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

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The Countryman Press, Nov 1, 2002 - Travel - 344 pages
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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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Bicycling Cuba: Fifty Days of Detailed Rides from Havana to Pinar Del Rio and the Oriente

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Tired of the same old vacation? Eager to forgo guided motor coaches, all-inclusive resorts, and RVing? If bicycling through Cuba is the first thing you think of as an alternative to Europe in ... Read full review

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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
Getting Started What to Bring Where to Stay Money Matters Food Drink
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
The easy way to leave Havana for those who prefer to minimize urban cycling
97
PINAR DEL RÌO
98
A loop with more hilly challenges a historic site and a rugged national park
108
Part of the Central Cuba Tourturned into a pleasant twoday loop ride
165
From Santa Clara to Trinidad for people who enjoy the challenge of mountains
178
Loop that includes a lookout and the best beach on Cubas south coast
189
THE ORIENTE
200
A short ride that is essential to anyone interested in the Cuban Revolution
207
Outing to El Cobre the beautiful shrine of Cubas patron saint
214
Not one but two miradores lookouts with grand views both in Holguín City
245
Great beaches rough roads difficult hills on a ride to Baracoa and back
252

A grand cavern island beach and laidback fishing port all on one loop
116
Long loop through unspoiled valleys leading to one of Cubas best diving sites
124
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
Multiday loop to some of Cubas most interesting historic cities and towns
151
CONNECTING THE REGIONS OF CUBA
288
For cyclists who aim to ride from Holguín or Bayamo to Sancti Spiritus
289
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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