A (relatively) easy going, rolling ride through southern Barbados with just one tough climb. You’ll see rural villages, get superb 180 degree views from Coach Hill and St John’s Church and have the opportunity to visit Codrington College too.
Another benefit of this ride is the road surface. The route sticks to the quieter, better paved interior roads rather than following the southern coast road. One of the negatives of riding in Barbados is the quality of the asphalt, but much of this route is in decent shape. As a result you're likely to see other cyclists and triathletes out on the roads, particularly if you're out early (aka dawn).
(Banner photo credit: Kusska/Shutterstock.com)
Route map and profile
Distance: 56 km
Elevation Gain: 520 m
Max Grade: 10.6%
All metrics in this guide are approximate
The climb up Coach Hill is tough, so take 5 minutes at the top to enjoy St John's Parish Church. The church is a perfect slice of Victorian England and the views will stay with you well after the pain of climbing Coach Hill has become a distant memory.
You can read more about what we think of St John's Parish Church here.
1. Dover Beach to Saint Philip: 0-18.5 km
You roll up and away from the coast and are quickly onto a network of small roads that wind between fields of sugar cane and sweet potato.
St Philip Parish Church forms the lynch pin for the figure of eight; you can't miss it, the churchyard is covered in other-worldly looking oak trees.
2. Saint Philip to Saint Philip: 18.5-38.5 km
Shortly after Saint Philip, it comes as a surprise to pass Barbados's only prison. It's on a section of good asphalt too!
You round a small patch of woodland at Three Houses and there's a bit of uphill. Look left and you'll see beautiful Codrington College (read more in our things to do guide).
The uphill is a prelude to the main act: Coach Hill starts about 4km later and is 3 km at around 3-5%. The first 0.5 km is the toughest with gradients at 7-11%. Don't miss a stop at Saint John Parish Church (see our Highlights above).
It's a swift descent back to St Philip Parish Church. Take care at the cross-roads, you'll have built up some speed.
3. Saint Philip to Dover Beach: 38.5-56 km
A quick left, then right in Saint Philip and it's a straight-ish road towards the sea. You pass 17th Century Sunbury Plantation House, so if you're into your history, you could consider calling in (there's also a bar and restaurant). Alternatively, if you prefer to end your ride on a more alcoholic note, just around the corner is Foursquare Rum Distillery.
Before you get to the sea, you cut back southwest, towards the airport. It's some more nice asphalt and a relatively flat run home.
Once you've left Dover Beach, there's little in the way of cafés, bars or shops to sustain you. This part of Barbados doesn't see many tourists, so make sure you carry enough water and provisions.
In better news, help is never too far away. If you find yourself running low, just head south/southeast and you will soon be back in urban areas along the coast where you'll find somewhere to refuel.