Adventure Stories

Bikepacking
IN THE INCA EMPIRE

Simon and Nacho have been friends for years. Together, the two young men from the Basque Country have traveled to the world’ s most remote destinations. They are familiar with each other, they are adventurous and have a good deal of improvisational talent.

Under the name of ” 260litros “, the two break out in 2017 and set off to ‘break with the guidelines established by society and immerse themselves in a sea of adventure’. Originally, 6 months were planned to travel from Patagonia to Alaska – by bike and boat!

But things turned out differently: Already when the two of them enter Ecuador after months in South America, they feel this unique fascination for the country and its people. They make new plans and stay longer than expected…

THROUGH HUMID JUNGLES, RUSHING RIVERS, ON CLAYEY PATHS AND OVER PAVED ROADS AT AN ALTITUDE OF 3,500 M – WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO MASTER THIS EXTREME ROUTE ON OUR BIKES!

THE MISSION? BACK TO THE INCA-ROOTS!

After more than three years of traveling through remote places and beautiful landscapes, Simon and Nacho are currently in Ecuador, in the land of the Incas. Hardly any other country in the world offers more biodiversity and variety of species: Green Amazon jungle, spectacular Andes highlands, dense mangrove forests, active volcanoes and one of the oldest cultures in the world.

The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. In its largest extension, the empire united Peru, western Ecuador, western and southern central Bolivia, northwestern Argentina, a large part of present-day Chile and the southwesternmost tip of Colombia to form a state comparable to the historical empires of Eurasia, covering an area of 950,000 km².

„We have always been fascinated by the Inca culture. We want to learn more about the history of the Incas. We want to understand their culture. As our mission we understand the return to the original, to the simple life and to the unknown – all this we want to discover on our bikes.“– Simon, 260 Litros

In Ecuador, Simon and Nacho are experiencing – in two dimensions – the undoubtedly most challenging time of their journey so far:

1. RIDING THE “QHAPAC ÑAN” OR ROYAL ROAD

The Andes main road was built during the Inca period. It was part of the Inca road system in South America and formed the main connection of the Inca Empire in a north-south direction and enabled its political and economic control. It stretched over more than 6,000 kilometers and is comparable to the Silk Road in Asia. It crosses the whole of Ecuador and connects the Andes with the Amazon and the Ecuadorian coast (source: Wikipedia).

2. ENDURING DURING THE CORONA LOCKDOWN IN QUITO

Simon and Nacho have now been “locked up” in Ecuador for months due to Corona. Ecuador has been severely affected by the pandemic and has imposed a very strict curfew. For a long time, Simon and Nacho were only allowed to leave their accommodation for shopping. This time was a very hard test for Simon and Nacho. They were eager to set off with their bikes and face the adventure. Instead of breaking out, they were slowed down indefinitely. Only recently the restrictions were relaxed and day trips are possible again.

„It’s hard to be in a complete lockdown all day long and not go crazy when you’re only allowed to go out to buy food. We had tons of new plans for the coming year. Now we had to pull all these things aside and just focus on staying healthy to achieve all these goals in the future.“ – Nacho, 260 Litros.

„Little by little we realized that this decision we had made months ago would not just be a journey, but would mark a before and after in the course of our lives and would mean a change in our entire lifestyle.“ – Nacho, 260 Litros.

THE H3 HUBS ARE SILENTLY BUZZING ALONG IN OUR BIKES WHILST BEING 100% DEPENDABLE. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?

THE EQUIPMENT

„We knew that riding the “Qhapac Ñan” would not be an easy task. We took a lot of time to choose our equipment. Our demands on the material were high. We wanted to be able to travel this extreme route through humid jungles, rushing rivers, on clayey paths and stone-paved roads at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, and to follow the path that thousands of years ago served as the only route to civilization…”, Simon says the considerations for the choice of material.

After several months of studying, comparing, and weighing up, the two made the decision to use a Tout Terrain Bike with Pinion gearbox. The advantages of the system convinced them in the end.

TOUT TERRAIN EXPLORE

„During our trip we wanted to be able to focus completely on it. The freedom of pedalling, being one with nature and finally the confidence to travel by bike and only to care about riding!“

RIDDEN AND RATED: THE H3 HYBRID HUBS

Who, if not Simon and Nacho, are predestined to put our new H3 HYBRID hubs through their paces? The conditions are ideal. High humidity, temperatures from +30° to -10° Celsius, clayey soil, river crossings, continuous rain and up to 40 kg of luggage on the bike. After several weeks in use, the boys’ first conclusion is positive:

“The H3 Hubs are silently buzzing along in our bikes whilst being 100% dependable. What else do you want? Typical Pinion, a top-notch product for Adventure Bikers!”

IT REMAINS CHALLENGING

It remains challenging for Simon and Nacho, not least facing the global pandemic developments. Of course, we keep our fingers crossed for the two adventurers that they will soon be able to resume their exciting project – riding the “Inca Highway” – and that they will eventually leave Ecuador for Colombia…

„We are very pleased and proud to be part of the “Pinion” team. We are happy to be able to contribute to the development of this incredible system by giving our feedback every time we can. Once you have tried the “Pinion” gear shift system, there is no turning back!“
– 260 Litros

All pictures and stories of Simon and Nacho on

© All pictures and videos are created by 260 Litros.

LITTLE BY LITTLE WE REALIZED THAT THIS WOULD NOT JUST BE A JOURNEY, BUT WOULD MARK A BEFORE AND AFTER IN THE COURSE OF OUR LIVES AND MEAN A CHANGE IN OUR ENTIRE LIFESTYLE.

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