Four Types of Cycling in Belize

One of the greatest uses I saw in Belize was the bicycle sno cone business.  I think they actually called it shaved ice, but there were a bunch of people with these custom made bikes used to sell a nice cool treat to everyone around.  You know I just had to get in there and give one of these bad boys a spin, right?

4.  Competition

Ahhhh, then there is the good old use of bikes for competition.  From what I’ve mentioned so far about how bikes are used in Belize, you’re probably thinking that they have some sort of funky way of racing over here as well.  No way.  Road cycling is huge in Belize, and the racing you’ll find is second to none.

Cycling is treated with respect in the country and the Belize Cycling Association does an incredible job of developing riders and putting on races.  Just last weekend was the National Championship race which is only open to citizens of Belize.  At other times of the year Belize holds races that are open to anyone who qualifies, with the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic being the most popular.  This is a 140 mile road race that brings competitors from around the world….and pretty much shuts down the country while it’s being held.  They take their cycling seriously in Belize….and are cranking out some incredible riders.

Unfortunately the one thing I didn’t see a lot of in Belize is helmets.  I’m used to seeing locals ride around on their cruisers without helmets, but I have never seen so many road bikers with nothing on their heads.  During competition, they wear them but I saw countless cyclists out on training rides without helmets and it was such a strange site to see.

The roads of Belize (even the best ones) are nowhere near in the condition of those we’re used to in other parts of the world, but compared to other third world infrastructure I’ve ridden on, these are pretty darn good.  Scary, but good.

Are you interested in cycling in Belize?  Have you ridden there?  Let me know what questions or comments you have about Loving the Bike in Belize.

 

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  • alan

    a couple of years late, but maybe you still keep your eye on this. i’m heading off to belize and want to use a cycle as the main local transport option – it’s just faster lots of the time than local transport. how easy is it to hire bikes and how easy/cheap to buy a decent mountain bike?

  • Emily

    Hello! Where would you recommend I look for a bike to rent, or buy (buy and sell back or give away)? I´ll be there in February and would like to tour for a few weeks and I´d like to be in rural areas, do you have any suggestions of routes/roads/destinations? Also, I´m traveling solo as a female, do you think that doing so is reasonably safe if I keep my wits about me? Thanks!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hi Emily,

      Good to hear from you. I have been getting a lot of questions about cycling in Belize lately so it’s definitely a popular spot these days. I’ve actually opened a bicycle cafe in Grenada (Southern Caribbean) but can try and help you out with my input on Belize.
      If you’re starting your holiday off in Belize City you can buy a bike there. They have a few different bicycle shops, but the city itself is not very safe so be careful. Outside of Belize City, there isn’t much for rentals or purchase. You can rent a one speed cruiser but that’s about it.
      The rest of Belize is fairly safe and you should be fine. Let me know if you have more specific questions and if you’d like some help in finding a place to stay. I know a great place in Placencia and also another great place between Belmopan and San Ignacia.

      Darryl

      darryl@lovingthebike.com
      lovingthebike.com
      @lovingthebike
      facebook.com/lovingthebike

  • Robert

    Darryl, I hope you are well, I have a couple of questions and I hope you have time to answer my questions.
    We are doing a family cruise on the Norwegian Dawn and it will leave Tampa March 31 2013, 1st day at sea, 2nd Bay Island Roatan, Honuras, 3rd day Belize City, 4th day Coasta Maya, 5th day Cozumel, 6th day at sea and 7th day back in Tampa. I love bike riding and I want to bring my bike on the ship and ride on the Island and in the ports. I have a mtb, cross trail and a road bike but not sure what I should bring and I am looking for advise on what to bring. My other question is have you ridden at all on the other port and is there a web site where I can pull up some riding trails from Belize
    Thank for helping, Robert, Commerce MI

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Robert, I’ve sent you an e-mail with my response. Have a great cruise.

