Monday, September 25, 2017

Cycling in the Islands Ride Review | St. Kitts and Nevis

Vacation is no excuse to skip your bike ride, or at least it shouldn't be. I love vacation and traveling, but I love cycling more, so when I'm out of town I make cycling fit into the agenda. 

But what if you're traveling to the Nevis, West Indies, staying at the Four Seasons Nevis where the island is only 36 sq mi? Will it offer challenging terrain and quality bike routes? And more importantly, will you know your way around? 

My initial research for cycling on the island found Nevis Adventure Tours & Green Edge Bike Shop, owned by local legend Reggie Douglas. Reggie's reputation as a top tier cyclist in the islands precedes him with accomplishments such as 5x National Triathlon Champion, 2x St. Kitts & Nevis Sportsman of the Year, and I also learned that Reggie completed the 2013 edition of Dirty Kanza 200, a 200 mile gravel race in Emporia, KS that I had just completed in 2017, so I knew I would be in good company with Reggie. (Read my 2017 race report!)

With the assistance of Four Seasons Nevis I reserved a bike and scheduled a tour with Reggie. There are a handful of Strava routes on the island but unless you've been to the island before or will be staying for an extended period with time to explore I suggest a guided tour. This will help you find the best routes and hidden gems on the island. Some tours may include other travelers but I was lucky to have Reggie all to myself, which I think he saw as a chance to remind me that he owns the roads on Nevis, and I'm just there to be punished.

Nevis' landscape is gorgeous with Nevis Peak reaching more than 3200ft and descending all the way to the beaches. Though there are no roads or mountain bike trails for riding to the peak there is no shortage of steep climbs to conquer. Life in Florida gives my Strava ride files the profile of a dinner plate so its nice to gain some elevation from time to time.

Reggie took me on a warmup through town, along grass trails overlooking cliffs above crystal clear water, down dirt and gravel roads on the southern coast, then up, up, and more up towards Nevis Peak, with one climb so steep I nearly had to dismount. I had an unfortunate flat tire which Reggie refused to let me change for myself. We wrapped up with a ride along the beach and back to the resort.

Here is a quick video of my ride with Reggie. If you're visiting Nevis don't let its quiet beaches lull you into laziness. Ride first, drink later. Give Reggie a call! A great way to connect with Reggie in advance is via his facebook page.

- David West

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