I’ve signed up for a four-day ‘jungle trek’ to Machu Picchu, which involves a variety of methods of getting from Cuzco to the famous lost Inca city: hiking, zipwiring, and – today, the first day – biking. A minibus whisked our group up into the mountains via the pleasant Inca town of Ollantaytambo (pic). There’s no shortage of altitude round here.
At the top of the Abra de Malaga, we were issued with more safety equipment than Buzz Aldrin took the moon (pic): elbow pads, body armour, helmets, shin- and knee-pads, reflective jackets, and kevlar-reinforced gloves… for cycling on a very lightly-trafficked, well-tarmacked, smooth road. I was surprised they didn’t issue us with guns and walkie-talkies, too.
We were on 27-gear mountain bikes, none of which we actually used, because we had 45km of downhill (pic) through astounding canyon scenery. The bikes didn’t have mudguards either, and it was chucking it down with rain. Not that they would have stopped us from getting soaked: there were about a dozen ankle-deep mountain streams that crossed the road surface that we had to pedal through. It was all great fun.