A cycling program for visitors speeds forward in Jamaica

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Jamaican cyclists pedal around the island on a program open to visitors and locals.
Jamaican cyclists pedal around the island on a program open to visitors and locals.

The Discover Jamaica by Bike initiative developed by the tourist board officially kicked off in February, and it plans on putting the pedal to the medal later this spring. 

The first leg of the country's cycling program, which kicked off from Kingston's Spanish Court Hotel Feb. 19, took members of the Jamaica Cycling Association and Jamaican disc jockey ZJ Sparks up through the Blue Mountains to Holywell Park recreational area.

Landmarks along the way included Devon House, the Bob Marley Museum, Hope Gardens, Strawberry Hill and the Creighton Estate.

Dennis Chung, a former president of the cycling association, said that the ride proved the program's ability "to show visitors and locals a unique way to explore Jamaica while having fun and being healthy."

The pilot phase of the Discover Jamaica by Bike program launched last October with a four-day bike tour, which began in Port Antonio and ended at Jamaica's Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

The cycling initiative dovetails with a tourism campaign that focuses on outdoor programs and active travel.

"We are excited that Discover Jamaica by Bike is off to a roaring start," said Donovan White, Jamaica's director of tourism, who participated in the October ride.

"This cycling program will undoubtedly become one of our most sought-after experiences, as travelers continue to seek out socially distant activities," he said, adding that "participants on the program will ride the rolling hills of Jamaica and along the way, the energy and enthusiasm of the Jamaican people and beauty of the landscape will make it an unforgettable experience for bikers."

Highlight of the program this spring is the epic four-day Ultimate Ride event April 2 that kicks off in Port Antonio, pedals on to Ocho Rios (70 miles), through to Negril (109 miles) and on to Mandeville (80 miles) before setting down the kickstand in Kingston (65miles) for a total distance of 324 miles.

Entry fee for the full tour is $400 per cyclist and includes drinking water en route, a sports drink, refreshments and a medal and a massage on the last day.

Separate packages are available for the day one segment ($120), day two ($145), day three ($140)  and day four ($95).

Other cycling events are planned for later this year.

For information and registration for the Ultimate Ride, visit www.discoverjamaicabybike.com.

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