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  • Simon

    Great photos and narrative. I guess see it before the “development” happens although the locals surely need increased freedom, choice and better housing, roads etc. ( An 81″ gear and 23mm tyres on those roads, I’m impressed!)

    • sevenbythree

      Hey Simon,

      Thanks so much… really appreciated. It was common for tourists to comment (myself included) of not wanting the inevitable change but as you mentioned when talking to many of locals especially the younger ones they can’t wait for it. We might comment that they don’t need some of the negative influences (i.e. franchises) of opening up but we can only comment due to having them for so long and having an alternative.

      Cheers

  • Jake(Aus)

    Wow what an experience! Thanks for the write up and the photos, made my arvo:)

    • sevenbythree

      Stoked… Thanks!

  • andytuna

    Excellent article, we were in Cuba recently too, but only managed a couple of days on basic bikes rented locally. Those days were some of the best we spent there with less hassle out of the heavily touristed areas. The passing drivers always gave plenty of space and overtaking the horse and carts was a novelty at least!

  • pauldr

    Your new wife is definitely a keeper! Thanks for the great story.

  • starsky

    Amazing Trip Report. Very impressed by the simplicity of your planning, route and packing. But most of all how you gave the bike away to a local :D

  • David Bonnett

    Great story, awesome pictures and nice gesture to gift the bike to a young rider. I would love to know a bout more about some of the images, such as the 3 girls on the road bikes – I’d suspect they are not very common. It is sad that is has taken this long for the US to move past the embargo and allow the people of Cuba to live life as they want, not constricted by some cold-war ideologues… (and I am an American, so I bear some of the blame for not speaking out before).

    • sevenbythree

      Hey David,

      Thanks for the positive comments, really happy that you enjoyed it. Definitely glad that I stuck to my intent and gave the bike away, certainly appreciated. Something I can again do for the next trip… As for the photo of the 3 girls it was taken in the town of Cienfuegos. After arriving in town I had a quick change and rode the streets aiming for the baseball stadium in the hope I would see a game. It was here I bumped into these 3 girls and their coach, finishing up training for the day (as noted by the traffic cones). In between my poor Spanish and their slightly better English it was hoped for a shared ride the next day but unfortunately I was heading in the opposite direction. This was probably a good thing as I’m not sure I could’ve kept up. Seeing bikes like these i.e. road bikes was certainly extremely rare so they certainly stood out. It wasn’t until I was much closer to the capital that I noticed a couple of road riders although certainly not many. The girls told me that the bikes were imported and certainly not cheap, after seeing what was on offer in the way of bikes and parts over there someone bringing something in would be the only option. With a very poor internet service they don’t have the luxury of buying something online and then hoping it would clear customs.

      Hope that offers a little bit of insight. Happy to share other stories.

  • choppy

    love it. the write up and photos are amazing. I really need to get out of this rat race and do some living. Good on you for doing it.the best kind of tourism and leaving the bike to a local is just class.

  • Nelson Queralta Jr.

    Amazing article. I was born in Santiago de Cuba, my family migrated to the United States(Miami) when I was only a few years old and I’ve never been back. With the recent changes, I’m looking forward to returning and exploring my heritage. I cracked a laugh at the international symbol of crazy, and not surprised with the hospitality you received from the locals on your journey. Also, being a photographer, you took some great photos! Definitely more inspiration to go, even if just for the imagery. I’ve actually wondered what it would be like to explore the country by bike, and reading this it’s a big possibility and something I would greatly consider when I’m ready to go. Huge thanks to CyclingTips for publishing this, and again, amazing article Wade.

    • sevenbythree

      Thanks so much Nelson, really encouraging to read. Can wholeheartedly encourage a cycling trip through your birth country, perfect place with enough quiet roads for solitary bliss and smaller towns to get a great understanding of the areas. As for your town, Santiago de Cuba its a great place to explore, plenty to see and a worthy town center to sit back and take it all in. Cheers Wade

  • Jorge

    What a timeless experience. I enjoyed each and every one element of your narrative and immersed myself into your perspective, which although it may appear “simplistic”, it entails such a holistic and powerful view . As a born and raised Puerto Rican I genuinely identified myself with the cultural aspects and social realities you depicted, and at the same time felt encouraged to use my bike as a “pretence” to explore similar cultures in such a unique way. Great work!

    • sevenbythree

      Wow… Thanks so much Jorge, really encouraging to read and stoked that it might offer some inspiration to travel with a bike. Having now done this trip and Africa (north to south) I am definitely keen to head off on the next one, such a great way to really get a feel for a country(s). Again thanks so much.

      Cheers
      Wade

      • Jorge

        You’re most welcome, Wade! Keep up the great work and again thank you for sharing your perspective and also the underlying logistics with other readers. It’s certainly an inspiration and I’m looking much forward to my next adventure on two wheels. Such a blessing for you to have those experiences so far, and I wish you great success on the upcoming ones.

        Best regards.
        Jorge

  • Daniel

    I’m planning a Cuba ride early next year, did you book the flights through an agent or do it yourself. I can book flights to Mexico City, but from there to Havana is proving difficult, which airline did you use and how did you obtain the Visa?

    • Kathy

      Cubana

    • Kathy

      Cubana Airlines flies direct from Mexico City to Havana (Cubana.cu), you can buy a visa at the airport in Mexico City – right near the Cubana check in counter for about $20 USD or equivalent Mexican pesos

      • Daniel

        Thanks Kathy, I’ve been searching with Skyscanner and they’re bringing up a few airlines, but not Cubana, lots of airlines in that part of the world, throw a whopping charge on bikes, so it’s finding the best deal. Cubana seem to have a good weight allowance, but I’ve got to check out the fine print to see what they’re saying about sporting equipment.

    • sevenbythree

      Hey Daniel,

      Apologies for the belated reply. I flew with Copa Air from Panama City to Havana and booked the flights myself through their site. I wasn’t charged extra for my bike although it didn’t make my flight it got there on the next flight (at 2am!) So yes could recommend their services. Although looking at the website it seems they only fly out of Cancun for Mexico. Contact me through my site if you need any other assistance.

      Cheers
      Wade

  • Derek Maher

    Excellent story of your trip.Just hope the new US/Cuban relationship does not see a return of the Mafia to the Island plus the sharks who bought up US assets for cents on the dollar and are looking for a full refund with interest.The courts will be busy.

  • Mark H

    Wade, your single speed and minimalist approach was a joy to read. What was better was, different from others from other blog stories, you spoke and played with the people along the way.

    Is there any way that you can provide a map of your route?

    Did you find that there was any restrictions by the authorities as to going off of the standard main roads?

    Thanks
    Mark

  • Mark H

    Wade, your single speed and minimalist approach was a joy to read. What was better was, different from others from other blog stories, you spoke and played with the people along the way.

    Is there any way that you can provide a map of your route?

    Did you find that there was any restrictions by the authorities as to going off of the standard main roads?

    Thanks
    Mark

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