I can’t say this enough… I love to travel. Being a Midwesterner, traveling to warm tropical beaches is heaven. I also love to bike. When I heard recently there was a bicycle tour company that took you on a cruise to cycle at the different ports, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. On a recent week in February I set sail on the Norwegian Star with Bike & Cruise Tours. http://www.bikeandcruisetours.com Our group consisted of 25 men and women, some older, some younger, some more experienced than others. The one thing we had in common was a love of cycling.
Our first stop – Roatan Island, Honduras. When we were cleared to leave the ship, our bikes were lined up on the pier next to the ship as we all made seat adjustments, checked out our bikes, and prepared for our tour. We were introduced to our local guides and loaded our beach bags into the support vehicle. I had been to Roatan before, but my first thought as we pedaled away from the port through town was the different perspective I was getting from the seat of a bicycle. I was actually seeing the locals and how they lived and the beauty of the landscape that would be a blur from a seat on a tour bus. Our tour took us on a challenging ride on the hilly island roads to the West End where our lunch was served in a cabana on a beautiful white sand beach and the bluest water imaginable. After lunch and a swim, we changed back into our biking clothes, and hopped on our bikes for our return ride across the island to our ship.
Our next stop was in Belize. This was the only port without a bike tour so I took the opportunity to rest my legs from the hills of Roatan to scuba dive and explore the barrier reef.
Third stop – Costa Maya, Mexico. Costa Maya is a port that was created as a cruise destination. Since the last time I was there 10-12 years ago, a small town has emerged. The beginning of our ride took us near a new huge water park, shops and restaurants with rows of beach chairs and cabana. The sidewalks were lined with street vendors selling their wares and music making the festive atmosphere complete. As we rode out of town, we turned onto the local ‘highway’. It was soon clear why we were riding mountain bikes as we dodged large pot holes and vegetation across the road. Lunch was at a beachside resort with an assortment of some of the best tacos ever. I could have easily abandoned ship to stay in the peaceful paradise.
Last stop, Cozumel. After riding through downtown Cozumel from the port, I was surprised to find a nice paved bike trail heading out along the coast. Since this was our last day, we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss a thing and stopped to take pictures every chance we had. I was sad to head back to port that afternoon knowing our journey was soon ending.
By now you may have noticed the heading is 5 Places for Destination Cycling and so far I have only shared three from my amazing bike/cruise. Since I can’t always head out to exotic locales in the Caribbean, I will share two others of my latest destinations.
My favorite weekend destination near home is the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail State Park is the longest of the rails-to-trails project stretching 237 miles across Missouri. It is a flat, scenic crushed gravel trail traveling through small towns, farmland, scenic towering bluffs, and along the Missouri River. There are abundant bed & breakfast inns and campgrounds to extend your trip from a short weekend to a 5-6 day trip to ride the entire trail. http://WWW.BIKEKATYTRAIL.COM
Another rails-to-trail project trail I recently had the pleasure to ride is the Overseas Heritage Trail. This spans from Key Largo, to Key West, Florida alternating from dedicated bike trail to bike lanes along Highway 1. I will certainly plan to visit this trail again as they continue to complete this trail. https://www.floridastateparks.org/trail/Florida-Keys
Wherever your bicycle takes you, take time to stop and smell the roses and immerse yourself in the area culture.
Donna is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!