Fertile Ground

Not much beats cliffside sunset riding in Bermuda. James Holloway shows Brigid Mander some of the local goods.

Fertile Ground No Mountains, No Worries in Bermuda

Five or so hours into our ride for the day, one foot on the ground, arms draped on handlebars, I outwardly survey the lovely, colorful vistas stretched out below.

Somewhat less beautifully, I am dripping buckets of sweat, my quads protesting and heart pounding. Inwardly, I cannot fathom how I am getting my ass kicked. Again. I mean, for crying out loud, we are at sea level—practically riding inside an oxygen tank—on a tiny, flattish island in the North Atlantic called Bermuda.

Said vistas are barely 200 feet below us, where lush green slopes meet turquoise waters. We’d come to visit James Holloway, an avid biker with whom I’d made friends a couple years prior, and I’d been smugly considering coming back to the island for a bike race. I mean how hard could it be? So, James and the local crew undertook educating us about their cherished system, which, turns out, isn’t that mellow. Today, we are getting a tour of a few more of James’ favorite trails, followed by the promise of a beer ride, as James called it, in the evening with a few more of his mountain bike crew. I imagine a rolling, serene ride, caressed by tropical breezes and punctuated by refreshing beachside beverages. Beer ride reality, however, became much clearer by the end of the day.

The island’s trails are small, unique loops, and run the gamut from jungle terrain to spectacular windswept singletrack above oceanside cliffs. To get in a solid day of riding, you must continuously link up multiple trails, mostly in Bermuda’s national parks. Instead of being disruptive, it’s enormously entertaining, so much so that the miles pile up and you don’t even notice until suddenly your quads no longer respond properly.

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