Montserrat’s the spot for Caribbean cycling


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Week of November 2-9, 1995

Fear not the volcanoes of New Zealand
Diving’s not the only gig in the Caymans
Bicycle touring in northern Italy
Mountain biking in Georgia
Montserrat’s the spot for Caribbean cycling
Sea kayaking Baja’s Gulf of California

Montserrat’s the spot for Caribbean cycling
Q: I would like to take one to two weeks in February/March and do some mountain biking. I have thought of the Caribbean because I’m inclined to the warm weather, but there doesn’t seem to be a plethora of mountain biking there. Can you recommend a place, either in the Caribbean or United States where the temperatures will be in the 70s or 80s and
there are ample trails?
Jeremy Summers
Bellefonte, PA

A: Your best bet is to head down to mountain-bike-friendly Montserrat, 39 square miles of lush rainforests, waterfalls, and sawtooth mountains–and one of the Caribbean’s least-developed islands. Fat-tire devotees come for the tortuous terrain and the friendly competition: The annual Mountain Bike Challenge, a week-long festival sponsored by
Island Bikes, is being held this year from November 8-15. Whether or not you’re around for the festival, you’ll have no shortage of challenging trails to choose from. One of the most spectacular off-road routes is a day-long trip through the South Soufriere Hills. You’ll get your warm-up on the climb to the top of 1,700-foot Galway’s Soufriere but will have ample time to catch
your breath as you race downhill through head-high ferns and bamboo thickets. From there, you’ll cross elfin woodland, steep gullies, and banana fields before ending with a rollercoaster ride over the Centre Hills back into town. If all this grueling exercise makes you long for a real bed, book yourself a room at the Providence Estate House, a secluded bed-and-breakfast
plantation home; expect to pay anywhere from $77 to $92 per night for a double room (809-491-6476). For bike rentals, detailed trail maps, and route suggestions, head down to Island Bikes in Plymouth, Montserrat’s only real town ($25 per day, $140 a week; 809-675-1945). And, before you go, be sure to check out the Montserrat write-up in the “Leeward Islands” section of our winter Travel Guide, online and on newsstands now.

Here’s one final tip: participants in the Montserrat Mountain Bike Challenge get special rates from American Airlines. Call (800) 237-7981. Ask the representative to consult Starfile N, Display BIKES95, or for more information contact Susan Goldin at (809) 491-5552 or

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