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Taking a Bicycle to Cuba


:wink: Hi all.We are heading to Cuba again in April,and have decided to take bikes with us,and leave them behind when we leave Cuba.
Just wondering if anyone knows where to get the shipping boxes required,and also roughly how much are they.
I have called the airline,and they think Canadian Tire has them.(I thought we would get them at the airport…not!)
Also,has anyone encountered any problems with having the bikes transported on the buses to the resort.


Hi cheaptanning

Check with your local specialty bike shop. ( If there is such a thing halfway to the north Pole!). This time of year they should have some. If you can’t find a bike box, get a box from your local appliance store. A fridge or stove box has large sheets of cardboard that can be custom cut and taped.
The only resort I have ever heard of that charges extra for transport on their bus is the Marea del Portillo and Farrallon resorts on the souuth west coast. They charge an extra 15 CUC.
When you dismantle the bikes for shipping, be sure to take all the tools required for reassembly and spare tools, vice grips and adjustable wrenches are always handy. Tape the tools to the frame so they don’t slide around. Extra tires, tubes, rims and pumps are needed and can be added to the bike box. I find the local landfill is an excellent place for bikes and parts. FREE!.

Goodonya for doing this.



Geez,thanks Bigjohn for the reminder about the tools…lol
I had all the scoop on the correct way to dismantle for shipping,but I honestly think I might have forgotten to take the ‘rebuilding gear’ with us!


[quote author=cheaptanning board=Cuba thread=1172409533 post=1172413566]Geez,thanks Bigjohn for the reminder about the tools…lol
I had all the scoop on the correct way to dismantle for shipping,but I honestly think I might have forgotten to take the ‘rebuilding gear’ with us!

Hola Cheaptanning

If you don’t have tool that you can leave behind in Cuba for whoever you give the bike to then ask your neighbors and friends for tools they are willing to donate.

When Bigjohn and I went to Cuba at the end of September we had loads of tools as well as extra bike parts in the bike box.

If it was bike related it was put into the box. I am sure the tools and parts weighed more than the bike did.

Another good idea is to wrap USED nylon rope around the box to use as carrying handles. The rope that was used to wrap the bike was dirty therefore it looked as though the the box did not come direct from a store.

Everyone with a new looking box was made to line up so they could have the contents of their bike box inspected.

BigJohn also lined up and they took one look at the box with writing all over it and the dirty used rope that was wrapped around it and told him no need to have the contents inspected.

The family that BigJohn gave the bike to were so happy since now they had their own means of transportation and now did not have to walk everywhere or try to find a ride from someone.

Giving a gift of a bike to a Cuban makes all the difference in the world. Good luck getting your bike there.

You are totally awesome for bringing a bike with you to Cuba and leaving it there when you are done with it. :wink:

Freedom Ryder 8-)…


Thanks for the scoop Freedom,
I love the ‘dirty rope’ idea.I know that the bike weight allowance is 15 kg.(plus the extra goodies in the box)…I don’t have any idea what an average bike would weigh…any ideas?
There are 5 of us going,so we are hoping that some friends will have some bikes that are no longer needed.I don’t want to ‘push’ the limits on the bike allowance,as we are also taking our usual duffel bag of antibiotics and otc meds.
Another thing I wondered…are kids bikes of any use…I don’t remember seeing any kids on bikes in all our trips we’ve made…or will the cuban eyebrows be raised if we adults come through customs with a couple kids bikes.(I would like to think not)


Hey Cheaptanning

Sorry, but I have no idea what an average bike weighs. I do however know that we had all kinds of tool in the box as well as a bike carrier (saddle bag) style.

We also had extra rims, tires nap sacks, bike repair kit for the tires etc… No one blinked an eye.

The kids bikes would be very much appreciated as well. I have seen some kids bikes in Cuba but not many people can afford to purchase them for their children.

Most of the kids bikes that are purchased there are costly but built cheap and fall apart in no time. The bikes and the wheels are not built for endurance or the rough roads.

As for getting bikes through Customs… Did you not say that you were meeting your kids in Cuba and they will be using the bikes?. :wink: ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D I thought you did, jejejejeje. :smiley:

If there is a ‘will’ there is a ‘way’. :wink:

Freedom Ryder 8-)…


LOL Freedom,
That’s right!How could I forget about my darling kiddies…all five of em!


Shubie or Stewiacke?

Formerly of East Hants (Nine Mike River)


Gotta love our generous friends and coworkers…as of today,we now have secured 2 bicycles to take with us…perhaps we can get our 5 yet!!Had the idea to try to take bikes with us to leave behind…mentioned it for 2 days and …voila!!


Here’s a link to dismantling a bike. Don’t forget extra parts because those Cuban roads are HE1_1_ on bikes.


Thanks to Flygt for the link.



I was just wondering how someone can get antibiotics to take with them. Is it possible to obtain them without a prescription?

I’ve got my bag filling up with otc meds but if I can get some antibiotics in, that would be great.


Hola Cheaptanning

That is awesome that you already have 2 bicycles to take to Cuba with you.

