As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we decided to go on a mountain bike excursion while on our trip to Aruba. We intended to make the entire vacation very relaxing and unplanned, but after a day of just lounging, we approached the concierge about a possible activity. We began to start the reservation process for a catamaran/snorkeling excursion, when we saw a flier for a new mountain bike/snorkeling tour. I’m a cycle instructor. This was just up my alley. We booked it with De Palm Tours.
The company has been offering the tour for only about two months. Typically eight people will ride from the north, choppy, Atlantic Ocean side of the island around the northern most tip (where there is a lighthouse) to finish at a small, beautiful beach. The ride was described as “strenuous”, which we didn’t really take too seriously. They actually mean it when they say “strenuous” though. The north side of the island is almost like a desert. Lots of sand and rocks. Did I mention it is also extremely hot? That is probably why the tour begins so early (we were picked up at 7:30 AM).
The bus picked up six people from various hotels before taking us to the start of our bike trip. Our guide was great. Bikes were super nice and definitely the appropriate type of bike for the riding that we would be doing. You can’t use a beach cruiser here. After a brief intro about the bikes, we were given plenty of time to ride and around to get our bearings on both the bike and the terrain. Riding on a mountain bike in desert like conditions is 100% different than riding on a bike indoors that is bolted to the ground. I give a lot of credit to people that do this regularly. With unexpected road conditions, it is very easy to lose control. After several minutes of test riding, we started our trek. Our first stop was at an Aruban natural bridge. We got off our bikes to walk over to the shore and check it out.
We spent a decent amount of time checking things out before our tour guide asked us to continue on our journey. It was at the point that a mini disaster occurred. I have been on many tours all over the world, and I have never actually seen someone get hurt. My husband and I followed the guide up the next hill (which I had to walk up because the sand was so deep I couldn’t pedal through), until we heard the horn beeping of the truck that follows the last biker. We turned around to see another woman on the tour laying on the ground with everyone else surrounding her. We came to find out that she had lost her balance trying to just get on her bike. She was unable to make contact with the ground to catch her fall and landed on her right arm. We never found out the extent of her injury, but nevertheless help was called and she was not able to continue on the tour. The guides handled the situation in the appropriate manner, however, I can’t help but think this injury could have been prevented through proper core training. Remember when I posted about how core training can make every day tasks easier?
As soon as the situation described above was handled, we continued on our journey. Our next stop was beautiful church. This was a quick stop. The church is absolutely beautiful and offers services every Tuesday. Here we also fueled up on fluid (since we had been out in the hot sun for quite awhile).
This time we rode literally until our final destination. The terrain was pretty intense with a lot of rolling hills. It was in our favor to pay attention to the road ahead to avoid large rocks and areas with deep sand. I did have to walk again through some deep sand. Our guide did a great job of warning us when there might be trouble. The ride was worth the beautiful beach that we ended up at.
We spent almost an hour enjoying company offered snacks and drinks while cooling off in the beautiful (almost desolate) water.
You know we had to Garmin the ride too. Would you believe we rode almost ten miles. Pace was pretty slow, because we stopped several times, but it was just what we needed on our relaxing vacation. We wish the woman that was injured well, and we certainly recommend this excursion to people who can actually handle a strenuous workout while on vacation!