Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cycling in Kingston at 4:00am

A 4:00 am bike ride averaging 22 mph? Every Tuesday and Thursday? You must be mad!

That was first reaction when others told me that the best ride in Kingston was the 40 mile ride from Liguanea to Harbour View, back to the bottom of South Camp, then past Harbour View, down to Port Royal, and then back into Liguanea.

It seemed insane to my mind, as it violated one of my basic rules, which was to never ride in the dark. When other cyclists invited me to come out I always thought to myself -- no freaking way.

Now, several months and one dislocated collar-bone later I decided to give the ride a try. The decision was made after riding one morning with my father along Windward Road at about 6am. It was still dark, and there were trucks on the road flying by at what must have been 70mph and more only 2 feet or so away. The potholes remaining from 2005's hurricanes lent added to the obstacle course. It was quite disconcerting, to say the least.

Across the dual carriage-way, I noticed the 4:00 am group. There were maybe 20 cyclists riding slowly at the end of their ride, supported by a car and a pickup truck behind them lighting their way. They looked perfectly safe, and relaxed while talking to each other.

I started to consider that maybe I was the insane one.

So, I took a big swallow and decided to take the plunge.

After a sleepless night, I got up at 3:30am, and was the first person to arrive at the meeting spot -- which was by itself a little worrying. Was I in the wrong place, on the wrong day at the wrong time?

Thankfully, no. The other guys turned up and the ride was nothing short of spectacular -- the best ride I've been in since being back in Jamaica.

Fortunately, I could keep up without too much trouble (it wasn't as hard as the hardest rides I've been on in Florida,) and the experienced cyclists and support vehicles made it enjoyable and safe enough to not have to worry about being hit every time I heard a rumble. We got back in just as it was getting light at 6:15 am.

Next to the Kingston to Negril ride I took in 2004, it was the hardest ride I've been on in Jamaica.

Last weekend I did a first -- a bonafide, off-road Mountain Bike (MTB) ride from Bowden in St. Thomas out to the Morant Point lighthouse and back. I am no MTB'er, and this was the first ride I have ever taken on a real dirt road for more than a few minutes.

It was very different than riding a road-bike, and even different from riding an MTB on the road, requiring different skills and muscles than I've used before. We took the sweetest of breaks at Rocky Point fisherman's beach, and had lunches of steamed snapper or fried chicken, with rice and peas. All that was washed down with a cold Red Stripe.

Now this is why I returned to Jamaica.

(News of a 26 inch record snowfall in New York made it feel that much sweeter.)

4 Comments:

At 2/15/2006 10:19 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Sounds like real fun. Wish I was the and I'm MTB'er myself so that ride would have been great, but I am in NY and spent a few hours on Sunday shoveling snow!

 
At 2/16/2006 5:55 AM, Blogger fwade said...

Nick,

Year-round biking is definitely a benefit of Moving Back to Jamaica. Plus, the terrain around Kingston is amazing in terms of its diversity and proximity.

It's one of the best ways to see our country.

 
At 2/17/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger Yamfoot said...

sounds like exciting rides and a good way to see Jamaica.

 
At 1/19/2010 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absolutely gorgeous. I would love to see bike lanes in Jamaica. In fact I would lobby the government to build bike lanes in Jamaica. The Island is beautiful and always sunny and nice for getting out biking with your music; free exercising, losing weight and keeping healthy. After living in Holland and Minneapolis in the United States and see how biking is just a way of life and a part of the culture I would love to see it in Jamaica. I am here in Minneapolis and do not own a car. I bike all seasons round winter/snowing and the beautiful spring and summer days. Even tonight in the snow I jumped on my bike and bike to the bank and shop. Now I am planning to move back to Jamaica, my home land and would LOVE to keep biking and would love to see bike lanes in Jamaica. So thank this person who created this blog and began to set the trend and I hope his biking experience is going good so far.

 

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