A good tour always starts with a good map. Fortunately for us, Randy loves maps so he’s naturally the one to take the lead on that. We started out with a nice big National Geographic Adventure Travel Map (water resistant too!) and Randy got to work researching and plotting.
Much decision making about our route came from reading tips and tales from various guidebooks and online blogs by those who have gone before us. While having a paper copy of a guidebook in-hand is nice, we realized afterward that we could have saved valuable space and weight by purchasing e-book formats instead.
Flying with Bicycles
There are logistical concerns. Packaging materials such as our cardboard boxes, packaging tape etc. need to be either stored somewhere near the airport for our return or strapped on our bikes and transported with us for the entire journey. We opted to fly into and out of the same airport, affording us the opportunity to find storage nearby. Our solution was to pre-book our first night accommodation at a Casa Oscar Holguín in Holguin where our host, Oscar, has arranged for taxi pickup at the airport upon our arrival. With no availability for our final night stay in Cuba, Oscar has also made arrangements for nearby storage of our bicycle boxes until our return voyage home.
Cardboard boxes are our friend. Randy scooted down to the local bike shop and brought home two cardboard bicycle boxes that they happily parted with for free. Every airline’s policies varies, but research tells us that WestJet seems to have the best policies where bicycles are concerned. ($30 per bike, per flight direction = $120 for two bicycles, return).
Preparing Bicycles for Cuba
Nothing will be left to chance. While we will be prepared for just about any type of repair on the road, prevention is our preferred modus operandi. Therefore, a set of new tires were in order for my bike— Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. There are reportedly a lot of possibilities for punctured holes in bicycle tires. Additionally, the terrain is expected to be somewhat….how shall we say? Rough! Randy also spent a lot of time cleaning every detail, affording the opportunity to identify any potential issues before they arise on the road. Finding bicycle parts in Cuba will be a challenge to say the least.