Written by Brittany Greer, Photos by Ian Forhman
There’s nothing more soul inspiring than combining two of your favorite things in life: travelling and mountain biking. Backshop’s Guatemala experience is a fusion of adventure, rich culture, exotic foods, and pure bike bliss.
Last fall, I made the sudden (and undoubtedly wise) decision to jump aboard Backshop’s mountain bike trip in Antigua, Guatemala. It was my first trip to foreign lands with my beloved mountain bike (other than Canada); an experience that every biker should have. I went in with zero expectations and was beyond amazed at the enriching outcome.
I was slightly apprehensive of the “guided” format since I typically go for the “fly by the seat of your pants” type travel. Backshop however, was a perfect balance of the two. Unlike many other guided trips, we got to decide what we (or rather our physical bodies) were up for and how we wanted our trip to take shape. As a Backshop client, you have the freedom of choice but also the freedom to relax and let someone else take the logistical reigns. Never once did we worry about transportation, getting lost, language barriers, safety, finding trails or any other hassles. We all know how logistics and too much planning can take some of the fun away from traveling. Imagine completely removing that element and having the freedom to focus your energies on what you love and are there to do…BIKE!
Every morning after a hearty breakfast and some of the world’s best coffee (fresh from the source), we’d load up the van for the day’s mission ahead. Each day’s ride was a short drive away and almost always included a shuttle to the top. The most memorable trail was Volcan Agua. The 20+ mile descent consists of so many remarkable terrains like foggy dark jungles with thick vines, and lush green fields of vibrant Guatemalan flora. Also never to be forgotten was the cultural and charming descent on the old Mayan pathways down into the lakeside town of Santa Catarina. And if you’re really looking for a challenge, the local DH trails at Naciones Unidos are full of 10+ foot double jumps and technical rock gardens that will make even the best riders feel humbled. Mountain biking isn’t popular among the locals, but the handful of Guatemalans that shred certainly keep the trails alive!
And the food! Let’s be real, food is one of the single greatest components of traveling! One of life’s greatest pleasures is to enrich your palate with bold and zesty flavors of foods that you can’t even pronounce. Backshop’s personal chef not only fit in with the crew and became like family, but she also created the most delicious and hearty meals. She was nutrition minded and shopped at the local organic farm daily in preparation for our feasts. She knew we were bikers and intuitively knew what foods we needed to fuel our passion. Everything she made was truly exquisite!
Antigua, Guatemala truly has it all. Whether you want to kick back, explore a new culture, drink the world’s best coffee, or bike your heart out, Backshop will make sure you get it!