Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeDiariesTrinidad & Tobago - Day Eleven, a Lap of Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Eleven, a Lap of Tobago


Much of the Trinidad & Tobago ‘Soca’ music is topical, dealing with social issues like drugs and gang violence; political, blaming the politicians for high prices and squandering public funds or be-rating certain ethnic groups – I’m not sure a lot of it would get played in the UK.

‘Mad man’s rant’ is blasting from the Colt’s stereo, we have the windows down to let the cool air rush in, Pete’s at the wheel and Andreas Muller sits smiling contentedly in the back – all’s well in Tobago.

Our morning mission was to take Leif to the supermarket and pick up his bikes ready for them to go on the ferry to Trinidad.

Leif has his girlfriend and family members over, they’re staying in a rented villa in Tobago and Leif will travel in at the last minute to ride Saturday’s crit in Port of Spain.

Leif shopped, Andreas made good use of the villa’s swimming pool and Pete took me to Store Bay to see where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean.

Trinidad & Tobago
Store Bay.

The north side of Tobago sits on the Caribbean, whilst the south side catches the bigger breakers from the South Atlantic – at the eastern and western tips of the island, the sea meets the ocean.

Trinidad & Tobago
Lifeguard post.
Trinidad & Tobago
Why they have lifeguards.

Bob Marley’s face is everywhere in Tobago, and Store Bay is no exception – the towels bearing his image are coolly kitsch or ghastly, depending on your point of view.

Trinidad & Tobago
Cool or horrid – you be the judge.

We also got a skek at the current ‘must have’ Tobago wheels, man; the Nissan ‘Cube.’

Trinidad & Tobago
As the name suggests, it has a very square ‘boxy’ shape and looks like a child’s image of a car, but it’s cool.

All manner of customisation takes place, blacked out windows, lowered suspension, lights under the cills, additional valances below the rear bumper, over-size wheels with ultra low profile rubber – and if you’re real cool, giant Kalashnikov decals.

Shopping done, bikes dropped, it was time for the main event – a loop round Tobago in the hire car.

Where in the world we are.
Where in the world we are.
Trinidad & Tobago
Head east, and it all calms down.

Scarborough, the capital is hectic – crowds, open air stalls, music, cars, guys drinking beer on the bar patios, shapely girls promenading.

Trinidad & Tobago
The cat. from Scarborough to Port of Spain.

But head east and it all calms down, the road chases the Atlantic coast, the views are stunning and if it wasn’t for the breeze it would be brutally hot.

Cars quietly rust away; moored boats have rods and lines set waiting for a bite; traffic is light and bars have doors and windows open to catch the breeze.

Trinidad & Tobago
Quietly rusting away.

We pulled in for a Carib at an ocean side bar and typical of all good Tobago bars, the brew was ice cold.

Despite their preeminent position as the island’s top beer; Carib never ease up on the marketing – there are Carib posters, banners, giant inflatable bottles and signs everywhere.

Trinidad & Tobago
You’re never far from a Carib.

Betsey’s Hope was a good photo opportunity, complete with cannon and vandalised phone.

Trinidad & Tobago
Pete in broken phone foto op.
Trinidad & Tobago
Pete’s on a cannon.

Betsey was a slave woman who was into the voodoo and fixed it so that the slave master’s wives felt the pain if the slaves received beatings – spooky!

The vistas became ever more spectacular – and the photo-ops kept coming, Pete the lifeguard, Pete the goat herd…

Trinidad & Tobago
Pete the life guard foto op.
Trinidad & Tobago
Pete the goat herd foto op.

At Speyside, the cool Rasta guy took time off from renovating his bar – with it’s wonderful views across the bay – to make us fruit smoothies; ‘I don’t use ordinary water, dat’s coconut water,‘ we believed him, they were amazing.

The view takes in Goat Island and Little Tobago Island – the former is where James Bond creator, Ian Fleming had a house; it’s clearly visible from the beach.

Trinidad & Tobago
James Bond was created here.
Trinidad & Tobago
Looking down on Charlotteville.

Just past Speyside, the road rears north across the ridge to find the Caribbean near Charlotteville.

Pete took us to a view point at a communications mast, high above the road.

Trinidad & Tobago
To the left, the Atlantic, to the right, the Caribbean – stunning.

The climbs on this road are savage, many of them are used in the Tobago Classic (Tour of Tobago), a five day stage race which takes place through the end of September to the start of October.

Trinidad & Tobago
It’s pretty hilly round on the island.

MotorPoint’s Pete Williams (who won the 2009 Drummond Trophy) won last year – big boned sprinters need not apply.

Stunning vista follows stunning vista, the bamboo grows beside the road and all of a sudden – there’s Glasgow.

Trinidad & Tobago
Well, the ‘Glasgow Bar’ with a view that would cost a fortune in Europe.

And yes, they do stock Tunnocks caramel wafers.

Trinidad & Tobago
Just gorgeous.

‘Englishman’s Bay’ is off the main drag, but Pete knows the ropes here and we were soon sitting in the elevated dining room eating fish and chips as the warm waters lapped at the beach, behind us.

Trinidad & Tobago
Englishman’s bay.

Up at Moriah, we missed our turn for Plymouth and ended up in Mason Hall.

Between Mason Hall and the main Claude Noel Highway, we saw one – hand painted – road sign.

We guess the thinking is that the locals know where they’re going and if fool tourists are using the roads, then they should have a local guide.

We headed for Mount Irvine Bay so as Pete could have a dook (that’s a swim to non-Fife readers) and we could watch the sunset.

Trinidad & Tobago
Time for a swim.

The sunset was beautiful, not as nice as an Ullapool sunset but not bad at all for the Caribbean.

Trinidad & Tobago
Not bad – for the Caribbean!
Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Three, Queens Park Circuit Race

The trouble with getting up before 06:00 and not getting to bed 'til 01:45 is that by the time the next day - that's today, comes around, it seems like last year. And today is the circuit race at Queens Park.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Thirteen, the Last Day, Palo Seco Track Meet

There was racing at the Palo Seco Track Meet, but first... It was Martha and the Vandellas who sang about, "Dancin' in the Street" - it happens for real in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. Outside the Coco Lounge the guys go into clinches with their girls on the pavement, one even has his black beauty do a couple of twirls.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Four, Walter Perez goes for Ice Cream!

I took in excess of 200 shots at the race on Wednesday night, that takes a bit of editing; and the minute folks see you with a camera, they want pics too - still, if it means you get Olympic Madison Champion Walter Perez's email address, then it's not so bad.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Seven, Taking Stock

All night drive-in pharmacies here in Trinidad & Tobago aren't really the place cyclists should be seen at gone midnight, but Leif liked the 'skin powder' the Red Cross guys used on his abrasions so much that we had to pop in and see if we could get some more. They didn't have any, but it was another one for my 'experiences' file.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Ten, Dwight Yorke Stadium Criterium

We race at the Dwight Yorke Stadium today. "Abraham takes on the world," said the headline in Thursday's paper; USA, Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - that's not a bad cross section. But did he beat the world here in Trinidad & Tobago? All will be revealed.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Eight, Off to Tobago

If you want to escape from politics, Trinidad & Tobago ain't the place to come. In Rituals coffee shop they have the novel idea of screening the News channel, where politicians pontificate endlessly about the upcoming election (sound familiar, folks in the UK?) whilst 'New country' wails from the PA.

At Random

Scottish 50 Mile TT Championships 2012 – Iain Grant gives it “11 out of 10”!

On a typical wet and miserable Fife Sunday morning, Dooleys' 41 year-old former duathlete Iain Grant made up for his one second defeat in the Scottish 10 Mile Championship with a sparkling 1:49:00 over the longer distance at the Scottish 50 Mile TT Championships, putting him 2:24 clear of Sean Childs (RNRMCA) and 2:55 up on defending champion Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace).

Guy East – The American Pro Crazy About the Six Days

When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them... A man who we've had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America's Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.

Callum Johnston – Inside the Baby Giro

The last time we spoke to Callum Johnston he’d just completed his first season in Italy under the tutelage of that colourful gentleman, Flavio Zappi. This year Callum has stepped up a level on squadra Zappi and was Scotland’s sole representative in the ‘Baby’ Giro d’Italia – a race which boasts on it’s role of honour names like Carlos Betancur, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni and Marco Pantani. We caught up with Callum after his ride to get the insider story of what is, along with the Tour de L’Avenir, the biggest u23 stage race in the world.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 6; Sassano – Monte Cassino, 247 km. The Aussies Push On

Already the ‘Forum Sitters’ are telling us that it was ‘unsporting’ of Evans and Matthews to take advantage of the mayhem which again reigned on the slopes of Cassino as two simultaneous crashes brought down droves of riders when they braked into a roundabout and left a group of eight clear at the front at the very foot of the ascent to the Abbey. Evans and Matthews both had two team mates with them who rode themselves into the ground to build an advantage.

Tour de Trossachs 2012 – “It’s not a competition anymore…”

'It's not a competition any more, it's a personal time trial,' the words of Tour de Trossachs organiser, Janette Hazlett after she had to void the result, following a serious crash. David Clark of the Stowmarket & District CC was involved in what appeared to us to be a head on collision with a car on the Loch Venachar road and had to be helicoptered to hospital.

Bob Chadwick – Riding in the Service of Thurau and Schuiten

Most will have forgotten that Bob Chadwick rode for the mighty and still revered TI-Raleigh team of Peter Post which rode beautiful bicycles made with pride and precision in Nottingham - not churned out of moulds in the Far East. Four decades have passed and it's still debated; 1970’s Raleigh - was their legendary manager, the late Peter Post anti-British or just anti-failure? We decided to ask Bob his opinion on the matter.