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Motorcycle Culture in Peru | Andes to the Ocean

There are thousands of bikes in Peru, though mostly 125cc motorcycles.  Roncos, Pulsars, FZ125 and Yz125’s abound, and people use them for everything; from commuting to carrying pets to all-purpose delivery vehicles.  

I saw numerous Chinese-made motorcycle taxis, couriers and even water and gas-delivery services, traversing tiny, ancient, cobbled-roads laden with hundreds of pounds of steel canisters precarious balanced on small displacement bikes.  
I would love to ride the Andes someday.  The ascents are mesmerizing, and there are probably many places traversable only by bike.  

I had the soundtrack of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre: The Wrath of God stuck in my head driving up to Machu Picchu by bus, and I can only imagine how much labor and blood was spent to build these early roads.  
And I always wondered why the Inca supposedly never developed the wheel, but after seeing the craggy landscape (a severe landscape), there was no way possible to create a surface flat enough to pass by any wheeled vehicle. 
Moto-taxis seem to be the preferred method of transit in many tourist-towns.  Rocco and Quinqi covered motorcycle taxis were by far the most prevalent vehicle available in little historic towns like Urubamba in the Incan Sacred Valley, even though a 90 minute luxurious car ride from Cuzco to Ollaytantambo to catch a train cost us about $8 or $9.  
Riders (taxi-drivers) customize the cabin’s of their Chinese made trikes, symbolizing everything from MotoGP to Batman. 
Lima is chaos. There are many, many police in Lima, and most of them are motorcycle Policia.
Driving through Lima is like trying to commute in LA, with no rules to keep order.  I drive by several bike-cops splitting lanes through traffic simultaneously talking on cell phones.
There are 10 million people in Lima (more than Manhattan), and it seems like everyone drives, clogging the streets with traffic, smog and soot.  The entire city is actually strangled, separating the city from the ocean by a superhighway that makes it nearly impossible to walk across.   I’ve ridden bikes in Italian cities, as well as Istanbul in the rain, and of course New York City; though I think Lima might be the most hectic traffic experience I’ve ever seen.

Peruvian Moto-Taxis

Peruvian Motorcycle Police

© 2016 Tigh Loughhead


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