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What To Bring on a Bicycle Tour


Map from Cafe Rueda going west (print at home)

Map from Cafe Rueda to Viazul bus station (print at home)

Clothing At least three pairs of cycling shorts. You need to have a clean pair every morning.
Two or three pairs of "Coolmax." Socks.
Swim gear and beach towel.
Walking boots. If you plan on doing any walking.

Cycling Equipment

Cycling shoes.
Cycling jerseys.
Rain coat.
Helmet. (Not mandatory but we like to participants to use one)
Cycling gloves.
Sun Glasses.
Pump, bike mounted. 
Spare tube.
Repair kit. 
2  water bottles.
Powder Sport Drink: "eload Electrolyte Loader".
or make your own: 3 tbls sugar, 2 pinches salt + flavouring per sport bottle.

Necessities! Either bring Canadian money, Euros or Sterling. Make sure you have NEW bills. From past years experience, cuban banks won't take it if it's ripped, torn, defaced , written on, or has any type of ink stamp on it. The bills can be folded but that's about it !!!!
Medical Insurance.(see note below)
Bug repellant.
Sun block. (you can buy in Cuba but it generaly cheaper at home)
Imodium and Florastor Probiotics are good for upset tummies.
Camera. Do not forget the charger
Energy bars.
Money & Passport. Make sure passport will not expire while here in Cuba. Bring a photo copy of passport just in case you loose said document
A small backpack and walking shoes

 Money:- How much should I bring?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is not easy to answer. If on a tour with the club my standard reply is $50 a day and that you have a credit card as back-up. You can use the credit card at a CAECA (bank) to get cash. You will be charged in USD at the exchange rate of the day. This will not be a great rate so keep to a minimum. Before leaving your home country inform your credit card company that you will be in Cuba, this will let them know the transaction is legitimate. It is very important to make sure your card if not from an American bank. A lot of Canadian Credit Union Credit Cards are connected to American banking systems and will not work here in cuba

Remember that when you leave there is an airport tax of 25CUC’s Keep this aside ! Try to leave with as little Cuban currency as possible, the money is not convertible at your bank at home. 

Heath insurance To travel to Cuba you require medical insurance. You can buy this from the various banks and credit unions. If you are young  ie 20's 30's the price is very modest $20-30 for two weeks. However as you pass retirement age the cost rises significantly and one can be looking for as much as $200 or more in late 60's earl;y 70s. for two weeks coverage.  Cuba recently introduced compulsory medical insurance for those who arrive in Cuba without coverage. It is quite cheap but coverage is limited ($10,000) and not always readily available at the airports where you are required to buy it.

Probably the best medical coverage available in Canada is President's Choice which actually has coverage specially for Cuba! It undercuts the banks rates and is in fact underwritten by one of the better insurers The Co-operators. For older travellers they offer no medical question coverage but may require you to respond if you are over 75 or are staying more than two weeks. If you are in good health I suggest you insist on doing the questionnaire as it will likely reduce the premium. One of our visitors age 73 was quoted $175 for two weeks without the questions  but discovered when he did the questionnaire the premium fell to $90.
You should be aware that Canadian insurers generally re-imburse so if you did run into hospitalization etc you should  have access to credit cards etc to pay the bill up front. One advantage of the Cuban provided insurance is that  it is accepted  everywhere in Cub
There is ride bottled water supplied on the bus. We have to hunt for these bottles so please just use for ride time. Do not drink from roadside juice stands but rather buy the bottled stuff.
The CanBiCuba Cycling Club supports youth programs throughout Cuba. We are involved with both the national cycling federation and master racing in the Havana area.
There are no bike shops as we know them in the developed world and our youth groups depend on your much needed support. 
It is not mandatory but we do encourage all riders to bring a little something to help out.Your old 700c x 23 or 25c might be worn out to you but is like gold here. We need anything you can think of and have lying about, handle bars/stems/seats/gears/brakes and on and on.. If sending clothing keep to small and medium sizes. Handle bar tape is an often forgotten and economic gift.
Quite often a rider will bring an old racing bike to leave with a club.  If you'd like to bring a bike let me know because I may have one up in Canada awaiting transport
Gratuities or tips                                                                                                                                                                                                   
It is common to tip for service while traveling. From bell boy to barman, they make a living by serving you well. The tour staff; driver, mechanic and ride director are all part of the tourist trade and you will be well taken care of by this team. It is not mandatory that any tourist tip any worker but people are always asking for guide lines and this is what I do myself while travelling. If my room is clean and tidy with towels etc. In place, Then I will leave $1 on the bed in the morning, this is travel etiquette shall we say. As for the ride staff a gratuity of around $30/$40 is common for a two week ride or $2 to $3 /day. We prefer you tip directly and individually to each employee. 


 What NOT To Bring

1.American money.

2. Credit cards that draw on American Banks 

3. GPS  Cuba forbids the import of GPS units, they could be confiscated at the airport. 


Packing your bike

Most CanBiCuba riders take their own bike to our rides in Cuba. To transport your bike on an airplane it is best to have packed in a box. Bicycle touring is becoming a popular pastime and global travel to do this touring is very common. There are a number of companies manufacturing, purpose made cases for this transportation and people pay anywhere from $200 to $800. This cost is justified in some respects by the specialty of the product and the riders wish to protect their favorite ride.


You can just take your bike to the airline and put a plastic bag over it. They will ask you to remove the pedals and turn the handlebars. This is not recommended.

There is another, more cost effective method of getting your bike to your far off destination. Put back in a box similar to the one your dealer got it from the factory in. To do this you have two options:-

  1. Go to the dealer and have him pack it for you.
    • Make sure he uses a good quality box.
    • The dealer will charge for this. Fair is fair, pay him.
    Do it yourself.
    • This is for those who trust nobody and need to make sure the bike is properly packed.
    • Ask your dealer for a good quality shipping box with a double bottom and make sure that you get the plastic fork spacer that comes with the initial shipment.
    • Aside from the box and spacer you will need, bubble wrap or that foam insulation you buy from the plumbing section at Home Depot (you know this stuff to cover your pipes with).
    • Also don’t forget the packing tape, get the good stuff; you like this bike don’t you?
    • Put either the bubble wrap or pipe insulation around the top tube, down tube and seat tube of the frame.
    • Remove the handlebars and hook them over the top tube, if you have straight bars use pull-ties or string to hold them in place. Remove the pedals (the left pedal has a left-hand thread).
    • Remove the seat and seat post, no need to separate.
    • Remove the front wheel and install the spacer in the forks, this will prevent getting the fork crushed and if it is a good spacer it will also help stop the fork going through the bottom of the box (hence the double bottom requirement).
    • Put the rear changer on the smallest sprocket and put a pad of bubble wrap between the spokes and the changer.
    • Let half the air out of the tires.
    • Put the bike in he box you might have to turn the fork to face backwards.
    • Remove the Q/R skewer from the front wheel; try not to lose the little springs.
    • Place the front wheel in the box on the left side of the bike.
    • This is not that easy because you will have to weave around the left crank.
    • There are little, round plastic covers that are placed over the hub spindle when shipped to the store. If you can score one of these put it on the outside of front hub. It will stop the spindle poking through the side of the box.
    • Tape together the seat; the pedals and the reassembled skewer then cover with more bubble wrap. Place this little bundle at the bottom of the box.
    • Put some packing tape in the box. You are bringing this baby back!
    • Tape up the box and put your name and address on it.



Cuba awaits!


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