I would like to extend a high-five to the peeps over at PROBAR® for their support of my recent self-supported bicycling trip with my girlfriend around the affable island nation of Cuba. Heat, ridiculously steep ascents and, at times, few palatable food options meant that the 50 some bars we stuffed in our panniers came in very handy.
Our 54-day, 2000 plus mile trip started in the magnificent city of Havana and moved south to Trinidad. A quaint World Heritage town adorned with cobblestone streets – not particularly great for a cyclist, but charming none the less.
From Trinidad we hopped on a bus (yep, it’s cheating) and headed east to Holguin to begin our cycling adventure around an area of Cuba known as The Oriente. This was a spectacular two weeks of cycling that included coastal roads that left us agape, a New Year’s Eve pig roast with a large local family in La Mula, the infamous La Farola climb into the charming seaside town of Baracoa, exceptionally friendly locales, sunburn at the white sand beach of Playa Magauna and plenty of PROBARs filling our tummies.
After 5-days and 400-miles of flat riding through Cuba’s central plains we made our way east of Havana into the Pinar Del Rio province. Saturated with verdant landscape, small villages, lots of ups and downs and magotes – huge rock formations that rise abruptly from the ground – the eastern reaches of Cuba is very much a cyclists’ paradise. But best of all, and the case is most of the country, the roads are virtually car-free with horse carts outnumbering 4-wheeled machines several fold. We became somewhat experts of dodging horse droppings on the road.
As Canadian citizen’s, we were free to pedal around. I can only hope that the new man in power has the guts to ease up on the embargo and travel restrictions so Americans can experience this great Caribbean nation on two wheels.
Text and photos by Matt Kadey, Canadian and author of the Well Fed Man blog.
Matthew Kadey is a Canadian-based dietitian, freelance journalist and cyclist who suffers from chronic wanderlust. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Women’s Running, Fitness and Eating Well. www.mattkadey.ca