Argentina Chile

Patagonian Pain

How fun is cycling through Patagonia in winter? I started with crisp autumn weather and kept continuing until the cold, rain and snow hit me. Then it hit me hard!

I am a comfort junkie. I don’t mind, and still be happy, without a shower preceding the number of 14 days.


I am comfortable rubbing my heels and fingers in dirt. I don’t mind having a waft of odd smell in the depths of my arms. When my hair cling to my scalp like butter to a warm knife, I cover it with a cloth. As long as I don’t mix with neat, synthetic smelling and clean people, I am fine.

It often rained or snowed, and so I did not take my camera out, but this moment I did!



Where earlier on in my cycling days I needed a 50/50 balance of cycling against rest, now I can cover large distances, for long periods of time, without having days of rest. Would I be an animal, I was a leopard, or a Border Collie. They like lazing, now and then, in the sun, too.



I have come to see that I am a comfort junkie in the sense that ongoing discomfort aka hardship is not my cup of tea.



A crack in Claudia's window. She did not have a stove, so it was as cold inside as it was outside. 6 degrees.
A crack in Claudia’s window, my host for one night. She did not have a stove, so it was as cold inside as it was outside. 6 degrees.

I wanted snow and I wanted to camp in the snow. I got my share, and I don’t want any more of it.






Cycling down South, I said, over and over: ‘Just a little distance more’, because I wanted to be on the Carretera Austral, where everyone drools about. I can tell you, there is nothing more than trees, trees, rain, water and wetness. In winter time, it simply sucks, big time!





Snowed in and electricity cut off by sudden snowfall.
Snowed in and electricity cut off by sudden snowfall.

I had the wish to see the glacier Perito Moreno. Why? I don’t know, maybe because a friend told me: ‘Respect if you cycle to Perito Moreno in winter.’ That there were three Perito Moreno’s, I did find out rather late, already well on my way to the first Perito on the map. One has to set a goal somehow, isn’t it? Well, away with goals, I have been on one of the biggest glaciers on earth, and I cursed all other Perito Moreno’s. I turned around.






Minus 10 a few meters from the road. Unable to find open gates to pitch my tent.
Minus 10, a few meters from the road. Unable to find open gates to pitch my tent.

Comfort for a comfort junkie in wintry Patagonia, trying to avoid paid accommodation, needing solitude and not trying to depend on locals behind closed doors, who seemed kind of depressed by the gloomy gray pack of clouds hovering not too far above them, I can only come to one conclusion: happiness is in warmth, in the sun, in people satisfied by where they live, easiness, and nót by trying to reach an ice-cold goal. Even if this goal is one of the so-called most beautiful spots on Earth.



Proper Carretera Austral.

Out of rainy Patagonia, 2 degrees daytime. Better conditions but still cold.
Out of rainy Patagonia, 2 degrees daytime. Better conditions but still cold.

I really rather sit at a nondescript riverside, diary at hand to fan the first warmth from the spring, than at a cold, windy, icy place anywhere in Patagonia.


A few notifications, done by a Comfort Junkie with Orderliness Disorder.

Distance from the far end of Atacama desert well into Patagonia and back to the warmth: 3759 kilometers

Days cycled: 97

Days continuous cycling without days off: 21

Days slept in the tent: 93

Days of full rest: 30

Days of couch, foam mattress, bunk: 36

Nights in the tent versus nights paid for: 93/13

Punctures: 3

Additional needed:

  • Woolen pullover
  • Woolen socks
  • Synthetic socks
  • Fleece blanket
  • Buff
  • Two new mattresses

    Next morning I could not proceed by bicycle as the pass was snowed in and closed. Technically I could but I opted for a lift.

Manners of alteration and escaping Patagonia:

  • A short distance by police-van to haul me over a slippery, closed down road and snowed-in pass.
  • Followed next morning by a pick-up truck ride out of the snowed-in pass.
  • A pick-up truck ride around a national park, closed by snow.
  • A long mini-truck ride out of the continuing rain at Carretera Austral.
  • And at last, a 2.5-day truck ride out of Patagonia!
I got stuck at the snowed in immigration with Daniel who got there by bicycle the evening before.

