June 29th, 2011
Handing over a bank note is enough to make a bicycle belong to me, but my entire life is needed to realize this possession
John-Paul Sartre
June 15th, 2011
La experiencia de Robert Sargent demuestra una vez mas que Colombia es un país privilegiado por su geografía, biodiversidad, pero especialmente por su don de gentes, en cada región siempre se encontrará con gente dispuesta a acoger con un abrazo fraterno especialmente al visitante.
When I met my first host through Warm Showers I wasn’t expecting to end up in the local newspaper. The father of Carlos, who I stayed with in Tuluá, is a council politician and dragged me off to El Tabloide, where he knows the editor, for an interview. Crazy!
June 13th, 2011

I need your help!

One of the most memorable encounters I’ve had so far was with a group of children high up in Colombia’s Cordillera Central. They cycled alongside me for almost an hour (uphill) asking inquisitive questions and giving me bemused looks when I answered them.

As we parted they asked for a gift, something by which to remember this crazy Englishman on a bicycle. After scratching my head for a while I decided to give them my club cycling cap, which they accepted with big smiles and disappeared back down the mountain.

It doesn’t take much to brighten somebody’s day but, in the longer term, Colombia’s children need more than what I can carry on my bicycle and so I’m asking for your help. Children of the Andes is a UK-based charity working to educate and prepare children for adulthood whilst supporting their families and protecting them from the violence and conflict that affect parts of this country.

My experience of Colombia is of an incredible place with a beautiful people and in complete contrast to the depiction of narco-trafficking and violence on the news. However, these problems do exist in many areas and future generations deserve better. Perhaps through the work of organisations like COTA, with your help, things can change.

Click here to donate. Whatever you are able to give will be gratefully received. Thanks for your support.

May 30th, 2011

What goes up… must come down… and then up again

Route: Padua – Letras – Manizales
Distance: 82.2km
Start: 07:30
End: 19:30
Max: 51.8km/h

Today I faced the most challenging day of my assault on Colombia’s Cordillera Central. From Padua the road climbs almost 2000m higher to Alto de Letras which, at around 3800m, was the highest point I would reach in these mountains. The distance between Padua and Letras is around 40km which is followed by a mammoth but very welcome 28km descent into Manizales. I decided that if I could reach Letras by 5pm I would be safely down in the city, preferably taking a hot shower and eating some kind of enormous pasta-based dish, before nightfall.

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May 29th, 2011

The only way is up

Route: Mariquita – Fresno – Padua
Distance: 52.1km
Start: 06:30
End: 18:00
Max: 42.1km/h

I woke just as the sun was about to breach the foothills of the Cordillera del Magdalena. I had set an alarm but needn’t have bothered. As the sun rose over the horizon, the morning light pierced through the surrounding trees and birds chattered away in their dozens. I find it much easier to wake up in these surroundings, rather than couped up inside a dark room. I am alive.

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May 28th, 2011

Why I don’t like raspberries

Route: Guaduas – Honda – Mariquita
Distance: 63.3km
Start: 09:45
End: 17:00
Max: 43.3km/h

After being in the saddle for over 10 hours the day before, dragging myself out of bed this morning was never going to be easy. Like the day before my alarm thumped away eagerly, this time a couple of hours later at 7am. I hit “Snooze” as soon as I could and went back to sleep, glad of the wooden shutters on my windows blocking out all but the narrowest sliver of daybreak. I managed to rouse myself eventually just before 8am and set about making breakfast.

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May 27th, 2011

The first of many: Part 2

(Read Part 1)

With the air rushing past me at 30-40km/h I was glad to be descending in this heat. By the time I reached Villeta at an altitude of around 800m the temperature was soaring. I suppose I didn’t realise how tired I was because I tore through the town and attacked the 18km climb that I’d been warned about like a raging Marco Pantani on the Col du Galibier.

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May 27th, 2011

The first of many: Part 1

Route: Bogotá – Mosquera – Alban – Villeta – Guaduas
Distance: 138.7km
Start: 06:45
End: 17:30
Max: 56.3km/h

Preparations made, and debts having been settled, I arose uneasily at 5.30am to the hammer of my alarm. I am not an early riser, unless I rise early. I hadn’t slept for fear of what was about to happen. The idea of cycling to the bottom of the world seemed fairly straightforward but, now, I actually had to go through with it. First of all,

"Why is it still dark outside?
Who are these hungover people sleeping in my room?
Where is the cleaning lady, who doesn’t know my name, nor me hers, but yet is so desparate for me to wait for her to arrive before I leave?”

In fact, I was glad she was there. Nobody else was awake to see me squeeze my panniers through the too-small set of doors. Kiss, kiss. Gone.

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May 26th, 2011

Sponsor my ride

On my journey through South America I’m going to be cycling through 6 countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. I want to try and raise some money for a charity that works directly with the people and organisations in each of these.

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May 3rd, 2011

I shot this in late November 2010 while sailing across the Atlantic. Part of the beauty of the ocean is its exceptional ability at hiding the life beneath its surface. Sailing across it you might wait days before encountering another creature. And then, just occasionally, you’re rewarded by something like this.

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To travel is to understand and respect the pace of life, to be able to experience and assimilate on a human scale the surroundings in which you find yourself.