Biking Bolivia: Navigating the Worlds Most Dangerous Road

By: Lucas Baier

If you want to take yourself to the extreme, nothing will get you there faster than gravity assisted mountain biking. Gravity assisted mountain bike tours have become more popular in the recent years, and the special on ABC's Nightline about Bolivia's Death Road has gotten even your grandma wondering what gravity assisted mountain biking is all about.

Imagine the thrill of plunging 11,800 feet in a mere 40 miles as you navigate your mountain bike down some of the most treacherous, winding hills in the world. Sounds like every extreme mountain biking enthusiasts dream? This dream can become a reality by taking a bike tour down the aptly named Death Road in La Paz, Bolivia. While gravity assisted mountain biking is offered in many other places around the world, you will never beat the experience of Death Road.

Mountain Biking down Death Road is not for the weak at heart, however, and should be attempted only by more experienced mountain biking adventurers. La Paz offers bike tours down Death Road which hurtle riders from the starting altitude of 15,400 feet in La Cumbre where the temperature can reach sub-zero digits through the mountains of La Paz to the road's end in the warm jungle village of Coroico, which is set at an altitude of 3600 feet.

While "only" 8 mountain bike riders have fallen to their death since 2003, an average of 26 vehicles per year take the plunge; making the trip back up Death Road almost as heart-pounding as the ride down. Unfortunately, motor vehicles do travel the one lane road during the bike tour, so mountain biking enthusiasts need to take extra precautions as the follow their bike tour guide through Death Road's 200-plus turns.

And speaking of motor vehicles, it is important to remember that the passing laws that are common throughout the rest of Bolivia are thrown out the window on Death Road. Vehicles with the driver closest to the 3000 foot drop edge will pass on the edge - possibly to remind them of how close to death they actually are - so you will want to pay extra close attention as they pass.

If you're looking for the most hair-raising gravity-assisted bike tour on the planet you have to visit La Paz Bolivia's Death Road. The friendly, knowledgeable bike tour guides help to make the trip as safe as possible while keeping the thrill of rocketing down the steep decline for mountain bike riders from around the globe. To learn more about the gravity assisted mountain biking packages that are offered you can visit www.gravitybolivia.com. The website offers information on finding their office, exchange rates and how to book Death Road rides.

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