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caribbean bicycling opportunities?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 14th 08, 11:32 AM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
phil
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Posts: 8
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

Looking to spend 5-7 days on either Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Guadeloupe,
Aruba or Antigua. Would like to spend part of that time cycling,
either around the island or from a home base. I don't hear much about
cycling in this part of the world. Any suggestions/experiences? Open
to other islands, but not to a "all-downhill" or super touristy
experience. Prefer road to mountain biking. Would also appreciate any
ideas on bike rentals.
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  #2  
Old January 14th 08, 01:15 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
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Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

I've always been disappointed when asking this same question, as I never get
any enthusiastic responses about the islands I occasionally visit (ie Aruba,
St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico) on business or pleasure.
When you get to these places and get on a bike, you'll understand why.

Not to burst your bubble, but cycling on many of these islands is not what
you'd expect. Mostly, when you get outside the small tourist areas, things
can get very "dark" very fast. I've never felt safe biking on any island,
with the possible exception of Aruba. Plus, unless you avoid the main
roads, you're often dealing with drunken tourist drivers - and in some
cases, drunken tourist drivers who are driving on the opposite side of the
road for the first time. I've had some very near misses on some of these
islands.

Lastly, the whole idea of "cycling along the beach as the sun goes down"
seems non-existent to me. Someone else may have had another experience, but
I've never seen those quiet stretches of roads or bike paths that pass right
by the ocean, as seen on TV and in travel guides. It seems all those areas
are eaten up by resorts.

I can't speak for Jamaica, Guadeloupe, or Antigua (roughly half the places
you mentioned), but I wouldn't build a bike trip around any of the other
islands above. They're all great places to visit, though. And once you get
to them, the pace is so laid back that you'll probably forget all about
wanting to bicycle anyway!


  #3  
Old January 16th 08, 04:05 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
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Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

But hey, let's not discourage Phil so easily! I'm just one person with one
opinion. And I've certainly gotten things totally wrong before!!!

"Papa Tom" wrote in message
...
I've always been disappointed when asking this same question, as I never
get any enthusiastic responses about the islands I occasionally visit (ie
Aruba, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico) on business or
pleasure. When you get to these places and get on a bike, you'll
understand why.

Not to burst your bubble, but cycling on many of these islands is not what
you'd expect. Mostly, when you get outside the small tourist areas,
things can get very "dark" very fast. I've never felt safe biking on any
island, with the possible exception of Aruba. Plus, unless you avoid the
main roads, you're often dealing with drunken tourist drivers - and in
some cases, drunken tourist drivers who are driving on the opposite side
of the road for the first time. I've had some very near misses on some of
these islands.

Lastly, the whole idea of "cycling along the beach as the sun goes down"
seems non-existent to me. Someone else may have had another experience,
but I've never seen those quiet stretches of roads or bike paths that pass
right by the ocean, as seen on TV and in travel guides. It seems all
those areas are eaten up by resorts.

I can't speak for Jamaica, Guadeloupe, or Antigua (roughly half the places
you mentioned), but I wouldn't build a bike trip around any of the other
islands above. They're all great places to visit, though. And once you
get to them, the pace is so laid back that you'll probably forget all
about wanting to bicycle anyway!




  #4  
Old January 17th 08, 02:43 AM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
phil
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Posts: 8
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

On Jan 14, 8:15 am, "Papa Tom" wrote:
I've always been disappointed when asking this same question, as I never get
any enthusiastic responses about the islands I occasionally visit (ie Aruba,
St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico) on business or pleasure.
When you get to these places and get on a bike, you'll understand why.

Not to burst your bubble, but cycling on many of these islands is not what
you'd expect. Mostly, when you get outside the small tourist areas, things
can get very "dark" very fast. I've never felt safe biking on any island,
with the possible exception of Aruba. Plus, unless you avoid the main
roads, you're often dealing with drunken tourist drivers - and in some
cases, drunken tourist drivers who are driving on the opposite side of the
road for the first time. I've had some very near misses on some of these
islands.

Lastly, the whole idea of "cycling along the beach as the sun goes down"
seems non-existent to me. Someone else may have had another experience, but
I've never seen those quiet stretches of roads or bike paths that pass right
by the ocean, as seen on TV and in travel guides. It seems all those areas
are eaten up by resorts.

I can't speak for Jamaica, Guadeloupe, or Antigua (roughly half the places
you mentioned), but I wouldn't build a bike trip around any of the other
islands above. They're all great places to visit, though. And once you get
to them, the pace is so laid back that you'll probably forget all about
wanting to bicycle anyway!


Thanks for your thoughtful response. About eight years ago I worked In
a customer service position where I helped a number of Jamaican folks,
to whom I posed the question about biking in Jamaica. I got quite a
range of responses. Many cautioned about going outside of the main
areas and perimeter, but some felt that a reasonably cautious, open,
resourceful person could do well in most areas. I have a circle tour
around the perimeter of Jamaica and Puerto Rico in mind for the
future. Just looking to convince my wife, who likes biking but wants
no part of the Caribbean, about some shorter cyling opportunities
during a short stay there.
  #5  
Old January 17th 08, 01:46 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
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Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

but some felt that a reasonably cautious, open,resourceful person could
do well in most areas.


That's a valid point. When I find myself in "questionable" areas and I'm by
myself, it's a bit easier to make a decision as to whether to get off the
bike or not. If I'm with my wife, who thinks EVERYBODY is her friend, it's
a little hard to convince her that the guys drinking beer by the dumpsters
might actually be looking to beat the crap out of any American dude that
day.

