Caribbean Cycling Adventure
Caribbean Cycling Adventure
by Royston (Knights of Mobay)
It takes a great deal of time and dedication to get into the best shape of your life. Lots of hours in the gym, on the bike, eating right and counting calories. You just come in from a long ride and the love of your life, hands you a cool smoothie and says, “honey, let’s go down to the Caribbean for a well deserved vacation”. You are not blowing it on a lazy, food indulgent vacation.
No, you are not thinking of the typical jaunts down to the Caribbean, standing in line for calorie enriched buffets, lazy days on the beach drinking sweet rum concoctions and trying to work off weight gain on the dance floor. Americans are eating healthy, taking better care of themselves and allocating time and money to stay in shape. This healthy lifestyle does not stop at kitchen and the gym, but continues to the vacation. All across the globe, folks are spending their weekends running marathons and doing centuries. People are now turning to adventure vacations, because an hour in a small crowded gym at the resort is not enough. They are not interested in the former adventure vacations of a little exercise such as short hikes on the beach or a round of golf. They are looking for a vacations built around an endurance activity with all the vacation trimmings on the side. They want to feel the burn, collect the trophy and relax by the pool afterwards.
The Caribbean islands from the days of the Hollywood stars getaways to Jamaica, jetsetter jaunts to Aruba and gamblers rolling for money on Cuba and Bahamas have all catered to the all inclusive food binging, and alcohol induced conga line crowd.
Times are changing and grassroots level small operators have seen this shift in lifestyles and have adopted. Over the past 2 decades, there has been an explosion of adventure vacations, commencing with Jake’s Off-Road Triathlon at Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, Jamaica 20 years. Jake’s is far away from the developed tourist busy north coast of Jamaica and is situated on the beautiful and unspoiled south coast.
Jake’s Off-Road Triathlon started as a thank you activity for a group of Peace Corp volunteers, today, it is an off the chart mountain bike, swimming and running adventure and has been going strong for the past 15 years. You will enjoy great Jamaican food and drink, classic t-shirts, reggae parties on the beach and unforgettable sunsets.
The Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica came about five years later and Jamaica Reggae Ride followed five years after that with bike rides across Jamaica from Negril to Port Antonio.
These are not barebones, roughing it vacations, but carefully planned events. The Jamaica Reggae Ride is an all inclusive airport to airport service adventure. The staff picks cyclist up at the airport, transports cyclist luggage from hotel to hotel, taking care of all the cyclist needs on and off the bike. Every morning, the cyclists only have to concentrate on scenic views, while riding 60 miles to the next hotel and discovering a new town in the afternoon.
In many situations, adventure vacations are more cost effective and higher value. You get more, while paying less. On the Jamaica Reggae Ride, you see the whole island without paying for a single tour while viewing one of the most pristine Caribbean coast lines interrupted only by views of small towns and historical mansions without having to go pass an overpriced gift shops.
The Reggae Marathon takes place along the pancake-flat roads of Negril adjacent to the white sand beaches. Participants roll out of their beautiful beach hotels and stroll over to the start of the run. The 13.1-mile course loop starts and finishes just steps from the beach alongside Negril’s famous “seven-mile” white sandy beach; Full marathoners run the entire race course twice. The views of the sand, sea, and lush greenery are gorgeous. The live reggae bands positioned every few miles, the blasting sidewalk sound systems and cheers from the locals are unlike any marathon in the US or Europe and keep you very motivated. At the completion, you rest, rehydrate, line up for a free massage and take a quick dip in the ocean.
Cyclist can ride on their own around small islands like Barbados before lunch or participate in events such as La Vuelta and circumnavigate the 300+ miles of Puerto Rico’s coastlines. If mountain biking is your thing, then go to St Kitts, search out Nevis Adventure Tours/GreenEdge Bike Shop. Reginald can plan a mountain or hiking tour of either St. Kitts and Nevis or both.
If you are looking for something a little shorter and sweeter, St Lucia has Bike St. Lucia’s, 8 miles of custom mountain bike trails situated on the infamous Anse Mamin Plantation, on the grounds of the Anse Chastanet Resort. Ride mountain bikes amongst an abundance of tropical vegetation and 18th century historical plantation ruins, on trails designed to accommodate both the first time and experienced riders on Cannondale suspension bikes. There is a skill course training area adjacent to the 5,000 square foot Bike St. Lucia’s facility where riders can learn or brush up on off-road riding skills.
Of course, there is also Mocha Spoke in Grenada. Experience the island at the speed of bicycle and then relax afterward at the café.
If riding trails or 180 miles across Jamaica in three days is too tame for you, how about cycling across a continent, albeit the thinnest section. We can do this riding across Latin America, but as Tina Turner said in Rolling on the River, You see we never ever do nothing nice and easy/we always do it nice and rough
Nice is going across Panama,
Exploration of the Isthmus of Panama, from Panama City on the Panama Canal to the rainforest, around the beautiful Casco Viejo (Old Town) on the Panama Canal Railway to the Caribbean and back along the Panama Canal trails with stops at the fascinating Gatun Locks. Cyclist will have opportunities to watch immense ocean ships passing through the Canal and then ride through the Soberania National Park.
Rough is going across Costa Rica, The Toughest Race in the World
LA RUTA DE LOS CONQUISTADORES is Costa Rica’s premier mountain bike race and one of the most difficult athletic events on the planet. The world’s original multi-day fat-tire stage race, La Ruta is the “Grandfather” that created and inspired this now-worldwide genre — and still the most loved, feared, and respected.
After riding across island of Jamaica or alongside the Panama Canal or walking the streets of carribean-side town of Limon, Costa Rica, you don’t want a tourist shirt. You want an athletic cut, sports jersey. Knightsofmobay Apparel has started a line of Caribbean and African jerseys. Whether you climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro or cycled around Puerto Rico, you can now get a beautiful jersey that you will wear proudly at the next run event or cycling tour and leave the scratchy t-shirt in the store.