It is amazing what people have laying around their houses that they no longer need and are willing to donate to a good cause.

Kudos to your friends and coworkers. :wink:

Keep the bikes rolling!

Freedom Ryder 8-)…


It’s too bad you dont live near the COTU because I have 3 beautiful bikes here ready to go, you just need to leave them with a Cuban family when you leave. :slight_smile: I always have bikes to go.


Hola: Bringing in a box o’ bike may bring out the customs agent at the airport (Holguin). Create a fake receipt on your PC or get one from the local bike shop when you pick up your box. Show them the value is $15. as gifts under $50 are duty free. and you should be good until the bus driver to the resort tells you it’s “not luggage” and demands $10 more.
Riding a dependable bike for the week and then leaving it with a local farmer will give you way more enjoyment than any hassle you may face.
My biggest roadblock taking a bike to Cuba has been getting the darn thing to the airport!


[quote author=lilybelle board=Cuba thread=1172409533 post=1172542804]

I was just wondering how someone can get antibiotics to take with them. Is it possible to obtain them without a prescription?

I’ve got my bag filling up with otc meds but if I can get some antibiotics in, that would be great.[/quote]

Hola Lilybelle

Go to the Home Page on this forum and check out the “Not Just Tourists” Forum.

It is directly above the Cuba Forum.

They will donate a suitcase (10 kg) full of Meds for you to take with you on vacation to bring to a Hospital, Clinic, Doctors etc…

You can also contact the airline you are flying with and ask them if you can have extra weight allowance for humanitarian Aid and usually the fee for the extra weight and suitcase is waved.

Freedom Ryder 8-)…


Thanks for your reply, Freedom Ryder. :slight_smile:

I plan on contacting NJT and I am also giving the information to the other 30+ people in the wedding party that are also going.

I did know about this wonderful organization from this great forum but I was just curious when people said they were filling their bags with antibiotics. My ears perked up when cheaptanning wrote that they were filling a duffel bag of abx and otc.

I was hoping they had found a way to get them without a prescription - without having to go to a farm supply store where you can get all sorts of medication without a blink of an eye. :o


Thanks Pioneer,the info is great.We are planning on taking the bikes under the pretense of them being for us to use…I mean,geez did you think that we would go on vacation to relax and overimbibe?? lol…But of course not!We only go so we can spend every free minute biking all over Cuba! LOL LOL


Bigjohn/Flygt…Awesome site for info on packing the bikes…thanks again…must add that one to my favorites!


Most bike shops will give you a cardboard bike box for free, ask for a big one…if you want to save the hassle of packing they’ll pack the bike for you as well, but you’ll need to know what goes where so it might be better to do that yourself and so that you have the right wrenches for that end. :wink: Don’t forget to take a tire pump or two, and cables and padlocks, not those cheap combination lock chains.

You might consider replacing the tubes at a bike shop with puncture proof tubes and throw in a spare wheel or two and a couple of spare tubes, and maybe a can of paste wax to keep the frame corrosion free for years.

A few other considerations; less is often more with bikes, so if you take old used single speed, less moving parts is less maintenance for the end user and although the older bikes were generally built heavier than the modern copies, the total weight of a single speed is often about the same as a modern bike as it has no gear cassettes, fork and seat shocks, etc.

A bike with a horizontal frame top bar as opposed to sloping will be more useful as everyone gives rides to others on their bikes. Quality aluminum rims tend to corrode less and last longer than the usual chromed steel ones, so I often change those. When I take used bikes I usually get the brake cables and pads replaced, and have 3 or 4 spare sets thrown in the box…cables and brake pads don’t weigh anything. Straight handle bar profiles are fine for road racing but aren’t really good or very safe for riding a bike around town, I often change those for a taller BMX style profile.

Bike tools need to be the essential ones to put the bike back together but are also a chance to include a few things that weigh little, such as hacksaw blades, a multi-bit screw driver, a couple of sharp utility knives, etc, which you or someone might need. :wink:

A couple of small backpacks with some cable ties can act as tool carriers/panniers and add little weight. A couple of good bike headlights are excellent and can be used for emergency lighting in a home,…if supplied with rechargeable batteries and a small recharger, better yet.

Lol, good idea above of tying the outside of the box with rope… also, I’ve found that reinforcing the box corners with duct tape and cello wrapping the whole box, either at the airport or at home helps keep everything inside and the box together and when it looks well packed (but not new) it is often not asked to be opened for customs inspection. :sunglasses:

Most airlines will carry up to a 35kg bike in a box and accessories for bike touring and bike camping for free. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps,

Cheers, Flygt


Gee Flygt,I knew I loved this site for a reason! I was wondering about the horizontal vs. sloped crossbar…never thought of it in the scheme of passengers…was only thinking of male vs. female drivers!Great advise,thanks.
I was thinking of trying to round up a parcel carrier,or saddle bags for them as well…any idea as to what might be more feasible.I’m leaning more towards that metal rack over the back tire,but perhaps someone has some insight in practicality of differeent carriers.(I’m not an avid cyclist!)lol