Unexpected moto adventure in Ecuador by Anastasia Lianiova.

I was following the stranger on a bicycle with a machete into the Ecuadorian jungle, thinking about what on Earth am I doing here and what are my survival chances. And here’s what brought me to the country I never expected to visit.

In June I got a message on Instagram. We are searching for an influencer, told Davo. Davo sleeps around 3 hours a day, but he’s full of energy and is shining as he talks about his child, bike rental and tour company Ecuador Bike Rental Having worked for 16 years in the oil business left the ex-racer with a feeling that life goes by. He decided to change it and started the company with just two rental motorcycles that he bought. That now grew into a business with 6 employees, a nice 2-store office in Quito, over 20 bikes, and cool clients coming from all over the world for guided or self-guided tours.

The decision

At that time I was in Georgia dealing with my driving license, and Ecuador seemed too far away. Also, I’ve worked with sponsors as I was racing, and I know how to deliver good content and meet their expectations, but never thought of myself as an influencer. But as I arrived in Mexico, Ecuador seemed much closer. And you don’t say no if someone invites you to a new country to ride a bike.

Once again, permanently bewildered about what was going on, I packed my stuff and left from Tijuana to Quito. Davos met me at the office, and on the fly, we designed an adventure of 3 acts – Coast, North, and Amazon. – You never tried surfing? We’ll send you surfing, he said, quickly drawing another line on the wall map, while I could only listen open-mounted, trying to follow. They gave me Suzuki DR 650, side bags for all my stuff, a GPX track for maps.me, and waved goodbye.

I set off in the afternoon towards some hotel near the Quilotoa crater. I followed some gravel road in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. First, it was warm, then foggy and miserably cold, then it got dark, and the road wouldn’t end. I stumbled into the hotel, half-alive and half-sick from cold and altitude, but felt better the next day. After several failed attempts, I even managed to find an off-road route to the other side of the crater. I will not describe everything here, there’ll be a separate article about the trip, but some memorable moments following.

Pepino Gigante.

On the way to the Coast driving through some remote forest, I saw a plate with the inscription “Pepino Gigante”. I drove by, but curiosity turned me back. The man with a machete came out as I stopped by the house. How big is your cucumber, I asked, can I take one? No problem, he said, but we need to harvest that. Riding alongside on my moto, we ventured into the jungle, where he sliced a massive, unfamiliar 8-kilo vegetable. That sounds like quite the task! I assisted him in transporting the cucumber to the main road for sale.

The Coast.

As I arrived in Canoa, the guys told me to search for Kiki, the surf instructor. Search how? I went to the beach and in my broken Spanish tried to explain what I need to every single person. Having met probably everyone in the village, I found someone who called the instructor to come. A wild self-made vehicle arrived at the beach, sliding and over-throttling, and somehow I knew it was my ride. Kiki patiently taught me all day, despite my struggles swallowing salty water and repeatedly falling from the board.

Then we had a swim to see some caves, and then the high tide started and I almost died between the rocks. As we had a dinner of some amazing seafood Ecuadorian coast can offer and cocada – a dessert made of coconut with dulce de leche, a man in a hat with a bottle of whiskey on a dancing (!) horse jumped into the restaurant. That’s how I discovered it was a City Festival. I can drive you around, the instructor said, but you will need to push the car to jumpstart it.

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