Cuba map

If the winter weather deities are on my side, my Virgin Atlantic flight will take off from Gatwick at midday on Monday, and will deposit me at Havana José Marti airport at something after 17.00, a 10 hour flight that will allow me to gain 5 hours extra daylight that day. Somewhere in the hold my bike will be in an assortment of bits in a box, and the fact that we are both together on the flight will be unreal for reasons other than the weather……

You see, on Christmas Eve I felt one of those annoying winter infections beginning to take hold and, thinking I would be on the mend within a few days, it just got worse and worse, till I got to the point where this trip was very much held in the balance. Ten days later as I began to slowly emerge from the depths, a plan B gradually formed in my brain, the least taxing option being to just get myself on the flight and over to Cuba without the bike, and take it from there……either hiring a steed for the duration, or just on an ‘as-needs’ basis to do a few local rides.

Then a modification formed to that version of the plan, involving the use of my 25 year old Raleigh, the frame of which I had broken in New Zealand, and which had been repaired by a local boat welder in Queenstown. That was 6 years ago, and it had only ever been ridden sporadically since then for a bit of off-roading. Given that the Raleigh is now superfluous to my needs (my Dave Yates has now replaced it) my current plan is to ride it in Cuba and then give it away, saving me the hassle to boxing it up for the return flight, and providing someone with (perhaps) a much needed bike. Cubans, after all, are renowned for their ability to ‘mend and fettle’, and since bicycles are a bit of luxury for many Cubans, I expect it to find a new eager owner with relative ease.

The Raleigh Apex

Cuba, as many of you know, is a singular place. It is still suffering the austerity of a blockade by the Americans, and many everyday items are difficult to find, especially for resident Cubans. And with access to the internet being extremely limited, it is likely that posts on my blog will be sporadic and intermittent. A blessing you may say but, as ever, I promise to make my contributions to the world’s fountain of knowledge with pithy and ‘short-winded’ offerings.

Watch this space.


About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 5, 2018, in Cycling Cuba and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Cuba is suffering an American blockade?! Cuba should be a paradise. It suffers incompetent leadership. Have a nice trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking forward to hearing your account and to see who gets the bike 🙂

    Bob Bending

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All a bit of an adventure, Bob…..the ride and the routes will have their own evolution….the beauty of independent travel.


  4. Interestingly, I hope to be meeting up with an American cycling buddy. He seems to have flights OK….


  5. That’s because we don’t “blockade” Cuba… Cuba’s problems are all of their own making. We don’t trade with Cuba, because of that whole “you pointed nuclear weapons at us” thing, but the gov’t started allowing travel to Cuba a few years ago.


  6. Buena suerte, hijo :). I will be looking out for updates and hope it’s a wonderful and hassle-free trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That explains a few things then…including the 10% surcharge on dollar transactions and the invalidity of American cards….


  8. Thanks Niobe….it certainly hasn’t been a trouble-free start. The last time we were in Cuba was with 50 children and parents in tow…..remember those days?


  9. I am envious and its great that you will leave the bike there

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alberto Contreras

    Have only heard good things from friends who have visited. Buen viaje Frank,

    Alberto y Lucy


  11. Thanks Alberto. My only visit was 15 years ago, then it was leading a group of 50 pupils and parents……but we had a great time.


  12. Hope you have a wonderful trip in Cuba.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Are you cycling around Vinales in Western Cuba? That’s supposed to be really great for bikes. Hope you’re all right and that you hit a wifi hotspot once in a while.


  14. Yes, I did go to Los Vinales in the first couple of days…..great cycling country, and very beautiful.


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