Today we left Riobamba- Simon headed for Macas and the low road that skirts the Amazonas; his adventures are (for now at least) another story.

I cracked on down the E35 (not such a busy road at this point), bound for Cuenca and Loja. Perhaps our paths will cross again there. The road surface is better this way, though I’ll have a lot of climbing to do. I’m a little tempted to take the coast road from Cuenca- faster progress for a bit, though there would be many hard miles in the coastal heat, and a long climb back east. I’ll decide when I have that choice to make..

It struck me as I powered up the hill from Riobamba (read: sweated slowly) that while I don’t think there is a community as such of Panamericanistas .. there is definitely something of a fraternity (though without the gender specificity that implies). ‘Where’ is a legitimate question, though ‘why’ is almost never discussed. There has always been an all but instant rapport with other cyclists I’ve met. Perhaps the reasons that everyone has for hitting the road are very different indeed- but there is definitely a shared appreciation of the bicycle as a means of travelling large distances- of seeing a bit of somewhere, and all the joys and trials encompassed by that. You’re cold when the weather is, sweaty when it isn’t, and (maybe this is just me) have a very profound appreciation of hot showers whenever they are available.