El páramo del Verjón, Bogotá, Colombia
By Cyclotá Colombia Bogotá 17 May 2019
When Colombian Cycling Tour Operator Cyclotá was contacted by a client who was looking to escape the office in Bogotá for a day on the bike; they came up with this bespoke ride for him. Let them introduce you to some of the stunning riding Colombia has to offer in this ride.
Not too long ago we got an email from James from the States, telling us that he would be in Bogotá for his work. Being a big cycling lover, he wanted to see more than just meeting rooms and asked if we could help him.
With the input of James we made a route that suited his needs and abilities. We agreed to crown one of the legendary climbs just outside of Bogotá, el páramo del Verjón. With its length of just over 23 kilometers, it is a real typical Colombia climb. Not too steep, but long enough to slowly kill you. (The Morton brothers can tell you all about it in their documentary Thereabouts 3).
All James had to bring with him was his cycling kit, as we supplied him with the rest: an Argon18 Krypton bike, a guide alongside on the bike and a fully stocked support vehicle. In the early morning we picked up James from his hotel, and our mechanic set up his bike. We were lucky that day, as it was a national holiday. Every Sunday and national holiday more than 100 kilometers of roads are closed off for any motorized vehicles, and cyclists take over these streets known as Ciclovia. We enjoyed the quiet streets in normally a busy city all the way to the first uphill streets that took us out of the city centre.
The first climb of the day was a 15 kilometer climb that takes you out of the savanna and straight into the eastern Andes Cordillera. While climbing, you are being treated with great views over the city on the left and the Monserrate Monastery in front of you. We were extra lucky that day, thanks to the clear blue sky we could even see the snow tops of the Nevada del Ruiz, over 250 kilometers away.
After reaching the height of over 3,300 meters above sea level, we had a long but beautiful descent into the warmer climate of Choachi. We made a small loop through the town and stopped for some local snacks: Arepas con queso y Tinto. With the traditional energy snacks in our stomachs we clipped back in and prepared mentally for a two hour non-stop climb back to Bogotá. Starting at around 1,700 meters above sea level the vegetation consists of tropical trees and flowers, but while climbing back up to 3,300 meters this will slowly change. Banana trees will make way for pine trees, and finally these will make way for the unique Frailejóns that are only to be found in the Páramo eco-system.
Tired but very happy with the great weather of that day we reach the top of el Verjon, and get ready for the final descent into the “Ciclovia” streets of Bogotá. We ride back to the hotel and agree that this must have been the best possible day you could have on a bike. It was an unforgettable ride, and James was more than happy to have decided to escape the meeting rooms for a day to discover the (cycling) culture of Colombia.
Cyclotá was created out of a deep love that our founder Tomás Castrillón has for both cycling and his home country of Colombia. Since 2009 Tomás has been sharing his passion with guests from around the world. Our goal has always been very simple. We want you to all the richness and diversity Colombia has to offer by bicycle in a safe, fun, and friendly way.
Max elevation: 3350 m
Total climbing: 2619 m
Total time: 06:59:01