What To Bring on a Bicycle Tour
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.
Helmet. (Not mandatory but we like to participants to use one)
Pump, bike mounted.
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)
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
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.
What NOT To Bring
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:-
- 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.
- 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.