The natural attractions Ecuador have gained a lot of favor among many mountain bikers particularly those who take interest in enjoying the beauty of the off-beaten track. Being a small country where towns and remote highlands are accessible, mountain biking tours are very popular.
There are villages and towns, isolated from the busy city that are otherwise ignored by hikers and mountain climbers for obvious reasons. Their goal is, of course, to reach the peaks of Ecuador the soonest possible time. In the case of a mountain biker, these tours have a whole new meaning. Although Ecuador is known to build many roads, there is enough areas for off-road biking. For casual tourists trying out the biking tours as well as hard-core mountain bike enthusiasts, the possibilities for sight-seeing tours are abundant.
Paved roads such as the Pan American highway can give you a smooth ride, but do take note that speeding buses and trucks also use that road. Unless you're looking for extreme biking adventures, there are other roads to consider.
If you are one of the pro bikers who wish to bring your own bike, do secure your equipment for packing and easy assembly. Some tourists use folding bikes for travel purposes such as these.
Here are some suggested route options for mountain biking in Ecuador:
Salinas to Riobamba
This tour may take two days to complete and you will have to take a bus ride from Quito heading to Ambato. From there, take another bus headed to Guaranda. Get off at Chimborazo and from there you personal biking tour begins as you follow the track towards the paramo. Expect to pass through small but delightful villages. Take your time at Salinas where mushrooms and cheese products abound. Touring Riobamba will have to take another day as you will need to prepare yourself for uphill climbs and dirt roads. 66 kilometers later and at an altitude of 1,300 m you will see the difference why this tour is all worth it.
Saquisili to Pujili
From Quito get a bus headed to Latacunga. From there you can catch another bus that will take you to the main village. If you hate crowds, don't go there on a thursday, which is the town's market day. One good thing about going there on a market day is that the Indian market provides a good variety of products for your cultural and gastronomic enjoyment.
The route from Saquilisi to Pujili will take about a good two hours of bike ride on good roads, though some remain unpaved. This tour offers a good view of the Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano.
Pujili to Tilipulo
If you continue to follow the route towards the Muller Ranch, you will soon see a cobbled street leading to a fork in the road. Taking the furthest right path will eventually lead you to a village, a church, and the old Tilipulo monastery. Should you wish to continue your tour there is a river to cross which leads to other villages. On Sundays, you'll get a chance to experience the lively activities in the market. Villagers can also be hired as a tour guide if you want to go straight to the scenic places.
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