Problems and Maintenance:

  • Magura rear brake cable snapped, and repaired at the best bicycle repair shop in town, which last only for 2 weeks. Weeks later I take off the Magura brake system and have it replaced with a Shimano. The brake pads for Shimano need to be replaced very quick.
  • Therm-A-Rest mattress blows up. Bought a new air mattress (55 euro), lasted only 3 weeks, then blew up too. Therm-A-Rest send me a new air mattress to the Netherlands, dad send it to Argentina, post office keeps it for months in immigration.
  • Hilleberg tent pole bend by wind. Hilleberg outer door zipper derailed.
  • Odometer lost.
  • Rohloff oil changed (after another 5672 kilometer).
  • New chain (after 13.090 kilometer).


By the way, I did reach the first Perito Moreno, save for a 100 kilometer.

Patagonia post 1: The Sweet Solitude of a Parisian Gaucho

Paragonia post 2: The World Feels Better When The Sun Shines

Patagonia post 3: Happiness: My Guiding Line Towards The Cold

Additional post: Creativity in Patagonia

Patagonia post 4: Don’t Let Foulness play a role in Wetness

Patagonia post 5: Bitter not Sweet

Patagonia post 6: Now, Does Cycling Brings Happiness?

Patagonia post 7: Depression of a Cyclist: Reaping the Rotten Fruits

Patagonia post 8: The Big Depressinig Patagonian Fuss 



By Cindy

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and countries I needed to be (over 90 in total). I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now try to be more self-sustainable, grow our own food and live off-grid. I now juggle with the logistics of being an old-fashioned housewife, cook and creative artist loving the outdoors. The pouches I create are for sale on

14 replies on “Patagonian Pain”

Hi Cindy
Great photos and write up once again.
I’ve been going through your old posts on your website. You have done, seen and experienced so much on your bicycle in recent years, I can’t imagine doing half of what you have accomplished.
But it’s very inspiring and your writing is totally honest, which is very refreshing.
I’m 5/6 months away from making the break and having my own adventure….. it’s all exciting but a little daunting.
I have always planned to do the trip by motorcycle but the extra cost and complications have put me off. Plus I feel that you see/feel more on a bicycle.
I look forward to the next instalment.
Keep smiling

Liked by 1 person

Thank you for your kind and nice compliment. Thank you to take time out to tell me this : ))) I appreciate it. And yes, I have seen a lot over the years I have cycled, this way of living is so rich, and thankfully I am in the position to do so, a very lucky position. I think it is daunting as long as you are not actually on the road. Once you start, even the first few kilometers, you will see, all tension disappears! Good luck with your oncoming journey on the bicycle. Enjoy the pre fun : )

Liked by 2 people

You’re welcome. Yes, I read what you wrote again and let it settle in a bit more. I can hear your disappointment in the trip not being what you’d expected. It sounds arduous and with little physical comfort. I saw thrills in the photos and little things, such as meeting locals who offer places or support. Perhaps my own view imagined it more positive than you felt. There’s something in the perseverance of Patagonian pain which sounds like it deserves to be a once in a lifetime experience.


Hi Cindy
I really enjoyed your story and photos. It is inspiring when people put themselves in uncomfortable situations especially in today’s world when we have so much and maybe too much. Just this year I did my first whole month trip on the bike in Europe and I can’t wait for another one.
I was particularly found by your photos especially the one where you are in the background of the trees standing in the snow. I am not a photographer myself, but I am very curious to know do you carry one of the professional cameras with you or you use something simple and then edit them at home? I know that some of that equipment can be very heavy.
Thank you for your answer and I hope to read more stories of your trips.


Hi Aurelija,

Thanks for your compliment. Once you start touring it’s easy to get hooked, isn’t it?

I use a Nikon camera but nothing professional about it. A D90. I edit with Picassa at my notebook while camping. Just to get enhance colors. Nothing much professional about that either.

Good photo’s take a keen eye and lots of practice. Good luck and enjoy your oncoming trip.

Regards Cindy


I am not proud neither not not proud. My goal is to enjoy and I did not succeed much in that. I turned around when the balance enjoyment was really gone. The pink hat 😂 was for sale, probably because of its girlie girlie color!


Don't just stop here, I appreciate your thoughts too : )

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