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Old 03-21-06, 06:34 AM   #1
Boudicca
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Biking Cuba

First of all, please don't turn this one into a flame war about supporting Castro. I spent a week on a bike in rural Cuba. I hope the gifts I left and the money I spent will trickle down to some of the people, but want this to be about the biking and not the politics. I'm not American, I broke no laws by going there. I had a lot of fun.

Bottom line, it's a beautiful country, with amazingly friendly people, and beautifully empty roads, even if many of the vehicles there are belch out foul smelling black smoke as they thunder past (leaving a very comfortable distance between car/truck and bike). Road surface varied from good to atrocious, rail lines are obstacle courses and I'm glad I had a borrowed bike rather than shaking one of mine apart. The coastal area is flat, but our tour included one killer hill, one of those nasty deceptive ones that turn a corner and steepen just as you think they are coming to an end.

And bikes are a wonderful mode of transport, used by everyone to carry 1, 2 or even three people, or to carry farm equipment, harvests, vegetables, you name it. The locals ride beat up no-speed bikes, with no visible brakes and a lot of rust and battered patches. I saw pedals and child seats made of wood, and a bike seat of something that looked like zinc. Workers ride to the the spot where they are cutting the grass on the side of the road, and leave the bikes on the verge as they do their jobs.

I'll post pictures if anyone is interested, and once I have a bit more time. Anyone else out there been to that part of the world?
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Old 03-21-06, 06:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudicca
I'll post pictures if anyone is interested, and once I have a bit more time. Anyone else
out there been to that part of the world?
Yes, quite a while ago. More than ten years ago. I had an incredible time. I wish I still had the pictures from my trip, but I don't (my traveling companion was my girlfriend at the time, and she ended up with all the pictures.

You're right about how friendly the people are. I felt welcome and safe everywhere, save for a few tense moments in Havana. The country is beautiful.
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Old 03-21-06, 06:01 PM   #3
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I went there about 10 years ago with a group from my university. Agreed that Cuba is amazing. I'd love to return and do a bike tour. I think the trip from Havana to Marianao to Pinar del Rio would be phenomenal. Where did you go?

I'd also add, that I've been all over Central America and the Caribbean and enjoyed Cuba more than any other place. Also felt the safest in Cuba, although I understand that robbery is on the rise in Havana. Can't wait to get back there. Post some pics and temp me.
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Old 03-22-06, 05:39 PM   #4
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I have a friend who is studying music at the conservatorio in Havana, and it sounds like a great place to visit. I also know several Americans who have traveled there from Mexico and Costa Rica with no problems. Please post some pictures when you get the chance.
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Old 03-22-06, 11:42 PM   #5
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Here goes. If I can work out how to make this one work. Note the metal bike seat, which lends new meaning to the idea of a firm ride.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cuban bike_1_1.jpg (81.9 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg cuban car2_1_1.jpg (95.6 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg bike seat_1_1.jpg (69.2 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0101_1_1.JPG (72.7 KB, 31 views)
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Old 03-23-06, 07:29 AM   #6
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Looks like I'd love Cuba! I already know I love the food!
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Old 03-23-06, 02:40 PM   #7
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Fraid the food was the low point -- greasy chicken and boiled white rice. No flavorings, no spices, no variety.

But the mojitos were good.
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Old 03-29-06, 06:59 PM   #8
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Hi , I will be cycling from havana to holguin next winter, just trying to see if any body has done it , I have being to cuba lots of times, and I don't want to do the one week or two weeks thing, I want it to be diffrent this time, I would like your advise , info.........etc. I live in Toronto , and if anyone wants to join me U R welcome......thanks.
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