Saturday, January 9, 2016

Going for a Different Kind of Ride in Bogota

Since we helped Jhon out in Canyon Chicamocha, Azure (who has WhatsApp, a popular messaging service here in South America and much of the world) has been getting more and more messages from people asking where we are. Who are these guys? Why do they want to know? We are expecting some of the worst traffic riding into Bogota after hearing all the horror stories. It all flows nicely until we ride under the sign "Bienvenidos a Bogota". Smoking buses go left and right as if there is no other traffic. This is unreal! We try to split lanes to keep going but with the panniers on the bikes it is just too dangerous. And then there are two guys with bikes on the side of the street waving their arms at us and motioning us to pull over...
Varg and Edwin welcome us to their city. They are friends of Jhon and they had been waiting for us to ride into town. This Colombian hospitality is becoming unreal! Edwin asks us where we want to go. They insist on guiding us through their city as it seems impossible if you don't know the city. We have some errands to run and gratefully take them up on their offer. Edwin leads and Varg keeps traffic away from us. This is amazing!

[​IMG] Girl power!
We go for empanadas with our new friends and it is here that our escort gets bigger and bigger. A mom and her daughter join the group and we are invited to a stunt show somewhere in town. OK... We decide to just go with it. The daughter (who Azure falls in love with in a matter of minutes) insists on riding with Azure or me. I move back the Zarges case and we are on our way.

[​IMG] Our escort for the night.
We turn right and find ourselves in a quiet industrial area of town. It is well lit and in the distance we can see a lot of people and... a lot of bikes. We are welcomed by Arturo Piolin, Colombia's number 1 stunt rider. It seems like all the stunting has just come to an end but a simple request from Varg for a little stunt gets things moving again. There are wheelies to the left and right of us and it becomes an insane show. And then it seems a stoppie competition has begun... One after an other until Azure is kindly being ushered forward with the words: "you are next"!

[​IMG] Arturo Piolin has a new fan!
To my surprise Azure agrees to get on the back of Piolin's bike in no time. Even my "your mom is gonna kill me" (yes I really worried about that!) does not change her mind. And there she goes wheelying away. It gets my heart pumping and I am not even on the back of the bike! One minute later they come to full stop on the front wheel only centimeters away from me. Pfew!!! A sigh of relief. But it is short lived as Piolin insists on a second round. "Mas rapido" he exclaims as he rides off on his back wheel!

The lights are coming closer rapidly. Standing in the crowd it looks like he is going to ram everyone in his way and go straight through the wall behind us. It feels like they are only meters away when he shifts up to 5th gear and gives it some more gas. The front brakes engage and Azure rises up behind Piolin. They ride on the front wheel for a bit and then just stand still like a statue. WOW! What an art! What a skilled guy! I am glad to have Azure back alive and walk toward her for a hug. The look in her face as she comes closer, is of no good. It is a naughty, devilish look, like Reece Witherspoon's devilish look in Cruel Intentions. "You're next", she says. Oh no! I'm not doing that. I'm way too heavy to be on the back of a bike riding on it's front wheel only. But as you may know, Azure can be quite persuasive and before I know it I am holding on for life as the back wheel comes off the ground. Wow what a thrill! It feels like we are for sure going to fall over forward but Arturo miraculously holds it together with my 180 Lbs behind him.

As I am recovering the show continues. A wheely without hands on the handlebar, picking up a coin from the ground while wheelying around it. Unreal stuff! But the biggest stunt of the evening was Arturo trying to get my big loaded Africa Twin off the side stand. It took him a few tries and then everyone had to do it. It reminded me of my first day of my journey 6.5 years ago. I could hardly ride my bike and dropped it when making a U turn. I guess I got used to it. Then Edwin says we have to go to meet more friends. We say our goodbyes and ride away not sure what is waiting for us now.

[​IMG] A new stunt for everyone at StuntHouse: Lifting a loaded Africa Twin!:gdog
[​IMG] Azure changing her Transalp for a CBR600 stunt monster for a second.
We end up at a small party of the Escorpions biker group. We are welcomed as if we are one of them and have a great evening talking travels and bikes. Azure and I are tired after a very eventful day of riding and they clear out the living room and make a bed for us to sleep. What a day...

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