After three days of SCUBA in Placencia, Dennis and I biked south to the end of Belize, camping one night near some Mayan ruins before catching a boat to Guatemala (there are no roads). The following day, we biked into Honduras, stopping at a water park, and then spent a day at the beach in Omoa. We finally arrived, by bike, at the San Pedro Sula airport, where we disassembled Dennis’ bike and built a protective cardboard box for its ride on the plane. (Yes, we biked to the airport with all the cardboard shown below).
I have met many people on this trip, but I have not been able to spend more than a few days with any of them. Two weeks with a good friend was a welcome addition to this adventure, and I’ve invited Dennis to add some words of his own here. Dennis? (The rest of this post is written by Dennis.)
First I’d like say thanks to you Dave for inviting me on this trip. Bike touring is the way to go! I’m a complete convert.
My thoughts on the trip….I’d say I was most surprised by the diversity of Belize. The entire country is like New York! With large populations of Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Chinese and Arabs, Belize is making a strong bid for a true melting pot. The Chinese in particular struck me the most, it felt like every other shop sign was written in Mandarin/Taiwanese. There were also sizable populations of East Indians, plus a community of Mennonites. This diversity is in stark contrast with what I’ve encountered on other trips to Central America and made Belize quite interesting.
I was also impressed by the diving, particularly the number of larger animals that we saw. I saw many dolphins, a manta with a wingspan larger than I am tall, several eels, a sea turtle, and a couple of small sharks.
This is the paragraph for my mother. Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras all impressed me with the quality of their roads for cycling. I felt more comfortable biking there than I do in New Haven. The roads often have broad shoulders, and drivers are much more aware of bicyclists (likely due to the much larger number of people on bicycles). I also think that in many ways (traffic notwithstanding) it is safer to travel by bike in Central America than by more traditional methods. Why? First, you are more mobile, you’re moving faster, people have to think ahead to accost you. Second, and more importantly, when travelling by bus you are frequently deposited in seedier areas of town, and at places where travellers are known to congregate. This perhaps puts you at a greater likelihood of encountering problems. Biking, by contrast, puts you more frequently in rural areas, farther from urban issues. Of course, there’s no real way to know. I do know that I felt very safe throughout our trip.
Finally I’d like to comment on how impressed I was with Dave’s creating RideForClimate. He’s very professional in his RideForClimate interactions, and takes his work very seriously. Keep up the good work D.