We’re all about mountain biking. Sure, you have tons of choices for an adventure, eco-vacation but Cabra Rides is a whole new game. Epic XC rides, technical downhills, and experiencing life off the grid. Born out of a love for Latin America and hard core riding, Cabra Rides can let you experience a whole new way to ride.
Round about 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. His fourth trip landed him in a deep cove off the coast of one of the most mountainous countries in the newly discovered western hemisphere. The depth of the cove and the profoundly deep valleys of this place earned it the name “Honduras” which means “the depths” in the native language of Columbus.
Today, Honduras is a nation rich in history, culture, and geography. Despite being the only Central American country without active volcanoes, the nation boasts one of the most rugged topographies on the globe. Honduras boasts mountains shrouded in clouds, dressed in splendid tropical trees like Caribbean pine, mahogany, laurel, and guanacaste. The younger generation of Hondurans are being indoctrinated with the importance of reforestation and preserving primary growth forests. The license plates here tout “We care for the forests”, and there are vast preserves and national parks. The Mosquito Coast, which even in the 21st century is only accessible by plane or boat, is heralded as the “lungs of Central America” with immense jungles, rivers, and habitat that make the Amazon River Basin look tame.
As this country struggles to develop, the middle class is embracing cycling as a viable hobby. Indeed, in a place plagued by addiction, it’s good to see people getting hooked on all that is cycling. On a Saturday morning climbing El Cimmarón, a 5,000 foot peak just south of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, one can exchange greetings with fellow cyclists sporting the latest Trek carbon fiber frames and long-travel dualies rocketing their way down the stony trails. The nation’s capital features two high-end bike shops for those who sport the bling. And of course, each of the tiny neighborhoods that compromise the sprawling capital have their own “ciclo” where a local guy will tool on the famous 1,800 Lempira ($100) cro-mo mountain bike that is the vehicle of choice for the hardworking people of the city.
Riding in the country is a rare joy for any who can experience it. Everyone will greet you, the kids will stare, and on occasion a guard dog will give chase. Nothing gets you training at peak heart rate quite like an uphill race with a Rottweiler. The map of Honduras will reveal a myriad of options for those with a spirit of exploration and a hankering to climb. The legend on the map describes four kinds of roads: primary paved roads, unpaved roads, 4×4 accessible only roads, and summer-time only roads. Summer time only roads are pay-dirt for the adventurous cyclist. These trails are boulder strewn for the torrential winter rains that hurl the rocks downstream and are often characterized by deep ruts. Endless miles of this taunt you to climb further into the heart of the mountain. Of course, even the smallest of towns will have a pulperia waiting for you to refuel with a cold Coca-Cola (in a glass bottle of course), a bunch of potassium rich bananas, and some fresh bread with beans. I dare you science food-eating XC racerheads to find a better mid-ride snack.
Out of a love for the culture, an insane desire to get lost (and of course then found), and a love for long-days in the saddle, Cabra Rides was born. Owned and operated by an American ex-pat, Cabra Rides is all about providing adventure and first-class logistics to the brave souls wanting to experience riding in a different culture. After leaving behind friends and the epic trails of San Diego, California, Matthew Allen spent two years in Costa Rica. Costa Rica, famed for its Ruta de La Conquistadores adventure race and eco-tourism, provided the inspiration for the Allens to start Cabra Rides. “Costa Rica is an exemplary country in how they are building a brand and a reputation for eco-tourism. But, Honduras has all that and more. Jungles, mountains, beaches, oh and beans. We’ve got it here. Your dollar goes further here and you get to be just a bit more off the grid”. One of Allen’s goals is to help put Honduras on the map as a destination for avid cyclists and eco-tourists looking to experience someplace out of the norm. Honduras is a great destination for the winter months with its very agreeable tropical climate, and the terrain is ideal for mountain bikers.
After a long day of riding, the bikes getting loaded on top of the trusty Defender, you will be shuttled off to enjoy relaxation in beautiful colonial town like Santa Rosa de Copan or Siguetepeque. What’s to do? In Danlí, near the Nicaraguan border you can tour some of the world’s most famous tobacco plantations which produce coveted cigar brands like Macanudo and Patel. The Copan Ruins are an absolute must, located on the far western portion of the country not far from Guatemala, you can easily spend a day learning history and snapping pictures. You will want to hurry to visit their Mayan ruins before 2012. And of course, needless to say Roatan is a great place to nurse yourself back to health after a long week of riding. Roatan is renowned for its snorkeling, diving, and plush Caribbean resorts. See you soon!
Find more information about Honduras, useful biking resources, and connect with other MTB junkies.