Ride the Roads less Traveled: Take a Bike Tour in Cuba
Experience Cuba’s Authentic Culture by Bike
If you ever have the chance to take a bicycle tour in Cuba, do it! You’ll experience a symphony of cultures while biking through Cuba—Spanish, African, Dutch, British, Russian, and many American influences—as you bike past tobacco farms, rural villages, colonial towns and historic sites—it’s this flow of cultures that you’ll likely remember years later. You’ll meet locals, farmers, artisans, dancers, mechanics who can fix a 1948 Chevrolet, and domino players!
As an American, I had been indoctrinated from an early age that Cuba was a dangerous place to visit and off-limits to tourists even though it’s only 90 miles from America’s shoreline. I woke up one day and just decided to go to Cuba. Once there, it took me about 45 minutes to fall in love with the kind and generous people, the culture, the history, and the richness of the island.
After embarking on a 500-mile exploratory bike ride, I decided to offer bike tours there to showcase Cuba’s natural beauty. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the meaning of a country best.’ People were incredibly receptive, and I realised that, like so many Americans, I had a misleading view of Cuba. I knew I needed to bring people, especially Americans, to experience Cuba which is an essential historical puzzle piece for all of the Americas.
Bicycles allow us to make a connection a car or a bus never will. When you roll into a town on a bike, locals receive and respect you in a completely different way. Also, there are places we bike to that vehicles simply can’t go which is another pleasure of cycling in the culture. The lack of reliable access to the internet might make some people crazy, but it also provides a chance to just be off the grid and in the moment. The pace of the ride allows for time to stop and interact with local folks or enjoy the scenery as you bike quietly along.
I decided to develop multi-day group tours that highlight the eastern end of the island—referred to as “El Oriente”—which is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It was here that I first became enchanted with Cuba and the incredibly generous and lovely people I met.
Cuba is now renowned to have the most well-preserved coral reefs in the Caribbean and the best scuba diving because of it. The robust environmental efforts of Cuba began in 1959 when Fidel Castro announced Cuba would be a “green” country and instituted many policies…
Herschel Goldberg and Jules Marie
Herschel Goldberg is the owner of Boulder Bike Tours and Cuba Bicycle Tours and spends his time between Boulder, CO and Cuba. Goldberg is a founding board member of the Colorado High School Cycling League, is a member of the Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol and volunteers with the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance.