Why book onto a group cycling holiday in Cuba?

November 14, 2019 | by James Corporal

The beginning of Springtime is usually a bit of a turning point in the year for most people. Despite our best intentions and most conscientious efforts, many of us have had a couple of mince pies too many, passed the chocolates around a few too many times, and the New Year’s Eve party? Weren’t there five bottles of Prosecco last night? What happened to all the bottles of red wine we were saving? Don’t even look at how much you spent on your card.

To cut a long story short, Christmas can be pretty indulgent. As a result of this, the cliche of starting afresh in January sweeps over a sheepish population like a raincloud on a bank-holiday weekend and we all subscribe to gyms and vow not to touch the stuff again…at least till February.

The best-laid plans of mice and men

So how long do your health-related New Year Resolutions last? Well, that depends on each person. However, by the time the Spring thaw starts in March and our small talk about the weather starts to actually mean something (“it’s brightening up a bit don’t you think?”, “warmest day of the year so far”, or the annually incomprehensible “Spring has sprung”), some of us have definitely fallen by the wayside. Brand new cross-trainers gather dust in the spare room, gym membership cards lie lost under a stack of magazines, and the snazzy bike you bought yourself has been relegated to the shed, melancholy and neglected. I think the lawnmower may see more action this Spring…

Choose the (cycle) path right for you

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. If any of the above feels familiar, let this Springtime be that definitive crossroads. Let the warmer weather spur you into getting your fitness regime back on track. It’s time to get back on the bike, metaphorically and literally.

Traditionally, March and April are peak times for British families to go on their Springtime jaunts either to the Lake District, the rolling hills of Tuscany, or the gentle flatlands of the Loire. Whether it’s a custom undertaken as a reward for making it through another Winter of leaden skies, drizzle, and train cancellations, or a panic-inspired plan of action to “get fit quick” before the Summer, as soon as Jack Frost packs up and leaves for another year, we hop onto our bikes and pedal Winter’s pounds away.

Fitting into spandex and fitting into groups

What puts a lot of people off getting into cycling, however, is the pressure of turning into what is becoming known as the “Sunday cycler”. These are the guys that have hit a certain age, decided to kit themselves out in what can only be described as fetish-wear, buy Olympic standard bikes that cost a year’s salary, and cycle two abreast down the single track lanes of the home counties (I know, I know, it’s legal – but so is Tax Avoidance, but it won’t win you any friends), all whilst talking about nutrition gels or Shimano clipless pedals. If you don’t fancy remortgaging your home to buy a new bike, or you’re unsure whether skin-tight spandex suits you this close past Christmas, you may be forgiven for hesitating. In all honesty, these groups can seem a bit cliquey.

Be more intrepid, do it the Cuban way!

But that’s where we come in. We offer a new alternative to wannabe cyclists who haven’t seen a saddle in years as well as keen cyclists who may have lost their way lately. Not only can we get your calf muscles toned to look like a Greek statue, but we offer the holiday of a lifetime at the same time!

Cuba is an amazing and fascinating place which boasts all the advantages of being a tropical island in the Caribbean (think long white sandy beaches, palm trees, turquoise seas), but provides countless levels of culture which go much beyond lying on a deck chair. There’s classical Spanish, French and Neoclasic style architecture, there’s history everywhere you turn, there are tiny, ancient communities which seem unchanged in 250 years, there are places described as “the most beautiful lands I ever set eyes upon” by our greatest explorers, there are vast ancient valleys to explore, there’s an identity that’s within every Cuban and that grips every tourist, there’s music which fills every nook and cranny of your body – and then there’s the odd Mojito which goes down quite nicely too. To be succinct, in Cuba, there’s genuinely something for everyone.

So, we thought it would be a great idea to provide holidaymakers with an experience to last a lifetime. Cuba by bike. Yes, you heard it here first – what better way to really get to know this cultural conveyor-belt than by cycling through it? Your feet just inches from Cuban soil as you pedal through every village, every jungle, up and down mountains, past cooling rivers.

But who provides the bikes in Cuba?

Organising a cycle tour of a foreign country isn’t easy. There are lots of factors to consider which can demotivate even the keenest cyclist halfway through drawing up dozens of lists containing all the necessary items. Should I bring my own bike or hire one abroad? If I take my own, how should I transport it? What equipment should I bring? Who should I contact abroad if I need a bike mechanic? Should I learn French for Vittoria Air-Liner Tubeless Insert? You get the picture.

That’s why booking a cycling tour of Cuba with Cubania Travel is the simple option. We really are the experts we have all the logistics taken care of. We’ll get you the bikes once you arrive, the British Cycling Trained guides, the mechanics who’ll assist you getting back on the road should you need it, as well as the support vehicles. All you have to do is focus on enjoying the ride and getting to know the other riders. After all, you’ll all have something in common; a love of cycling and a love of adventure!

It’s not ALL cycling though is it?

We know that although you may book a cycle tour of this fantastic island, you’ll still want some relaxation time as well as the miles under your belt. What’s more, Cuba’s just too darn interesting to whizz through the towns, villages, beaches and National Parks without stopping to explore. That’s why we’ve created the perfect itinerary where we mix miles with meals, cycling with sightseeing.

A typical day would be cycling in the morning, which includes water, snack (and comfort) breaks interspersed with short stops at villages of cultural and aesthetic interest or local communities we think you’ll love. We’ll lunch in the middle of the day, take some time to relax, then it’s back in the saddle for some more cycling to the day’s final destination. Arrival is usually in the afternoon, so when we get to the place that we’ll be laying our heads that evening, there’s still plenty of time to change out of your cycling gear, shower, and either have some downtime, or alternatively explore the area we’ve chosen to stay.

Then, as the sun goes down, “la vida nocturna” hots up and you’ll get the chance to go back to “relaxing holiday mode”. Do cocktails, a traditional Cuban dinner, followed by all the evening and night-time fun you wish for sound appealing? We thought they might. In whichever town, village or tiny settlement we stop, Cuba is always sure to provide a selection of live music bars and friendly terrazas.

Takes the brakes off and get pumped!

Cubania provides a wide range of holidays, depending on your preference. There are seven-day tours up to 15-day tours and depending on how much cycling you wish to do, you can choose between beginner level right up to advanced if you feel you’re a strong cyclist. Parts of the advanced tours follow the famous Vuelta de Cuba route, and there are tough climbs and long stretches! We also do a “shoestring” option which focuses less on glamour and more on getting to know the basics of this island’s colour, charisma and unique personality. We call it: do it the Cuban way!

If the lure of the Caribbean attracts you, you love the thought of an island that simultaneously takes life pretty slowly but then never really stops, you enjoy meeting new people, making new friends, and you like the feeling of whizzing along with the wind in your hair, Cubania Travel may just have the perfect holiday for you.

Remember, you don’t have to be Chris Hoy, it’s not necessary to have thighs like marble, and you don’t have to have a bike back home that weighs less than the small change in your pocket. All you need is a sense of adventure, a desire to experience the holiday of a lifetime, and an open mind to let Cuba in. Because once Cuba’s in your mind, Cuba’s in your heart!

Written by

James Corporal

James Corporal - Avid cyclist and cubaphile.

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