Because of Bonaire's unique topography, cycling around the island is both interesting and invigorating. At first glance, the predominantly flat terrain lulls you into thinking there is no challenge, but the hilly northern region will tax even the strongest legs.
Miles of paved roads, all suitable for comfortable cycling, meander along the island's sparsely populated coast. To the south are Bonaire's stunning solar salt pans and salt mountains, historic slave huts, and Willemstoren Lighthouse. On the north road cyclists can find majestic ospreys, secluded coves perfect for snorkeling and picnicking, the ancient limestone bench marking the sea's level over 100,000 years ago, and historic Karpata, a restored plantation house.
Bonaire's arid, semi-desert interior, with its unpaved roads, lends itself to adventuresome mountain bike touring. Off the beaten path are ranches and agricultural areas, unique bird subspecies like the endemic yellow-shouldered parrot and flamboyant pink flamingoes, fascinating geological formations, and mysterious Caiquetio petroglyphs. Goats, wild donkeys, and the camouflaged iguana live among the prickly cacti and aloe along the way to Rincon, an historic inland village.
Here are some tips to you may wish to consider before venturing out:
Properly evaluate your skill and fitness levels before beginning your tour
Set goals, plan the route and rest stops
Bring sunblock, comfortable clothing, and a hat or helmet should be considered
Carry plenty of water when travelling alone
Every November, there is an annual international triathlon, consisting of a 1 km swim course in the open ocean, a 40 km flat terrain road course or 25 km hilly off-road course for bicycles, and a 10 km run through downtown Kralendijk. Information on the race can be obtained from Richard Pietersz at tel: 599-7-8580; fax: 599-7-6550.
Location Kaya Gob N. Debrot adjacent to the Sand Dollar Resort. Cycle Bonaire shares space with Bonaire Dive and Adventure. They offer daily or weekly rentals of 21-speed TREK mountain bikes, which includes water bottles, a helmet, repair, first aid kits and a lock. Bikes are also available for sale. The staff can provide assistance with choosing a correctly sized bike, learning the local rules of the road and basic off-road skills, and helpful tips and advice about safety. Special guided half-day or full-day excursions, orientation to bike trails and general routes are available as well as trail maps and descriptions. There are even resident bike doctors to make repairs. For additional information, call Andre Nahr at 717 2229.