Riding bikes on Cuba


by Merle

Thirty-six bikes, two motorcycles, one bus, thirty-four KUSis, two teachers, two policemen, one bus driver, one travel guide – that’s how we travelled through Cuba. We drove from Maria la Gorda, the most western point of Cuba, to El Sábano, Pinar del Rio and finally Viñales, all in all 170 km. We saw different landscapes, villages and all of us got a good first impression of what Cuba is like and a good side effect, riding bikes was much fun for most of us as well.

The first day: 60 km Maria la Gorda – El Sábano

In the beginning of our tour we were very slow and needed much time because every five minutes a bike decided not to work that smooth. Some people were a bit annoyed but from time to time it got better. For lunch we ate Peso-Pizza, a very cheap but delicious pizza in Cuba. After the break some people were ill so they continued the journey by bus. We finished all together and arrived in the hostel as a group. Although we were tired and everybody was thrilled to be able to go to bed, we were still exited for the cycling tour tomorrow.

The second day: 80 km El Sábano – Pinar del Rio

In the morning it was rainy and the government of Cuba decided that we weren’t allowed to cycle. Sitting in the bus, I noticed how much you see while riding the bike. So we drove by bus to the point where we ate lunch. Sitting in the bus, I noticed how much you see while riding the bike. After lunch we cycled to Pinar del Rio in rows of two and every twenty minutes we changed places in order to have a diversity of conversations.

The third day: 30 km Pinar del Rio – Viñales

Today the route was harder than the last days. Is was the day with the mountain and some hills. It was a very beautiful tour in a pretty landscape. I would say it was the best day. The distance to the mountains top was 3 km long, and everybody of us managed it in about thirty minutes. But going down again felt like an eternity. We flew further and further, all the way back down, and were happy about what we had accomplished and about the sight of the valley of Viñales. For lunch we arrived at our hostel. The big bike tour was over.

In Viñales itself we were able to use our bikes for small tours into the city center, through the beautiful valley and to some breathtaking caves. It was very relaxed as we were only in small groups and not accompanied by the police or our guide.

The only tour that we had left was from Viñales back to Pinar del Rio. In Pinar del Rio itself we also used the bikes for riding to the Federico Engels school every day. At the end of our stay we donated our bikes to the Federico Engels school. It was a good feeling because we knew that the students and the staff were very happy about the bikes and that they will use them with memories of our time together.