We were talking to Leonel Romero about his magnificent experiences traveling by bicycle. He told us how his desire to cycle began and the places he has visited.
- How did your interest in traveling begin?
I think I always had it. To visit new and unexplored places and meet new people have always been my favorite things.
Over time (and traveling), I began to understand that traveling is not just about getting away from your routine for a vacation. I know that vacations are the most common trip because most people do not have time or money, or don’t feel comfortable due to safety. Traveling is more a learning experience and an exchange of cultures, that generates a deeper knowledge of oneself.
- At what age did you start traveling and what inspired or pushed you to do it?
My first trips were on family vacations, always in Cordoba and sometimes to the Argentine coast or Mendoza to visit family.
As a cyclist or bicycle traveler, I started in 2015. I was 25 years old when I was in Europe for a trip organized by AVEIT, a student organization of the UTN of Córdoba that aims to do a study/tourism trip at the end of the engineering degree. I went to Croatia with a friend and went into a very large sports equipment shop and we bought everything necessary to start what would be my first “adventure”. That time we went from Croatia to Turkey by bike, passing through Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania, Greece, and Bulgaria.
- Have you ever been in a dangerous situation during a trip?
In regards to security, I think the perception of danger depends on the person. You could be robbed in Cordoba or you could be in a “dangerous” place and nothing happens.
I was robbed twice in Colombia. The first time was an assault on the street in a very touristy place because of being careless. The second time a truck gave us a lift because we were in a very hot region and we did not want to keep going. We put our bikes on top of the truck. After a while I saw a trainer up there: a guy of about 20 had climbed on top and was sitting there quietly. We continued traveling but were aware of our the unknown travel companion. After 5 minutes I saw him opening a bag so I told the driver and we stopped. The driver got out with a baseball bat and started screaming at the boy. The boy had nothing with him, not even a backpack, or our belongings, so we thought he hadn’t stolen anything and we let him go. He crossed the road in the middle of the field and a motorbike appeared that picked him up and they left.
The we realized, that he had thrown things onto the road and then collected them after. Luckily, we didn’t lose anything important.
- Which places have you visited and which one did you like most
By bike, I have visited Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.
I can’t decide which one I like the most, everywhere has it’s benefits.
- What advice would you give to someone who want to start traveling by bike?
Don’t be afraid or listen to what they say on TV. Just go out to fulfill your dreams. No matter how cliché it seems, people have to stop saying that they want to do something and just do it!