I set off from Porto Alegre on 21st Jan, so just over 3 months ago, and to celebrate that here’s a few top 3’s of the #SambaCycle so far…
3) Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre – has to be on the list since it was my first Brazil 2014 stadium, where the locals gave me a great welcome, and was literally a sight for sore eyes when I spotted it gleaming in the sunshine from the plane as I flew in.
2) Estadio Nacional, Brasilia – very expensive to build but stunning with high pillars on the outside and an iconic circular roof, set on the hill overlooking the city (just edged out the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte which has similar striking aesthetics).
1) Maracana, Rio – quite simply legendary, up there with Wembley as a world great, and like in north west London, this is a superb redevelopment for the modern era.
3) Garuva to Curitiba (BR-376) – over 800m altitude gain in 16km of busy highway, in 40+ degree heat, ouch, not enjoyable but makes the top three as it’s been the toughest overall climb of the trip so deserves recognition.
2) Taguatinga to the Bahia border (BR-242) – a spectacular approach as the road bisected two huge ridges and from a way off I could see the tarmac ramping up the pass to the plateau above, must be the steepest long climb I’ve had.
1) Rio to Petropolis (RJ-107) – another c.800m climb but this time on cobbles! On the plus side that meant little traffic as the road wound up the mountainside with great views where a few villages meant a break in the trees, epic.
Things I can say in Portuguese (please ignore bad spelling and grammar)
3) Um [food or drink item] por favor = One [I know lots of these now!] please
2) Estou pedalando para estadios Copa do Mundo = I’m cycling to the World Cup stadiums
1) Desculpe, eu nao falo Portuguese = Sorry, I don’t speak Portuguese
Ice-creams (getting to the important stuff now)
3) Chica Bon – a little box full of mini choc-ices
2) Brigadeiro – chocolate ice-cream covered in chocolate hundreds and thousands
1) Magnum with Doce de Leite – mmmmmmmmmm so good!
3) The cardboard box fiasco at Heathrow Airport – no need for a box said TAM customer services, at Heathrow you have to put your bike in a box says the TAM rep at check in, box(es) purchased and heavily taped up by me and my dad, you have to take the bike out of the box for security checks says the oversize baggage guy, do so but then long wait for security to show up, finally re-insert the bike and tape it up again!
2) Three flat tyres so far, including two in the first week, but no probs I fixed them all.
1) The chain going PING and snapping today! Noooooooo! But again was ok as I have a spare temporary link which I fitted and continued carefully for 50km to tonight’s hostel. Will go to a local bike shop in the morning to get it fixed properly (I hope!).
Any requests for other top 3’s?? BTW if you have general questions about the #SambaCycle then please take a look at the Q&A page – leave a comment to ask q’s , cheers.