I’ll be honest; until very recently, I felt like I wasn’t missing out on too much by not driving a car or riding a motorcycle here in Barranquilla. Moreover, most drivers don’t obey the rules; everyone wants to be the first one through the intersection, people regularly make left turns from right lanes, and drivers love texting, triggering plenty of heated honking when they don’t notice light changes. In fact, after just a few months of living here, I was hit by a taxi whose driver wasn’t paying attention. Barranquilleros drive pretty crazily.
But I don’t care anymore. Traffic sucks so taxis are really slow and plus, they’re becoming way too expensive. I’ve realized that knowing how to ride a motorcycle is a must here because it can get you through some tight spots. With a motorcycle, you can get across town in a few minutes; much faster than walking, or even riding a bicycle, or for that matter, the worst option – jumping on a city bus that stops every minute to pick up passengers. I’d also have a quick way of making some cash if I were to ever be unemployed.
I took the plunge and learned to ride a motorcycle just a few weeks ago with Chris and Sam from Adrenaline Addicts. It reminded me of my youth when I learned to drive a car with a standard transmission. One morning, when I was 14 years old, my buddies and I took the car of one of our older brothers and in a few hours, we had all gotten the hang of driving stick. Sure, we were grinding gears left, right and center when we first started out, but it didn’t take us long at all to learn how to coordinate moving between the clutch, gas and various gears.
With Chris and Sam expertly coaching us, Katche and I quickly got the hang of it. We practiced for a little while in a parking lot behind the hostel and within an hour or so, we were out in Friday evening traffic, learning to use our blinkers and practicing accelerating and decelerating. We were looking forward to getting out on the highway, so Chris and Sam recommended Palomino; the best route for beginner riders.
Leaving the hostel in the morning wasn’t too bad. Traffic was light but we managed to ride alongside the cars without a problem. As we were leaving Santa Marta, we had to enter a roundabout and so Sam and Chris created a barrier with one of them riding up front and the other in the back, blocking cars from getting into our space. I felt like I was in a presidential motorcade.
I didn’t ride past 65 kph during the entire trip which let me take in the sights without being too distracted. The highway passes through small towns and also Tayrona and the scenery is beautiful. We made three stops along the way to film and rehydrate. The cliffs right before getting into Palomino were my favorite sight on the trip.
We made it to Palomino in 4 hours and after a relaxing rest on the beach, we returned back to Santa Marta in half the time. We were a crew of five; Chris, Sam, Katche, Carlos, and myself, and we made the trip without a scratch, let alone an emergency. We tested our limits with learning and now we have several new, awesome skills – such as hosting and interviewing, as well as filming from the back seat of a motorcycle.
Chris and Sam remind me of my friends back home; laid-back, friendly and helpful. It’s not surprising that they’ve been receiving so many great recommendations on Trip Advisor. This was by far the best tour I’ve taken so far in Colombia. I can’t think of a better way to see the area. I’ll be signing up for their Minca ride very soon.