After being at St. Martins for over a week, it was finally time to get the bikes on to land and do some exploring. As always it was a bit of a logistical jigsaw puzzle with bikes, dinghy, rucsacs, outboard motor, locks, pontoons and tools but well worth the effort.
The first day we cycled anticlockwise round a huge lagoon and in the course of a few hours left the Republic of France, entered the Kingdom of the Netherlands and then returned to France. On the way we stopped off to buy ice cream in the Netherlands, a rope in France, a USB charger in the Netherlands and then some beer in France. The language changed, the currency changed but it remained very hot and the drivers very considerate everywhere.
We were really lucky that Mr Bhirwani allowed us to leave our bikes in his shop overnight so on the second day we just needed to get ourselves on land and pick them up. Pure luxury!
After the flat, seaside tour yesterday we decided to do our traditional “ride to the top of the island” tour today. We found a great MTB route but it started on the other side of the hills so we started by cycling up a very steep road to Pic Pleasant which is the highest point and offered great views. That meant that we had three hundred meters of climbing to “get warm” – which is a joke when the temperature is 27°C in the shade.
Once we had made the obligatory pictures, we followed a single trail down through the woods to the far side of the island. Heidi was chasing an Iguana at one point but we didn’t find the native monkeys. The trail was difficult but mostly “bikeable”. Once at the bottom we turned in to the first cafe to refuel with water and juice.
The route back up the mountain was “interesting”. Once we passed the “Passage Interdit” sign and climbed over the barbed wire fences the path became less steep but rocky. A little later it was full of rock steps. A really great workout pushing our bikes uphill through the sun drenched, windless “jungle”. Adventure pure!
And then it was just a quick roll back downhill in to town where we treated ourselves to beer and baguette burger.