Biking in Antigua isn't as popular a sport as it should be. However, the trend has been gaining momentum lately, and several companies have mountain and road bikes available for rent. One day, the weather was seemingly perfect, and I couldn't resist the allure of being outside. I decided to rent a bicycle from Big's Car Rental and spend the afternoon on the road.
Big's Car Rental is located in central English Harbour, and the process of getting a bike was quick and painless, if you overlook the somewhat pricey rental fee of $20 for 24 hours. This price is not a true reflection of the company itself, but of the limited numbers of cycles available on the island. Armed with my temporary steed of steel, I pumped the pedals and pushed off.
The destination of my ride was Willoughby Bay, a gorgeous bay on the South Eastern side of Antigua, which isn't commonly visited. I chose this route mainly due to the significant lack of vehicular traffic and the smooth paved roads which would help to increase the comfort of my nether parts.
My bike and I coursed through the village of English Harbour and soon entered the smaller village of Cobbs Cross. During this time the sun had pounded down upon me with feral ferocity. I took a much needed water break beneath the shade of a large tamarind tree and enjoyed the breeze which only seemed to materialize in the shade, as it was pretty much absent on the road.
Not one to give up easily, I hopped back on and continued on my journey. After a while, the village faded away and lush vegetation filled my field of sight. The terrain was undulating, alternating between relatively flat to gently rising, and two areas were a bit tougher on my thighs. Finally after I felt as if I've been constantly battling my way uphill, the road began to lead me downhill.
Mere seconds into my descent, I was treated to spectacular views of the bay in the distance. The meandering road was perfectly even, allowing my tyres to spin unbidden. The soft island breeze gently caressed my face as I coasted down the slopes, every second bringing me closer to my destination.
After approximately an hour of pedaling, I arrived at Willoughby Bay. The distance was only 2.15 miles, but with the intensity of the sun and the challenging terrain for an irregular rider such as myself, it felt like quite an accomplishment.
This route is best suited for intermediate riders, but there's many more routes to choose from, for beginners to advanced riders. Antigua may not be known as a cycling destination, but it's getting there!