      • Kaslocottage

        I have been following this mountain biking in Belize string with interest.  I hope that it is not in appropriate to do so but I have a 9+ acre property for sale in what is the absolute heart of the Cayo district (Belize) mountain biking mecca.  We bought a 40 acre parcel 15 years ago and just sub divided it into quarters. We are going to sell 2 and keep 2.  The 9.19 acre would make a tremendous Mtn. bike business hub.  Lots of phenominal routes in and around the area.  I can be reached by e-mail if anyone is interested.  kaslocottage@telus.net  My name is Michael Jones.  I am from Kamloops, BC, Canada

        • Kaslocottage

          Further to the above string.  I should have put the price so as not to waste anyone’s time.  $37,500 Cdn for 9.19 acres.  Michael Jones, Kamloops, BC, Canada

          • Aron Hoffman

            Aloha Michael, were planning a trip to look at investing in Belize. Was curious as to were your property is located? Any info wold be greatly appreciated. Of course not having gone down yet and not knowing the area, coordinates might be helpful. Or maybe you would have place mark on Google Earth or something? Any info would much appreciated, thanks so much! eel free to contact us as well…808-281-8344. Hawaii Time, or aronhoffman@gmail.com

  • Alex

    Hi there, Im looking for more information on Mountain Biking in Belize as im planning on spending 3 weeks down there in February, would you have any information of trail locations? Possibly the length? Where I could find maps? . Im planning on taking my own bike

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      E-mail sent to you, Alex.

  • Kelly

    My boyfriend and I are getting ready to spend 2 weeks in Belize. We are very active and are seriously thinking about taking bikes as our mode of travel. I was just curious, are their places we could rent for a couple weeks, or is it a better idea to take our mountain bikes. If we do take our mountain bikes (which are fairly high-end) should we be worried about theft? Thank you for the article, it was extremely helpful!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hi Kelly, I sent you an e-mail.

  • Andrew

    hey ok, so I want to ride there very soon, how much would a bike trip like this cost, getting there from the states and all? thanks

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hi Andrew, flights are usually quite cheap from the States. Check it out online and search Continental and American Airways as both fly direct. Let me know once you’re booked to go and I can provide more information for you as well.

  • Kathycam

    Thanks for sharing the info.  We have cycled in Cuba for a month the past two years and are thinking of cycling in Belize this November.
    The roads in Cuba were often very rough and I found that I could cover more country if I started really early and rode all morning, resting in the heat of the day and riding again in the evening.  Westjet flew our bike to Cuba free as humanitarian supplies and we left the bikes with grateful Cubans when we went home.  We would probably try and arrange the same thing for the Belize trip.  I am having a hard time imagining it would be fun cycling in humid 110 degree heat and wonder if anyone has taken their bike out to Tobacco Caye or any of the other Cayes.  Can we take bikes in the cargo hold of busses as we did in Cuba? 

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Great to hear from you, Kathy.  Please send me an e-mail at darryl@lovingthebike.com so we can discuss this in more detail.  I think it is so awesome that you left the bikes in Cuba and I know there would be many appreciative people in Belize if you did this as well.  I don’t think you’ll be able to take your bikes with you on the buses, but I may be wrong.  I can check into it for you. 

      • Rookie

        hello there I live in Belize and i am involved in cycling. Use to do some road racing when younger ,just do it for fun and heath now. It is possible to take your bikes on some bus routes like to the western and southern part of the country, wher it is also great cycling area

  • Jim Wachter

    I moved to Belize in June, this article is spot on! I train and race here. I would add that seeing the locals is great motivation. When I am out training and feeling beat…I see some guy carrying about 50-75 lbs of something or someone riding “tandem” with a kid or teen sitting on the bars…I think to myself “I’ve got a 15 lb bike, what am I complaining about”. I feel hot and thirsty but then I see a guy “20 miles from no place” riding with no water bottles…he is likely on a 2 hour “cruiser” ride just going to home/work, the RealFeel temp is about 110 degrees…again I should have no complaints. I think my butt hurts from the road not being smooth like in the states and then I pass a mom with her kid sitting on the toptube…I stop complaining. The racing here is both intense and plentiful. I did two crits yesterday with crowds lining the street all the way around the 0.9 mile course. Lot’s of fun for a road cyclist.

    • Stevesavage71

      Hi, im thinking about moving to belize from spain, cycling is a big part of my life, on and off road. Is there a better area of Belize to live to enjoy the most cycling?

      • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

        That’s a great question, and hopefully some other people (like Jim) will reply with their comments.  Belize has a strong cycling community and most of the island has areas for cycling.  Any location along the Western Highway or Hummingbird Highway would provide you with access to good cycling.  Down by Placencia is also good cycling, but much flatter.  I hope that helps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kirby.fling Kirby Fling

      Hey Jim, my wife have been is serious talks about moving someplace warmer, and Belize is currently on the top of our list (warm, english langage, good cycling).  I’d love to hear how your experience was and maybe get some advice.  Drop me an email if you wouldn’t mind chatting about it k#i#r#b#y#f@e#f#n,o#r#g 

    • Jan Cohen

      Jim,
      Hope this note finds you well. I am with a Cycling Training Series in Houston, Texas and have an interest in bring a few of our cyclist to ride in your area. I am hoping you would be available to discussion and guidance. When traveling you never really know what to expect without the guidance of someone local who really knows the roads. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • omar

    they do have mountain biking here in belize to do of road and in the jungle i can link you up to some if you like and they are good to  do let me know if you are interested in doing some  i am a cyclist and i do off road riding my email is mariano.28@hotmail.com  just let me know and we can set somthing up you will like the off road riding here and there is alot to see if you love biking.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks for commenting on this, Omar.  I know that there has also been talks of Belize setting up more off road cycling trails as well.  Yes, it is definitely a great place for road and off road cycling.

  • Linda Elul

    Great article! I was in Belize in May of this year, and while driving on the Hummingbird Highway we encountered two races. Most riders had their helmets on. It was awesome to watch them!!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Awesome….glad to see that you were able to run into some cycling.  Fantastic.

  • http://twitter.com/bikerly Jim (@bikerly)

    Great photos here, D. Brings back memories of seeing Belizean beach cruisers on last winter’s vacation. I loved that place, man. 

  • http://www.CyclingForBeginners.com Cycling For Beginners

    I remember hearing about Belize from you before — it sounds great.  I have a few questions:
    1.  Did you do any off-road cycling there?
    2.  Do you feel fairly safe cycling around Belize by yourself?
    3.  How are the “not about the bike” things about Belize — clean beaches, clear water, good food, friendly people, etc.?
    Best,
    Rob

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Great questions, Rob.  Here’s what I’ve got to say:

      1.  I didn’t do any off-road but it’s funny you ask about this.  I met with the President of the Belize Cycling Association and they are currently working with the US Government on a grant that will be used to develop off road cycling trails in Belize.  He wants me to be involved with this….so I’m hoping I can make that happen.  Belize is set up perfectly for some great MTBing trails.

      2.  I feel totally safe.  Cycling is pretty much the national sport in Belize so people respect cyclists.  The roads are narrow and there isn’t a shoulder so it can definitely make things interesting.  I was run off the road yesterday because there was an on-coming vehicle passing another and he was coming right at me.  This kind of thing has happened a few times here, as well as in other similar countries I have ridden in…but this was the first time I had to actually get off the road.

      3.  Belize is nice, but definitely not your typical touristy type of place.  The beaches are nice, the water is good (you can drink it, but bottled water is probably the safer choice), good local food (and cheap), and very friendly people.  Belize also has a lot of the same issues you’ll find in other third world countries.

      I’d love to tell you more about it, so feel free to contact me any time.

      Darryl

      • http://www.CyclingForBeginners.com Cycling For Beginners

        Thanks Darryl, it sounds great! Is the sea water nice and clear for snorkeling and such?

        I think we’re going to head to Antigua later this summer, so I’m now trying to see what I can find out about cycling there. I’ll post an article about it after I get back.

        Best,
        Rob

  • http://twitter.com/dboyd22 Dave Boyd

    Before hearing it from you, Belize seemed like a tropical paradise only dreamed about. Knowing what you’ve shared, I’m going to go. I just don’t know when. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hi Dave, good to hear from you.  I’m glad you’ve liked the stuff that’s been posted from Belize.  Cycling really is a big thing over here, and it’s one of the reasons we came here for a holiday.