2020 definitely did not turn out as we expected. We went from a very intense first trimester, full of trips, adventures and cultural experiences, to being in complete pause and without being able to leave the house. Despite the situation, at Tingua Hidden Journeys we remain positive, and we decided to use the time to finally execute the ideas and projects that we have had for a long time, but couldn't find the time to make them happen. One of these projects is to strengthen our community of travelers and local hosts, by introducing our network of local collaborators, which is the raison d'être of our organization. We start with Omar, advisor for cyclists who want to explore the majestic Colombian routes with the help of a local cyclist who can also guide them in their physical training.
Omar was born in Bucaramanga, but grew up in Bogotá, where he has lived most of his life. He studied Physical Culture, Sports and Education and chose sports training as an emphasis for his career. He is passionate about cycling and endurance sports, and works as a personal trainer for cyclists and runners. He says he got into cycling after sport climbing broke his heart in 2014, in 2015 he bought his first road bike and since then his new romance has not stopped. He rides often on the many mountain routes near Bogotá, and take multi-day cycling trips at least twice a year. He started working as a cycling advisor for travelers in 2019 and he enjoys doing what he loves the most while showing his home country to visitors. We asked Omar to tell us more about his experience advising travelers who come ride in Colombia, and to give us some recommendations for the quarantine season. Here is his answer:
Hello, I am Omar Rubiano, I am 34 years old. I am currently a cyclist, a sports trainer for recreational cyclists and also a trainer in a climbing gym. With Tingua I have worked as a group guide, for short trips promoted by the company, and also as a Cycling advisor for people who come from different parts of the world, or also from Colombia, who want to take a tour with our company. One of the things I like the most about being a cycling advisor is seeing how the person finishes the challenge that he or she set for themselves. Most of the people who come to Colombia, or who are Colombian and ask for our services, come with a specific objective. On the last day, hearing them say that they had an incredible time and that they would return without a doubt, is the most beautiful and most gratifying thing about assisting them. My favorite cycling trip in Colombia started in Sutatausa and took us to Guatapé. That was bikepacking, 90% of the route we did was on gravel roads. I had the opportunity to experience and see incredible places, to share with my friends and I hope that we can repeat this trip or a similar one. You can read more about this journey here.
My recommendation to all foreigners who want to come visit Colombia is don't hesitate to come! It is an incredible country, the people are very kind, we are always open and ready to help you. In case you want to ride with us, we are going to advise and guide you, so choose your routes depending on your physical level of activity. Fortunately, Tingua Hidden Journeys provides the guidance for choosing and planning your visit to Colombia. The experience will be incredible, it will be much more complete and you will enjoy it much more. If you want to ride with a cycling advisor, it will be much better because you will get to know places, things and food that are typical to the region and you will have the company of people who are from the places you are visiting.
Recommendations for these times of social distancing
My recommendation for people who had to postpone their trip due to the situation we are currently experiencing is, first, be patient, because it is something that will take time and the problem will surely be solved. The next recommendation, and more focused on what you want to visit, is not to lose the desire to come to visit Colombia and keep looking at other activities or places that you can do or visit when the trip can finally be done. While we are in isolation, if you have enough space in the house, I recommend always moving from one place to another. Do not make your room the only place in which you stay, but move from the room to the living room, from there to another space in which we can be, in order to be in constant movement. If you have the option to have a cycling simulator, this will be very useful for people who practice cycling recreationally or more seriously. And about physical activity, dedicate at least 45 minutes as active breaks to stay in shape and avoid becoming sedentary. If you are going to be physically active, do it with someone who knows, under the supervision of someone who can guide you well. If you have never done it, do not do it at very high intensities because that will not work either and you won't enjoy it. Seek help from someone who knows, can guide you in what you want or your needs.
On behalf of the entire Tingua Hidden Journeys team, we hope that our readers, clients and collaborators are healthy, and that we remain positive because this situation will pass and we will travel again :)