In everyday Andean cycling life, when buying groceries or checking into a guest house, say, we have the same conversations over and over again.
Where are you from? Where have you come from? How are your tyres? (This comes up surprisingly often.)
But the frequency of the question ‘even her?’ in response to our saying we’ve cycled over so and so a pass is slowly starting to irritate me. What the hell do they think I’ve been doing with this bike? Getting lifts as Pike negotiates these MAN passes alone? It makes me so glad to have been brought up being told I could do anything my brothers could do, and taking part in a different sport every night of the week.
Although you do meet some Latinas trekking in the mountains, and very occasionally cycling, they are in a huge minority. What’s also surprising is that Chile and Argentina, supposedly the more ‘developed’ nations, appear to me to be a much worse place to be a female athlete than Peru or Bolivia where you regularly see women playing volleyball and football. Come on Latina ladies! Get out into the hills! Don’t let the chicos have all the fun!