and it turns out that the call I made to Tobias was
just what he needed. Tobias immediately got to work and before we had even arrived, we learned we were to be his very first guests ever to take part in a trip led by him and his new Company – Trocha Cycling Tours.

Tobias knows every paved and gravel road in Colombia and can ride a bike all day, seemingly never tiring, so you couldn’t find a better guide in this beautiful place. Clark and I wanted to be off the beaten path and focus on gravel riding, so Tobias suggested a challenging route beginning in Bogota and finishing in Bucaramanga. A tough route that would cover just over 400 miles and 40,000 feet of climbing. The stats don’t tell the story though as you have to experience the gravel in Colombia to really understand. Tobias stressed in advance the need for low gearing (a 1x setup with 38 front ring and big ring in the back up to 51) and wide tires (43 mins and 45 suggested) and it was clear on Day 1 this was the right call. Never have Clark and I ridden so many miles with grades in excess of 10% over such challenging terrain. Clark was riding his Routt RSl, Tobias was on his Routt 45 and I chose my Routt CRD and I think it is fair to say no 3 finer bikes have ever traversed this route.

We wanted adventure and that’s exactly what we found in Colombia. Point to point rides like this are so fun and Trocha Cycling Tours went out of their way to make this a truly unique experience. Setting out on Day 1, we were immediately immersed in the rural parts of the country riding some single track, two track and rough back roads. Yet after a long day in the saddle, we rolled into our first overnight town and checked into a stunning hotel you would never
know existed were you just a normal tourist. That set the tone for what was to come and each day thereafter, Clark and I were excited to see where we would be staying next. Of course some of that excitement was also because we knew that by then we would have finished the ride and overcome the difficulty ahead.

This was a six day ride where we really only passed through small towns throughout. All of them were different with loads of character, allowing us to learn about the individual regions, their history and see the agricultural and mining practices up close. Some of our favorites included Villa de Leyva and then Barichara, both small villages that have loads of character and would be great destinations for vacations without the bike.

Beyond the steep climbs and descents, we found the gravel riding here to be unique in other ways. You were constantly riding by local farms and got to see the coffee fields, banana trees, avocado trees, etc. Agriculture plays such a big role in the economy of Colombia and we got up close and personal with this industry. Many times we felt we were riding through a movie set as the hillsides were so green and the setting was just perfect. One of the most amazing days on the bike took us up a 9 mile climb of over 4,000 feet, where we topped out at a lung busting elevation of 12,500 feet. After refueling, we began what was a 30 mile descent back down to the heat to 4,000 feet before beginning the next climb toward our next hotel. That descent was absolutely incredible with scenery that would just blow your mind. A number of things will stay with us forever, but one was the kindness of the people in Colombia. Let’s face it, the news focuses on the negatives and safety is always the concern of anyone who considers a trip here. Yet I can say I truly felt safer than in many cities within the US. The locals were extremely curious what we were up to and then amazed once they learned the route. Furthermore, cycling is the nations’ number 2 sport behind soccer and it truly showed where we might be climbing a big hill and at any point motorists are shouting words of encouragement along the way. Many times that was just what you needed for that extra boost. The feeling of accomplishment we all sensed upon arriving in Bucaramanga after such an amazing ride was overwhelming. This was exactly the adventure Clark and I had been seeking and to share this with Tobias as the launching pad for his brand new business made this even more special. None of us will forget this time together and Trocha Cycling Tours has a bright future ahead of it given the experience they dialed up. The route of course was amazing, but the curated selection of hotels and restaurants exceeded all of our expectations and I can
guarantee you won’t find a tour operator who will have you more immersed in the real Colombia you won’t want to miss. Further, the support along the way (provided by this amazing young man named Kevin) was super pro with water, snacks and energy drinks/bars always at the ready. We didn’t want for anything and were instead able to just focus on the riding. This is my second trip to Colombia and Clark’s first and you can bet we’ll be back. We also hope many of our friends and fellow Moots riders will reach out to Tobias and Trocha Cycling Tours to book their own adventure in the near future. When you do, please shoot us a note and let us know all about it. Oh, and be sure to share a picture of your Moots while enjoying all Colombia has to offer.


https://www.trochacyclingtours.com/
@trochacyclingtours

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