Out of curiosity, which of the 3 islands is most suitable for mountainbiking? Would be nice to pick that up again at some point, but not sure what the do's and don'ts are.
Are there good trails? Are they open to all kinds of activities? hiking, horseback riding, mountainbiking? Are part closed for certain activities if they're nature reserve/national park? Is it something people are into and do you have (quality) bike repair shops if needed? Same question for road race cycling? Is that safe to do on the islands and where can it best be done? Just in case I'd want to take a break from watersports at some point 🙂
Hi Ed. We moved to STT 2 months ago. I'm a life-long MTBer (well, started on BMX... I'm 58 years old) From all the research I've done before and after the move, I found...
Are there good trails?
From what I have read, the most MTB trails exist on St. Croix. Are they "good?" That is relative, I suppose. I don't think anything here in the islands is going to compare with some of the MTB meccas in the states. That being said, I'm still bringing back my bike next week. The roads on the north side of St. Thomas are more technical than the fire roads and trails I rode in the Chicago area, where I last lived. And I have found some fairly gnarly fire roads that go down to beaches. It's not going to be the Sierras or the Rockies, but I still want my bike here.
Are they open to all kinds of activities? hiking, horseback riding, mountainbiking? Are part closed for certain activities if they're nature reserve/national park?
There are a good number of trails on St. John. Since most of them seem to be inside the Virgin Islands National Park, this should mean that they're not bike friendly, but I don't know if that's enforced. Hopefully some other locals will chime in here and enlighten us both. I intend to get over there again soon and do some of my own research.
Is it something people are into and do you have (quality) bike repair shops if needed?
There is not much at all in terms of bike shops. There are a couple on St. Croix and I have contacted them about possibly buying a bike here. There is NO bike inventory anywhere here due to the Great COVID Bike Shortage. The guy in ST. Croix said his next new bike delivery would be in 2023. That's why I'm bringing my bike back on the plane from Chicago.
Same question for road race cycling? Is that safe to do on the islands and where can it best be done?
There are groups of road riders on St. Croix and St. Thomas. From what I have read, the only time to road ride on STT is early in the morning. Since I've been driving here for 2 months now, I can honestly say that road riding is gonna be pretty dangerous. I will only ride on the quiet, rocky roads of the north side.
@fandk thanks for the detailed response. I cycled competitively in my late 10s, early 20s in Europe where I grew up. Mountainbiking/cyclo cross was mostly winter training, but you'd get a lot better workout in the same amount of time compared to regular road racing. Still deciding between STT and STX but heavily leaning STX at this point, so I'm not sure how convenient it is to take a bike on the ferry to go bike for 2-2.5hrs on another island.
I have a cyclo cross bike, not a mountainbike so I'm fairly comfortable on forest trails even with good elevation. Not sure if I'd really enjoy very narrow rocky mountain trails where it's a lot of breaking and slow pace technical maneuvering. Also the gears on a cyclo cross bike are a little different from a mountainbike so not sure if my bike would even be suitable for those types of terrains without changing all the gear wheels, but do let me know what your experiences are. Once I move down I might come find you for a ride
The trails on STJ are hiking trails maintained by National Park Service. I don't believe they allow biking but you can check directly with NPS.
The fire roads that fandk mentions are actually old Estate roads.
Our roads on STT aren't exactly user friendly for bike riding. I don't know if STX is a better option.
Here is a Biking Event and I am sure some relevant Bike info could be found too.