Why We Did This
We wanted to do one day on mainland Ecuador following our trip to the Galapagos. Ecuador, for being such a tiny country, has an amazing eco-diversity in which the Galapagos plays only a small part. Take for example the humming bird and the condor; both living on the mainland of Ecuador, the full grown hummingbird is smaller than a condor's egg. The landscapes of Ecuador take on a diversity of similar magnitude. Near Quito, a valley at 9,000 ft above sea level, volcanoes dominate the skyline. If you travel north, you hit the Amazon and her jungles. If you travel south, volcanoes tower over farmland. A short distance from Quito, Cotopaxi's glacier capped peaks stand proudly over the clouds, her last eruption sending rocks as far north as Colombia, and lava flows as far west as the Pacific Ocean.
Our fear that nothing could compete at the level of a week at the Galapagos was soon squelched when we found a bike tour company named the Biking Dutchman, who among their various trips ranging from a day to weeks on end, offered a day trip to Cotopaxi, and included a picnic lunch at a small Incan ruin along the way. We checked several travel guides at the local book store and found that the Biking Dutchman came highly reccommended. Let's book it!
How We Did This
Signing up was very simple. We went to the Biking Dutchman web site, wrote an email, and signed up. We went back and forth with a few questions and answers to make sure they would have bikes to fit us (their bikes are better than our own, including Gary Fischer, Trek, and Giant, if I recall accurately. All we needed to bring was warm clothes and sun screen. Both ended up being very important!