I had somehow convinced my friend Johnny to get away from the lingering winter in New York to soak in some much needed sun in The Cayman Islands. More impressively, I had convinced him to bring our bikes with us. The Cayman Islands are not exactly a cycling destination. In fact, it is everything but a cycling destination. It is known for its beautiful beach resorts, amazing scuba diving and snorkeling sites, and there's that thing with off-shore banking. Yet, here we were, we’ve just arrived at George Town ready to explore the island on our bikes.
First thing I immediately noticed as I stepped out of the airplane was the heat and humidity. Nothing surprising as it is, after all, a tropical island. However, the realization was setting in that we had to ride through this heat and humidity out in the open. It was something we were not used to as we were coming from New York where it had just snowed a few weeks back. But we gladly turned in our winter kits for summer ones. Our driver picked us up and dropped us off at our rental apartment right of 7 Mile Beach. Needless to say, the rest of the first day was spent off the bike and in the warm water.
The next day we set our alarm at 5am. We knew we had to get an early start as the temperature could reach well above 100°F (38°C) by 10am. The plan for the day was to ride around the island. There is only one main road that goes around the entire island, sounds simple enough. The only catch, however, is that the road does not make a full circle. It stops at the northern part of the island at Rum Point which means we had to ride back on the same road twice. Not really knowing what to expect we set off on the road with the night slowly fading into the morning.
We passed through the empty streets of George Town as the sun was rising and by mile 10 we had made it to the south of the island heading east. Unfortunately for us the wind decided to head west. We struggled to keep a good pace going as we could feel the wind change from a cool head wind to that of a blow dryer. We were quickly reminded that we were no longer in New York when the familiar sight of a deer road kill was now of an iguana or chicken.
The warm head winds were quite brutal so we decided to cut through the island to connect to Rum Point, our turn around point. Once on the north side of the island, the wind turned our favor and it was pushing us towards Rum Point. We kept a good pace and reached Rum Point in no time. At this point, we had no idea what to expect. I had imagined an epic climb up to some cliff overlooking the island and the Caribbean Sea. There were no such cliffs and views. However, there was a dock in which we walked on and found someone selling fresh coconut water to try to keep cool. The rest of the ride was spent battling the heat and the head winds. At last, at mile 68 and with a whopping total elevation gain of 680 feet, we finally made it back to the apartment just before noon! There was only one thing to do after a brutal ride in the scorching heat and that is to jump in the water! It was the perfect way to end the ride.
Having experienced our share of hot head winds, we rented a car and drove around the island on the same roads we’ve ridden on the day before. At least this time we had the comfort of the air conditioner! And just like any other tourists, we did some tourist things. Beach, food, and drinks!
On our last day we decided to explore West Bay, just north of where we were staying on 7 Mile Beach. The 20 mile loop was perfect as we had a flight to catch that afternoon. We passed through some neighborhoods and ended up on Barker’s National Park. After four days we finally found some dirt roads and some marshes! A last quick dip in the water and we were on our way back to New York City with perfect tan lines to show for our adventure.