Cuba By Bike
Okay, you've decided to explore Cuba by bike. The essential question you must now answer is: what bike?
Road cycling is our second sport. We're primarily hikers. We haven't devoted ourselves to cycling like we have to hiking. We're inept at bike maintenance and repairs, and we cannot offer expert advice on bicycles. We have a superb bike shop, Rebound Cycle in Canmore, whose advice and service we trust.
When we explored Cuba by bike, we did it on Bike Fridays (bikefriday.com). We'd ridden them throughout Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, we liked them, and they were still relatively new.
A nearly new steed is the key to traveling Cuba by bike if, like us, you're not a skilled mechanic, or you don't want to be burdened with spare parts and an elaborate tool kit.
Before you tour Cuba by bike, understand that scarcity dominates the island. Replacing a bike component there could be impossible. Even finding the correct size tire for your bike might be very difficult. We never saw a bicycle shop in Cuba.
We had one flat tire. That was our only breakdown while traveling Cuba by bike. So we were glad we took new bikes. And the Bike Fridays, because they fold and pack into a suitcase, were convenient.
Looking back, however, we wish we'd done it differently: on older, less expensive, less specialized bikes we could have given to Cubanos.
That's what we suggest you do. Buy a used bike. It should be very basic, so repairing it in Cuba is conceivable, and so the Cubano you give it to can likely continue maintaining it. Before your trip, replace every component that could potentially stymy you if it fails in Cuba.
After touring Cuba by bike, the joy of giving transportation to a long-suffering Cubano will eclipse any minor inconvenience your less-than-ideal bike might have caused you en route.
To learn more about Cuba by bike, go to http://www.hikingcamping.com/free-cycling-cuba.php, where you can read an insightful travel article written by Kathy & Craig Copeland, initially published in the Calgary Herald.
For a glimpse of Cuba by bike, go to http://www.hikingcamping.com/photos-cuba.php, where you can see photos from Kathy & Craig Copeland's five-week journey on the island.