Nevis, A MTB’ers Honeymoon

Today’s guest post comes from Deb Keiser.  She is a New York-based journalist who wrote this article about one of my favorite places on Earth, so I just had to post it. Formerly a staff travel writer for the New York Daily News, Deb contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines of the Hearst Conn. Media Group.

Nevis, A Mountain Biker’s Honeymoon

- by Deb Keiser

For years I had dreamed that if ever again I should tie the knot, it would be on the tiny and exclusive island of Nevis, wedding capital of the Caribbean in the West Indies. Nestled close to her sister island, St. Kitts, Nevis has long been a wedding-honeymoon destination – a private tropical paradise where couples stroll hand in hand on quiet beaches and stay at high-end resorts that make honeymoons very sweet.

But dreams change, and so has Nevis. Now, although she is still full of romance, she’s getting active and welcoming a whole new set of suitors.

In November, I made the trip with my boyfriend, David Wilson, but instead of a wedding dress, I packed my cycling gear – bike helmet, shoes and pedals, as well as some new bike jerseys. With Nevis Peak, a volcanic crater, looming high in the center of the island, Nevis is a perfect spot for cycling enthusiasts who want to explore lush mountain trails that once connected sugar cane plantations in the 1700s.

Yes, David and I were in Nevis for a week of mountain biking, not a wedding, and we arrive with a flourish that sets us apart from other visitors.

We fly from New York to St. Kitts, and then, under an open blue sky and a huge horizon, take a water taxi across the narrow channel that separates the two islands of this Federation. We get a good Nevis welcome: choice of Ting (local soda pop) or beer. This boat is moving fast, and it was a long trip. I go for the beer.

Our destination is Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, a historic resort that combines new guest cottages with restored colonial buildings. This was once the property of Lord Horatio Nelson who was in power in the late 18th century, when the British ruled.

But first, we make our way to Oualie Beach right off the dock to find Wheel World, the island’s rental shop, and its owner, Winston Crooke, a tall, sophisticated man with a British accent and legs of steel, who has been expecting us. His shop has a good selection of Trek bikes, and with international triathlete Reggie Douglas who will be on hand as our guide, there can be no better combination.

Although Nisbet Plantation has sent a driver and a van to collect us and our luggage, David and I determine that it would be much more fun to start riding straight away and make the two-mile ride to Nisbet on bike. Crooke cocks his head, and shoots us a broad smile when we announce our plan, and then gives us the thumbs up. “Of course, sure, why not!” he says. “I am not sure it’s been done before, but let’s do it.”

Reggie Douglas, James Weeks, and Winston Crooke

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