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The Bliss of Biking in Havana

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What could be better than pedaling through ancient cobblestone streets, breezing along the Malecon and exploring Cuba’s most exciting city on two wheels? Biking in Havana is an adventure, and to ensure it is a grand adventure we’ve gathered a few tips for want-to-be Habana cyclists. We will give you the lowdown on where to rent the right bike, the best places to cycle in the city, and information about new magical, mystery bicycle tour in Havana.

Renting Bicycles in Havana

If you think using a freebie hotel bike may be good enough in Cuba, think again. Hotel bikes are usually not well maintained and the last thing you want is to be miles from your hotel with a disabled bike. The best bet when thinking of heading out for a bicycle ride in city is to use a reputable Havana bike rental shop. They will supply well maintained (for Cuba) bicycles, helmets (recommended), locks and most will also provide maps of suggested city routes for easy biking.

Ruta, Bike Rentals and Tours Havana, and Havana Bikes all do a great job of supplying a good solid bike for touring around the city, and Profil Bikes will deliver and pick-up a bike to your hotel. Most of these companies also provide full and half day guided bike tours of Havana. Check the websites below to discover more about Havana bike rental services and tours provided by each company.

  • Ruta Bikes 152, 16th Street, on the corner of 13th Street Vedado
  • Bike Rentals and Tours Havana Carlos III #1115 between Luaces and Montoro, Plaza, Havana
  • Havana Bike 61 Consulado St., Apt. 2 between Genios and Refugio St. Centro Habana
  • Profil Bikes Parque Mariana de las Grajales, Calle D and 23, in front of Irani Topoli Restaurant, VEDADO

Where to Bike in Havana

Biking in Havana is a fantastic way to experience the city; with a bike you can cover a lot of ground, keep cool and easily access several neighbourhoods in a day. The city itself is quite large, and if you’re on a bike you can cover much more ground than you would if walking. The best part is you can stop whenever you see something of interest, which is difficult to do during an organized bus tour or car tour of the city. The roads may not be in the best shape but since bicycles are the main mode of transportation for ordinary Cubans, drivers in the city are very aware of cyclists and you can cycle through the city with relative ease and safety. Beware of theft, lock your bike when you’re taking a break, watch out for the many potholes and enjoy the view!

We took our bikes from old Havana to the Plaza de la Revolucion, and instead of a hot, sweaty half hour walk, we breezed to the Plaza in about 10 minutes. It was great to be able to wheel around the enormous plaza on two wheels, we also liked the selfie potential at the Plaza with our bikes posed in front the image of Che Guevara on the Ministry of the Interior building.

If you are thinking of biking in the Old Havana district, you may discover, because of the crowds of tourists, you will end up doing more walking with your bike rather than riding it. What we did like about biking around the old part of the city was being able to quickly tour all five Habana Vieja Plazas, another bonus is that much of this area is car-free which always a good thing when on a bike.

Our favourite bike ride in Havana was along the Malecon, an eight-kilometer seawall and esplanade along the coast. It can be busy with tourists and locals but there is something quite special about cruising along with the ocean on one side, gorgeous old retro cars put-putting along the road next to you, all accompanied with the beat of salsa tunes from the groups of musicians gathered along the seawall. Bliss.

A Magical Mystery Bike Tour of Havana with Bicicletear La Habana A few years ago, Yasser Gonzalez, concerned that residents of the city viewed biking as an undesirable activity, decided to organize a special mystery bike tour in Havana. He wanted show Cubans that riding a bike is healthy, good for the environment and totally fun. On the first Sunday of each month, at 5pm, cyclists meet up in old Havana at the Parque de Los Martires for a ride somewhere, someplace. No one knows the route until a few minutes before the ride begins; the only promise is that the early evening tour through the city with other enthusiastic cyclists will be magical and it always is.

At first, Yassar could only convince a few riders, mostly tourists, to accompany him on his tour but now a few years later, you’ll see hundreds of citizens and tourists joining in for this very special event. Go to the Bicicletear La Habana Facebook page to find out more information about the group and its monthly tours.

Book a trip with Air Transat and start getting ready for your own magical bike ride in Havana, Cuba’s most exciting city.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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