In the past few years we have “graduated” from a Yamaha 220 to a Honda Shadow. This transition has made traveling on the road in Jamaica easier, faster and has opened up new places to explore outside of Negril for us. Still, the “Mountain Bike Mafia” is still alive and well and rolling along the road less traveled or more so than that – the road non-existent.
Getting on a mountain bike and riding trail is one of Les’ great pleasures in life, both in the West County and West Jamaica.
When Les rides in Bodega his usual destination is a Redwood Grove on the property of a 1,000 acre ranch. “The Ranch” as its known here in town is a commune and a working sheep ranch and they are also the stewards of Fern Grove, keeping the old grown Redwood Trees and their environment as protected and untouched as it was 300 years ago.
His journey takes him through the ranch, over rolling hills and pastures where the sheep are grazing and their protector – the Llama is watching over them.
Pastures turn to meadows and soon he can see the entrance to the forest
In the grove the Redwoods tower above, and the ferns and flowers hover below.
On this day he sees what everyone in town had been talking about; during a particularly harsh wind storm and large Bay tree fell smack in the area where we used to celebrate the Fourth of July.
In Negril, Les’ favorite off-road biking experience is the trail to Little Bay. While we don’t spend time in that little fishing village anymore it is the journey through the bush that Les enjoys best, the scenery on the other side is bonus. The fourteen mile round-trip ride is suitable for riders of any skill level, even those that have not been on a bike in years. It is one of the things Les most enjoys doing with our adventurous visitors from the states.
From the West End, just by Secret Paradise Les enters the bush, having to hoist the bike over one fence and one rock wall before riding on flat meadow for a while. He heads west to the rocky coast who’s rugged beauty and churning water invites him from a far for a “stop and smell the roses” break.
His usual stop is at Pete’s Cove. Our posse named this little inlet of water that serves as a set-out point for a few fishermen after our friend Pete who we lost suddenly to a heart attack eight years ago.
Very little changes in the bush, refreshing for an ever-changing Negril. A few more fences go up; a few more one room wooden salabies are built. The tobacco farm is still up and going, worked by two brothers, each with one eye.
Eventually the trail empties out on an unpaved road to the next stop point – Homers Cove.
He peddles on along the rugged road, passing old haunts such as the road that led to our dear Uncle Sam’s place, stopping to take in Little Bay itself.
From Little Bay there is always the option to hop back on the dusty trail. If he’s feeling it though, Les takes the road back to Negril, passing through Old Hope and Mt. Airy, stopping for a drink in Redground then speeding down the hill right into downtown Negril.