High-end Biking in Northern Argentina
Published by Financial Times | By Carole Cadwalladr
Fuelled by steak and fine Malbec, experience cycle touring at its most luxurious
“I’m a teetotal vegetarian when I arrive in Argentina. A week later — well, let’s just say I’m less so. In fact, I take one look at the juicy, bloody steak I’m offered on my first night, and the equally juicy, blood-red glass of Malbec that accompanies it, and crack instantly.
But surely I deserved it. Earlier that day we had biked through Los Cardones National Park, a vast, empty desert tucked up in the northwest corner of Argentina, through forests of 10ft-high cacti and past flocks of wild guanacos, an undomesticated version of a llama. And one of the great joys of any activity holiday, something the flop-and-beach crowd don’t realise, is that exercising hard by day is only one part of the equation. There’s also the bit where you get to stuff your face by night.
I had high hopes for this aspect of it, because the trip was organised by Butterfield & Robinson, a Canadian company that specialises in the highest of high-end biking and hiking holidays. (I hear that on one trip, by chance, Goldie Hawn and Dan Quayle ended up riding alongside each other.) The rest of the group are in a slightly more elevated tax bracket than me — it turns out that I’m the only one who doesn’t own a ski lodge in Colorado — and that’s not the only point of difference. Most group holidays attract solo travellers, but here there are seven couples, from New York, Texas and Minnesota. And me.”