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cycling
Travel

Ecuador has a wealth of cycling opportunities but there aren’t that many people enjoying them.

Road cycling

There are clubs and small groups of dedicated cyclists in most Ecuadorian towns and cities, although nowhere near as many as in Colombia. It’s still pretty rare to see people using a bike as a means of transport unless they are very poor, but the establishment of ciclovías in Quito has helped promote commuting by bicycle in the capital. Quito also shuts off several of its streets to traffic on one Sunday every month.
There are not many people who are crazy enough to cycle though the highlands by bike, let alone downhill to the lowlands. The people you do see are almost always foreign tourists. The main deterrents are the altitude and the danger of being on the road in a very vulnerable position. However, the scenery and experience of cycling through Ecuador would make it an incredible experience.

The following organisations can provide more information for cyclists:

www.biciaccion.org
www.ciclistassinfronteras.org

If you´re planning to tour on a bike check the getting around by bike section.

Mountain biking



 


Mountain biking is a growing activity in Ecuador especially in the highlands. There are also clubs and tournaments throughout the country. Although there are not any dedicated courses, the network of minor roads on the slopes of the Andes make ideal routes to explore by mountain bike. Unless you are on a tour or bring your own bike you will be limited by where you can hire a bike from. There are companies or shops in quite a few highland towns which hire mountain bikes for half a day or a day. The most popular place to ride is Baños, where most people choose to cycle down towards Puyo, either to the waterfalls (all downhill) or all the way to Puyo (mostly downhill) and then put the bike on the roof of a bus to come back.

Tours

Another option is to go on a mountain biking excursion. These usually last one day. Cycling down a volcano is especially popular. The excursion involves cycling downhill a fairly straightforward and exhilarating route, either with a guide on a bike and/or a mechanic monitoring you from a support vehicle.
Some agencies also organise multi-day trips which you can also combine with other activities. Here is a list of destinations that might appeal to you.

Chimborazo downhill (from Riobamba)
Cotopaxi downhill (from Quito)
Quilotoa circuit
Quito - Otavalo
Otavalo – exploring lakes in the area
Cajas National Park (from Cuenca)
Lloa – Mindo

Tours should be led by a guide and accompanied by a driver / mechanic in a 4x4.

The following tour operators have been recommended to me:

Aries Bike Company
Surtrek




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