Velocio Director of Events, Devin Cowens escaped the country pre-COVID, “I visited Cuba for a bikepacking trip in the pre-COVID area of early 2020. I was thrilled to experience a new locale by bike and was curious to learn more about its layered history.
Being in Cuba felt like stepping back into time...the vibrant tapestry of cobblestone streets lined with old cars and historical architecture reflected the picture in my mind. Traveling through the city and along the countryside by bike enabled me to authentically experience a country untainted by a sense of urgency.
From cycling amidst the mountains on a fully loaded bike, to conversations over meals with families in casas particulares, to witnessing steep agriculture and farm land; I was taken by Cuba's immense natural beauty.
My experience juxtaposed this innately American idea of/need for immediacy; always on the go, seeking instant gratification, and high expectations of progress. Aptly timed ahead of entering the pandemic, this trip foreshadowed a necessary reminder to slow down, be patient, practice gratitude, rest, and find joy in the small moments in the quiet evolution of the day to day.
Looking back now I’m struck by the idea of what it means to freely leave your own country and have the opportunity to experience another culture, free of restrictions. In a sense, the lived experience of Cubans is not unlike current pandemic restrictions. We are privileged in the way in which we can move, and it's important to not take that for granted and I won’t in the rides and trips to come.”