After a year of planning, the two friends and fellow students left Göttingen on 18 October for Hanover and from there on to Amsterdam. Then they made the leap across the pond to Buenos Aires in Argentina. From there they took a domestic flight to the starting point of their adventure: Ushuaia at the southern tip of the South American country.
In Argentina, the first country of their journey, the two experienced enormous hospitality and, apart from the first night in Buenos Aires, were able to stay everywhere free of charge. People along the Panamericana are very open-minded towards cyclists. The two have also taken in former cyclists, but the so-called "refugios", shelters along the route, also offer uncomplicated shelter.
In the first few days, their overnight camps included a bakery in Tolhuin, which is very well known in the region, and which provided them with snacks and chocolate loaf after a guided tour. The latter was very welcome, because "one challenge for us at the moment is still the food supply. We find it difficult to take in enough calories, but it has improved since the first days. Some of the distances between the villages are so long that the food supply has to be well planned," said Antonia and Laura.
In terms of scenery, the start for the two in the mountains of Ushuaia was by far the most impressive. After that, it became relatively monotonous with flat, uniform landscapes.
As of early November, the two have covered over 1100 kilometres and 10.300 metres of altitude difference on 16 days of riding on their STEVENS Caminbo Pro gravel bikes. The longest daily stage was 127 kilometres, the shortest only 25 kilometres due to the extremely strong wind. In general, the wind was the dominant theme of the first days. At times it was impossible for the two to ride; for 10 kilometres they were on the road for two hours on one day. In addition, the strong gusts of wind pull on the heavily packed bikes, which are pushed to the other side of the road by the wind, and passing trucks pose the danger of the bikes being knocked over.
"Basically, we are doing very well and really enjoying the trip, even despite the wind. Everything is still a bit unfamiliar, but we expect everything to become more routine after a while," says Antonia.
Currently the two are in Paraje El Cerrito, following the famous Route 40, with over 5,200 kilometres the longes national route of Argentina.
Anyone who would like to support Antonia and Laura's fundraising campaign can do so here. Currently, the two have already collected about 3800 euros in donations, more than 80 percent of their second stage goal of 4410 euros.