Even before I set foot on Panamanian soil, I had decided to cycle the length of the Panama Canal. Upon arrival, I unpacked my Brompton and cycled from Panama City to Colon, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
On the way, I stopped at the Miraflores Locks to see the canal in action. The only problem – I missed “rush hour” and only witnessed one small passenger boat passing through the locks.
After Miraflores the road veered away from the canal and for the next few hours, I cycled mostly through the jungle. The road was hillier than I imagined and my knees started to ache halfway through. The heat and humidity didn’t help.
A few hours later I reached Colon which felt like, well, a bit of a shithole. The road worsened as I entered the city, gradually becoming gravel. The buildings were more and more dilapidated. When I finally reached the coast, I couldn’t go all the way to the waterfront because of construction – so much for dipping a foot in two oceans on the same day. Searching for a decent restaurant only got me further on bad roads and questionable neighborhoods. I finally gave up and headed to the only relatively safe bet – McDonald’s.
I returned on the Panama Canal Train, seeing more of the canal than on the way in. It was also quicker and less taxing.
This week in numbers:
96 km – distance cycled
1 – small passenger boat passed through the locks, instead of the huge container carriers I hoped for
0 – interesting things seen in Colón