Ecuador - Giant Descents and the Definition of Freeriding

Jun 15, 2014
by Raven Eye Photography  
Ancient Incan ruins, hot springs, jungle trekking, and massive smoking volcanoes, they’re all remarkable reasons to visit Ecuador, but I came for the world class mountain biking. Warm weather, big mountains, friendly locals and easy access to an incredible trail network make this a prime international riding destination. The mountain biking scene here is big - it’s cheap to travel around the country (once the plane tickets are bought) and an array of opportunities await the adventurous rider. For an epic and logistic free bike vacation, or shuttle riding you can check out Big Mountain Bike Adventures (www.ridebig.com) and jump on the next locally guided tour.

Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
The city of Quito, a UNESCO world heritage site, sits at 2800m packed in on the side of the Andes Mountain Range. It’s the perfect place too start an Ecuadorian bike trip.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
These trails are in part of an inner city park (the Parque Metropolitano) and are a great warm up for high elevation riding, and to make sure the airline didn't break your bike.. too much.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
After a day in the city and some acclimatization to the high elevation, it was off to explore the surrounding hillsides.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
After ripping the trails outside of Quito it was time for a (or several) cold cervezas, a quick load up, and a shuttle over to the next spot.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Descending into the farmland inside the caldera of an eons extinct volcano.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
The open trails of the rim give way to a labyrinth of tunneled trails eroded from generations of horse, foot, and now bike travel.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
The lower flanks of the extinct volcano still show hints of its past activity. Orange rock and the strong smell of sulfur almost gave this place an otherworldly feel (Although I haven’t visited any other planets yet so I may not be the best authority on such sensations.)
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Freeriding lives. Choose your own adventure.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
The wide-open…. And the not so wide-open spaces.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Back to the wide open range. Tubeless tires mandatory... And good footwear.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
A roller coaster time in the high desert exploring the Chota trails northeast of the city of Ibarra. The possibilities seemed endless…
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Endless...
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
I got mega sunburned on just the right side from riding the Chota 2500 trail north in the afternoon for fifteen wonderful kilometers.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
The cutest baby goat in the world, just like trail dog it wanted to come riding with us. After a couple days north of 0' it was off to the southern hemisphere, and the highlands where volcanoes, high elevation riding and massive descents await!
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Let's go that way. No there! How 'bout this way? It didn't even matter what way you pointed. It all went.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Freeriding the immense slopes of Cotopaxi below the glacier at just under 5000m
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Wide open wanton freeriding leads to 1500 vertical meters through the volcanic lahar to reach the Ecuadorian high plains, and the waiting shuttle van.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
We decided to do it twice. And then again. Ok just one more time? It feels like snowboarding, like tearing through an open powder slope, a true sensation of freeriding with the crevassed glacier of Cotapaxi looming just above.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Follow the leader through the lava fields...
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Celebrating the best day of riding ever....
So far.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Mama Rumi!!! Go on, say it out loud, it's fun! This ancient trade route has been transformed into just under 2000 vertical meters of fast flowy single track descent.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Dropping into 2000m of awesomeness
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Where a prehistoric race of people once carried fresh fish from the sea for the Incan King you can now bomb down past enormous cacti in the highlands, drift berms through villages surrounded by banana plantations and finish it all in dense leafy rainforest.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Thousands of years of feet passing has worn the trail into a deep trench - almost a tunnel.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Dusty, dirty, big smiles passing through banana plantations.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Hopefully this is not their drinking water...
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
We consistently pass pickups with bikes stacked over their tailgates on their way to shuttle riding. As different as the Ecuadorian culture is, the biking culture here is strong and feels familiar.
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com
Ecuador Biking - www.RavenEyePhotography.com

Goodbye Cotopaxi and the high plains, after 10 days of epic riding its off to Guatemala

Big Mountain Bike Adventures is offering it’s 10-day Equator Escape trip from November 21-30, 2014 for USD $2595. Sign up now, it’ll fill up!


27 Comments

  • 16 1
 One of those trips/rides you have to do before you die, it just looks brilliant. Well done peoples....
  • 3 0
 I felt nostalgic after reading the article and watching those pictures. Ecuador’s mountain-biking is as diverse as its regions are, which vary from muddy and humid in the Amazon region to what we have here, high mountains, forests, and volcano trails, and it ends by the coast with beautiful beaches and awesome weather. Mountain-biking is one of the many sports targeting ecotourism in Ecuador which is helping put this country on the map for beautiful and affordable destinations for adventure seekers and a unique tourism experience !!!
  • 6 0
 Definition of All Mountain riding.
  • 2 0
 Big props to Big Mountain Adventures for letting us knows the costs up front. Too many tour companies get you all excited for an awesome adventure, only to hit you with a wild price tag once they've roped you in. Knowing the dates and prices ahead of time allows us to say "hey, I might actually be able to afford that!"
  • 3 2
 Pinkbike, A fellow traveller and I have spent the last week exploring the country as part of a long term project to bring the sport further south. Three days in Quito and now in Loja, where we are bushwacking on donkey trails to find some potential. Any additional info on riding spots here in the southern part of the country would be awesome! And by the way, the Teleferico DH trail is a must! Cheers
  • 1 0
 Great to see my country on PB! Just wanted to add that the crater they ride in (Pululahua Volcano) is very much active. Evidence of this is the huge dome in the middle of the crater. The last eruption is thought to be the cause of the disappearance of the Tulipe Culture. Pululahua (infiernillo trail) is one of my favourite rides around Quito.

Cheers!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the info. Always cool to hear this stuff from locals.
  • 4 1
 mamarumi is located in the province of Bolivar, in the center of the country, is a simply amazing track
  • 2 0
 Fantastic article, photos. One of those places I'd love to get to. Have to settle for watching Ecuador vs Swiss in WC on tele right now (coincidentally)...
  • 2 0
 Nice article Todd (Sparky)! Was nice to re-live that through your photos. Brought back some awesome memories. Great trip. Great group. Great country.
  • 5 2
 Wow! Stunning pics! ...so sad I can't view them at a decent size Frown
  • 4 1
 Looks awesome, really wanna do something like that every year man...
  • 3 1
 I love ecuador The people are great very pretty safe You gotta go!
  • 1 0
 Check out this Mama Rumi Video!

www.pinkbike.com/video/334946

Cheers!
  • 1 0
 Wow! Did you go with a tour group or with friends? Any tips on going?
  • 1 0
 No tour, just friends, used to live in Ecuador. There is other trail named Pumamaki, really cool! If you are going you should contact tour guides, don't want to get lost over there!! Where you from?
  • 1 0
 San Diego!
  • 1 0
 @nardoarevalo14 check out www.ridebig.com I was on the trip pictured and written about above....Ecuador was amazing and the Mama Rumi trail was the best single lap I've ever done.
  • 1 0
 So nice to say I live there and I have donde all of this rides all ready. Really awesome trails. So proud of my countrie
  • 2 1
 Ecuadorians where is mama rumi located?? I can't wait to ride here!
  • 1 0
 I have stayed at that hotel in Quito... so funny to see the views on pb.
  • 1 0
 Proud of my Country! Lot of fun
  • 1 0
 More articles like this please Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 Such a great adventure.. i envy u alot guys..
  • 1 0
 amazing!
  • 1 0
 Just GREAT!
  • 3 4
 FreeRiding Not, TrailRiding Yes...

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