If you're wife is not a big Caribbean fan, take her to Aruba to soften her
up. It's probably the safest of all the islands - regardless of that
incident with the kidnapped kid. Avoid the downtown area where the ships
come in, though. That's the only real sleezy part of the island, in my
opinion. They've just built a new downtown right outside the hotels and, so
far, it's much nicer.

For riding, there's always a great cool breeze blowing in Aruba. I'm just
not sure where to tell you to ride.

My second suggestion is Grand Cayman, which is where all the world's
wealthiest people have their money hidden. For that reason, it's mostly
pretty upscale, although it has its share of slums, too. I rode through a
town called HELL, which has tons of souvenirs imprinted with the theme "I've
been to Hell, etc." Just be careful. They drive on the left side of the
rode in GC.

St. Thomas and St. Maarten are very scary places for me, but this may be
because my business on those islands always involves investigating crimes.
For this reason, I see lots of bad areas and I deal with all kinds of
corrupt government officials. There's a lot of animosity toward Americans
on these islands, at least once you go outside the tourist areas. St.
Maarten can also be a little hilly. The traffic on St. Thomas is brutal.

'Nuff said. You can make anything work, if you want it to. Best of luck
planning your trip!


  #6  
Old January 17th 08, 05:14 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Kristian M Zoerhoff
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Posts: 472
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

On 2008-01-17, Papa Tom wrote:

My second suggestion is Grand Cayman, which is where all the world's
wealthiest people have their money hidden. For that reason, it's mostly
pretty upscale, although it has its share of slums, too.


GC has very low crime, but it's pretty boring to ride, as there's just one
main highway east of George Town. I did see a ton of bikers, however, so
others must not share my opinion.

The bigger issue is that there's not much to do there, aside from diving and
laundering money.

St. Thomas and St. Maarten are very scary places for me, but this may be
because my business on those islands always involves investigating crimes.
For this reason, I see lots of bad areas and I deal with all kinds of
corrupt government officials. There's a lot of animosity toward Americans
on these islands, at least once you go outside the tourist areas.


That'd be odd for St. Thomas, as it's American soil!

There did seem to be some resentment toward the mainland, mostly due to
unfixed hurricane damage, when I was last there (which was a full decade
ago). But I never felt threatened, except by...

The traffic on St. Thomas is brutal.


Amen. I'd drive on GC again before I'd tackle the roads of St. Thomas.

--

Kristian Zoerhoff

  #7  
Old January 17th 08, 05:25 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
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Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

That'd be odd for St. Thomas, as it's American soil!

I KNEW somebody would say that. But you know what I mean. Like all the
native cultures around the world that were promised all sorts of riches and
ended up being slaves when "the white man" took over their territory, many
of the people on these islands do not like tourists who look like us.

"Kristian M Zoerhoff" wrote in message
. net...
On 2008-01-17, Papa Tom wrote:

My second suggestion is Grand Cayman, which is where all the world's
wealthiest people have their money hidden. For that reason, it's mostly
pretty upscale, although it has its share of slums, too.


GC has very low crime, but it's pretty boring to ride, as there's just one
main highway east of George Town. I did see a ton of bikers, however, so
others must not share my opinion.

The bigger issue is that there's not much to do there, aside from diving
and
laundering money.

St. Thomas and St. Maarten are very scary places for me, but this may be
because my business on those islands always involves investigating
crimes.
For this reason, I see lots of bad areas and I deal with all kinds of
corrupt government officials. There's a lot of animosity toward
Americans
on these islands, at least once you go outside the tourist areas.


That'd be odd for St. Thomas, as it's American soil!

There did seem to be some resentment toward the mainland, mostly due to
unfixed hurricane damage, when I was last there (which was a full decade
ago). But I never felt threatened, except by...

The traffic on St. Thomas is brutal.


Amen. I'd drive on GC again before I'd tackle the roads of St. Thomas.

--

Kristian Zoerhoff



  #8  
Old January 17th 08, 05:26 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

GC has very low crime, but it's pretty boring to ride

Also, as I originally stated, I think ALL the islands are boring (and hot)
to ride. You wouldn't get that from the tourist brochures and websites,
though.


  #9  
Old January 25th 08, 10:46 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Naaman G. Landers
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Posts: 2
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?


"phil" wrote in message
...
Looking to spend 5-7 days on either Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Guadeloupe,
Aruba or Antigua. Would like to spend part of that time cycling,
either around the island or from a home base. I don't hear much about
cycling in this part of the world. Any suggestions/experiences? Open
to other islands, but not to a "all-downhill" or super touristy
experience. Prefer road to mountain biking. Would also appreciate any
ideas on bike rentals.


I had some success riding in Puerto Rico about 5 years ago. There are
several paths and routes in and near San Juan. I found a bike shop in SJ and
they had info on the paths. I also spent a week in Cabo Rojo on the South
West tip of PR. I found a neat trail in the National forest in that area.
Again I rented a bike from a nearby bike shop. A Google search on PR biking,
bike shops, etc should get you started.


  #10  
Old January 26th 08, 01:14 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
Papa Tom
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Posts: 369
Default caribbean bicycling opportunities?

I had some success riding in Puerto Rico about 5 years ago.

I'd be curious about that. All I've seen of San Juan is lots of traffic.
The last time I was there on business - about a year and a half ago - a lot
of coastal buildings, including many businesses, had been flooded by a
hurricane and were vacant. That particular stretch of road was a little
quieter than the rest, but I still didn't see any areas that looked great
for cycling.

I should note, too, that I'm not a cement pounder. When I ride on a
vacation, I like to use a mountain bike or a cruiser and do about 10-12mph.
Perhaps it would help to know what intensity of riding Phil is looking for.


 




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