Mountain biking the Cockscomb……coming soon

Posted: September 25, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
Tags: , , ,

“Hi, we did it!!!

Yesterday we went to the 12km camp in Cockscomb…, but we took 4 hours to go and back. The group of four arrive very tired, but it was wonderful. I think we were the first ones to arrive at the camp with MTB. ;)”

Read the email I received from my great friend Rodolfo Sáenz de Ugarte. I was grinning ear to ear as I read it. I knew this was hard work, mountain biking through the jungle.  Speaking with Rodolfo, who has been instrumental in training the staff at the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary, “I feel very proud and privileged to be a part of this process.” he said. “Mountain biking in the park is going to take tourism to a new level.” As of now cycling in the Sanctuary was not something offered or could be done. However, there is an effort to make mountain biking though this pristine jungle a reality.

Ugarte further explained that the Belize Audubon Society has been granted funding under a national project of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. “Strengthening National Capacities for the Operationalization, Consolidation, and Sustainability of Belize’s Protected Areas System Project (UNDP/SNC.PAS).They feel that an opportunity to ride a mountain bike through the Cockscomb is something that many people would love to experience. ” he added. Tammy and I, having done it ourselves a week earlier can assure you that this will be an experience you won’t forget.

On the request of Ugarte. Our mission, to be guinea pigs of sorts, was to observe the training, do a test ride a few km’s, then assess and evaluate our experience.

Looking back in our diaries my wife’s read:

0745: Monday 28th, August 2014

“What a great way to start the week. My husband asked me to join him on a trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. We have a deep love for this place, so of course I said YES. Then I found out the real reason for the trip. Our friend Rodolfo is teaching the local Cockscomb staff how to properly perform as advisors for tours on mountain bikes that will be offered in the near future through this protected area. Naively, I thought that since I have a bicycle for street riding that I could easily transition into mountain biking. This was going to be an easy day. I was quite wrong on this assumption. I learned that there are techniques to minimize all of the bumps along the path. Gear shifting is critical and has to be done at the right times in order to traverse hills and rough terrain. I managed to ride 4 kilometers before I became totally exhausted from all of the hills. Despite the experience being more difficult than I anticipated, I absolutely loved exploring Cockscomb on a bike” she wrote.

07:38 Monday 28th, August 2014, I wrote:

Helmet:    check

Water and purification tablets:  check

Adventurous Spirit: Check

Wait, I thought to myself, did he just say water purification tablets? What kind of mountain biking is this if I have to take water purification tablets? Well, here we are, I’m committed and can’t back out now. How did we get ourselves into this? All I could think about was spooking some napping Jaguar while zooming through the jungle. He’d chase me down, and I could potentially become breakfast or offer him my water purification tablets. How fast could a Jaguar run anyway, or is it the Cheetah that’s the fast one? Okay, I have to admit that my imagination was getting the best of me, but still we were going to be the first group of people ever to ride mountain bikes through the Cockscomb. Cool beans!

Camera: Check

Chased by a Jaguar: Check

Well, I did not get chased, but I stayed in low gear so I could easily out accelerate a Jaguar in case the opportunity presented itself. I mean, that would just make this story super exciting right?

Now with the preliminary training successfully completed, we’re sure the Belize Audubon Society will soon be announcing “Mountain Biking is now available in the Cockscomb.” From our evaluation we know that the staff are totally qualified. Knowing how to address mechanical issues, safety, first aid, and keeping everyone together as they enjoy an unforgettable experience, is what they are trained for. We’re sure mountain bike riding in the Cockscomb will become one of the most popular things to do.

A few of the details we know at this point are:

Bring your own bike or rent a bike from the park

It’s optional to ride with staff or not.

Strict rules and safety precautions must and will be abided by.

Only the first 12 kilometers will be open- from the Cockscomb headquarters to the 12km
campsite on the Victoria Peak trail.

Cost is $50 BZD

Bike rentals  7-11 AM and must be returned 5pm.

We’re sure some of this information will change or be adjusted accordingly, but for now,  I’d anticipating doing this. Go ahead add it to your bucket list.

http://cyclemeter.com/e545e47494f7daf3/MountainCycle-20140902-0629

 

047 027 038 042 043 045 046

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