Saturday, May 30, 2009

Letter from Anguilla

Jake, last month I sent you a picture from New York of a bicycle covered in snow, well this month I have moved slightly south to the island of Anguilla after 7weeks back in Oz.

Anguilla is a small island 25km long. part of the Leeward group of islands in the Northern Caribbean and about 240km east of Puerto Rico. I had no idea what to expect except that the place we were staying was "quite nice". In fact so nice the owners even managed to get Google only to photograph the place when it was covered in cloud. I think that was a joke, but really not to sure.

Before going to the Island I tracked down and managed to get in touch with a local bike rider, Ronnie Bryan. Ronnie represented the Island in the Melbourne Commonwealth games. He hired us a couple of nice road bikes and even delivered the said beasts to our accommodation which believe me was no mean feat. Even the goats have trouble getting in!

Now to the main point of this email which is to let you and your faithful readers know that our cycling experiences on that tiny island were so extraordinary they have to be spread over a wider audience.

The roads were some of the best I have ever ridden on with only occasional small pot holes here and there but nothing that would spoil a ride on our thin wheels. But I have never ever come across so many motorists who not only gave cyclists a huge passing space, a friendly "toot" on the horn when approaching, waited until the road was clear to pass but also would stop on a green light to allow the cyclist to turn right even if it meant they missed their go.

Totally amazing.

I spent my time riding with a Fire Captain from the Beverly Hills Fire Department, who I must say was very fit and put me and my ever increasing girth to shame. The former was my fault for not getting out as much as I should have before going, the later was totally due to our chef.

We managed to get a few pictures of us with the bikes to record our experience, but there is a limitation to how many you can take using your own private helipad and the Caribbean Sea as a back drop.

Dennis and Peter
On our final ride the "idea" sprang into my head that we should get a picture of us at the airport with the "Welcome to Anguilla" sign in the background.

I hadnt really thought it out too well when we dropped by the airport to grab the shot. The main problem was that the sign we wanted to use was on the runway side of the airport buildings. This meant getting permission to take ourselves with bikes, without passports, money or any of the usual things though security, immigration (twice) and customs. Such was the wonderful attitude of the people at the airport that this took less than 15mins to organize.

I think that they were so amazed that anyone would firstly want to to it and secondly have the nerve to ask. To me and my fire buddy it just sealed what we had come to think about the people on this wonderful little island. If attitude to cyclists can be used as an indicator as to the personality of a country and its people then this island scored 10/10.

Please find attached the pictures of me and my cycling mate Dennis.

Special thanks to Ronnie, the guys at the airport, the airport worker who took the picture for us, Remi who donated the weeks holiday as an auction item to the Beverly Hills Fire Department last year and our American friends who agreed to put up with us for a week

All the best.


aka Capt Black Prince of Darkness.

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