April 27, 2016
From gentle family cycling trips, pedal-pounding biking tours and fun-filled cycling excursions to thrilling mountain bike adventures through bird-filled rainforests, there are plenty of scenic places to go cycling in the Caribbean.
Two-wheeling in the Caribbean is a rewarding way to sightsee the islands. Quiet roads, cool breezes and numerous tour options, from self-guided bike hire to organized trips, ensure cycling is easily arranged. Most destinations offer an array of bikes to suit every ability and age with itineraries that range from short family tours to gruelling slogs up towering mountain peaks high above the Caribbean Sea. Cool breezes and unbeatable views of rainforests, plantations and palm-fringed shores ensure plenty of diversions along the way.
In Barbados, travellers can choose from daily coastline and culture cycling, panoramic cross-country mountain biking, or upscale cycling packages designed specifically for holidaymakers. These come with a professional tour guide, airport meet-and-greet and hotel transfers and are organized to soak up the scenery of backcountry roads with bike rental available. Most cycle tour guides stick to the quieter east coast routes, where you’ll spot local wildlife grazing at the side of the road. For more information see: Barbados Cycling.
Cycling in St Lucia is typically along roughshod mountain biking trails that are graded to suit all cyclists, from beginner to seasoned pro. Delve into dense rainforest along mulch-sawdust cycle paths that weave up-and-down hills or trace the island’s shoreline on an anti-clockwise loop. A round-island trip offers natural challenges for experienced riders, basic trails for beginners, and single track intermediate level loops for advanced bikers with long but gradual uphills and steep, fast downhills. The Soufrière to Vieux Fort trail is less gruelling with plenty of time for a slow-paced pat of the pedals in order to admire the views. For more information see: www.bikestlucia.com
With its British colonial past, Jamaica has a long cycling history and plenty of bike rental and tour operators across the island. Several cycling guides offer trips out across a nice mix of gentle terrain, forested mountains, coastal routes and rolling green hills. Thrill seekers will enjoy the more challenging hairpin bends, blood-pumping ascents and hair-raising freewheeling downhill routes that characterize the Blue Mountain cycle trails. Check out Jamaica By Bike for cycling events for all the family, including rides through the scenic Bog Walk Gorge, traversing the historic Flat Bridge along the banks of the Rio Cobre to Bog Walk followed by a gradual climb over Mount Rosser to Ocho Rios. For more information see: www.jamaicacycling.com
Fantastic scenery is a constant companion on the cycle routes of Grenada, with miles of old mule trails and dirt tracks providing the perfect terrain for mountain bikers. Bike rentals, repairs (potholes can swallow you whole!) and spare parts are available across the island. For a genteel meander in the saddle, try the peaceful route between Sauteurs and Victoria, while the ride through the Grand Étang is a five/six hour cycling challenge up steep hills to a beautiful forest reserve. For more information see Grenada Cycling on Facebook.
Antigua is a great place to sightsee in the saddle, as the island is small, the hills are negotiable and generally not too steep, and the scenery is varied. Villages are better appreciated from a slow-moving bicycle than from a speeding car, and as you pass through friendly communities you will be greeted by waves and smiles. The island has some good bike shops, a local cycle club and more than a dozen cycling routes (five in the Falmouth area and nine across the rest of Antigua). Pack a cycle repair kit on these thorn-scattered roads, as they are as sharp as steel needles! Local guide Ira Fabian is a road bike racer, cycle trainer, Olympian (he represented Antigua in Seoul in 1988) and tourist guide with more than 30 years of cycling under his belt. With Ira, you’ll see Antigua from the best seat in the house, a bike saddle. For more information see: www.antiguacycling.com
Virgin Atlantic operates flights to the Caribbean from London Gatwick, making it easy to book your cycling trip to the Caribbean.
Have you been cycling in the Caribbean? Have you cycled any of these trails? Let us know in the comments section below.