Bicycling Cuba: 50 Days of Detailed Rides from Havana to El Oriente

Front Cover
The Countryman Press, Nov 1, 2002 - Travel - 344 pages

Discover all Cuba has to offer in this complete cycling guide.

Wally and Barbara Smith spent 6 months cycling 8,000 miles in Cuba to provide detailed directions for 50 days of cycling. The rides vary in length, many combining to create multi-day loops. Detailed directions describe rides leaving Havana to the west and east. Subsequent rides are clustered in the three best regions of Cuba for cycling: Pinar del Rio, Central Cuba, and the Oriente. A final section contains advice on connecting the regions for a long tour of the entire island. In addition, the authors provide information on getting to Cuba, equipment and accessories, food and water, safety considerations, overnight accommodations, and more.

Exploring this fascinating country on two wheels may just be the best way to fully appreciate its history, people, and culture.
 

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I highly recommend this book for tour planning in Cuba with several caveats:
Many, many things have changed in Cuba since this book was written. Stores, restaurants, and casa particulares that
they recommend are not necessarily still in existence. Roads are in radically different shape than they were when Wally and Barbara were there touring.
For example, in the route from San Diego de los Baños to La Cueva de los Portales no longer has a hotel in the trees. As a matter of fact, there is nothing there aside form a military camp, a deeply rutted road that is washed out 60% of the way, and full of hills. It should only be considered a moderately challenging ride because you are doing it at the beginning of the day.
There are numerous descriptions of "rolling hills" that are considerably more challenging than presented in the book. It's always smart to keep in mind that you may be carrying 2x as much stuff in your panniers as the authors were, thereby making the riding much more challenging.
Having said all that, I still recommend this book highly. Just take the quality-based judgements with a grain of salt and consideration of your personal context and keep in mind that the quantity-based information, aside from distances, will likely be different (costs, numbers of casa particulares available in town, numbers of hills, etc).
 

Contents

LIST OF MAPS
10
Havana
56
Ride to ecotourism centers in a UNESCO biosphere reserve in Pinar del Río
60
A route to one of Pinar del Rios most scenic areas via the north coast
75
A chance to visit popular beaches and a lush inland valley east of Havana
88
Pinar Del Rí0
98
A loop with more hilly challenges a historic site and a rugged national park
108
Long loop through unspoiled valleys leading to one of Cubas best diving sites
124
Part of the Central Cuba Tour turned into a pleasant twoday loop ride
165
From Santa Clara to Trinidad for people who enjoy the challenge of mountains
178
A long day ride to the infamous Bay of Pigs now a modest beach resort
194
THE ORIENTE
200
A short ride that is essential to anyone interested in the Cuban Revolution
207
Not one but two miradores lookouts with grand views both in Holguín City
245
CONNECTING THE REGIONS OF CUBA
288
For cyclists who aim to ride from Holguín or Bayamo to Sancti Spiritus
289

Outandback ride with a good seafood restaurant and an overnight option
138
CENTRAL CUBA
142
Botanical garden beaches and a great overnight option all from Cienfuegos
145
Paul Woodward C 2002 The Countryman Press
152
APPENDIX
296
Spanish for Cyclists Reading List Internet Resources Organized Cycling
313
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Wally Smith, a former newspaper and radio reporter, has been a bicycle tour leader for Bike Vermont for more than 12 years.

Barbara Smith has cycled in the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, New England, and the Skyline Drive in Virginia and the Carolinas. She occasionally joins her husband Wally in leading Bike Vermont tours. The Smiths live in South Strafford, Vermont.

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