Questions and Answers
Some questions and answers below: (If you have other questions that are relevant please post them in the comment section and we will post responses).
When is Empowerment Challenge for 2016?
We are planning to have it in February 7th to Feb 14th
How much does it cost?
The cost is $2000 total and you are welcome to raise more funds to help the Empowerment International Educational Program. The fundraisers who earn the most will receive prizes by our sponsors.
How far is it?
We will be riding 6 days approximately 50 km per day. Some days will be flatter, and some will include lots of climbing and descending.
How technical is the riding?
The riding will vary from dirt roads, to cow paths to pedestrian foot paths and sometimes asphalt. An intermediate biker will not find the riding too technical.
Will I have to camp?
Each rider will have a clean, comfortable bed in local lodging.
Do I have to share a room?
Yes, hotels and options will be limited due to the remoteness of portions of the trip, thus making it necessary to partner up if you are not traveling as a couple. Note: we will help match you if you do not have a friend or partner joining you. In past years there has never been as issue with this.
Do I need to get shots?
We recommend you consult with your family physician and review the CDC website for the latest recommendations. Definitely come prepared with mosquito repellant.
Is Nicaragua safe?
Nicaragua is considered to be one of the safest countries in the region. While extremely impoverished, the crime rate is the lowest in all of Latin America (including Costa Rica). In general, if there is crime, it is non-confrontational thievery.
Can I volunteer for the ride and participate?
While we welcome interested volunteers to apply this will not waive the necessary donations that will be needed to be raised participate. Remember, while this is a lot of fun, it is also a fund-raising ride. This is a step to further our sustainable approach in earning funds for the Empowerment International programs. We have over 300 children that count on us and we can only be there for them if we have funds to support our programs.
Do I need to bring my own bike or can I rent one?
Finding high quality lightweight bikes that fit used to be a challenge in Nicaragua. There are places that do rent bikes if this is really an option you wish to choose, remember you will be on that bike for a long time. You will definitely be more comfortable with your own bike and you can bring your bike on the plane. Another option, which has helped us with the bikes we currently have, is to purchase a decent older used bike. Ride it and then donate it or if you are almost ready to upgrade your bike you an leave it here after you ride and get a tax deduction. Check with your airline for current fees, most are $100 to $200 each way.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Speaking Spanish, which is the native language will indeed make your trip a bit more pleasurable, it is not essential. There will be people available to help you if you need translations and in general it is amazing how much fun communication can become when creativity sets in to bridge the communication gap. So either way, don’t worry! You will get to interact and you will not feel silly.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, you’ll need a valid passport with an expiration date six months beyond your trip’s return date.
Do I need a visa?
There is no visa application required for US or Canadian citizens. You will be issued a tourist card when you arrive at the airport which will be valid for 90 days. (US$10 cash)
What airport should I fly into?
What kind of snacks can I buy during the ride?
We will do our best to offer fruits, water, and other snacks. There will be some items for sale such as nuts, cookies, granola bars and chips. There will also be some juices and Gatorade when possible. If you wish to have other snacks for the ride we recommend you bring them since the selection in Nicaragua is very limited.
Do I need panniers?
No, in general you will not need to carry your gear except for water (which you will be able to refill during the ride at least once and more likely 3-4 times a day) and snacks. We will have a support vehicle that will carry one small bag per person (small backpack size only!). We do recommend bringing a camelback and at least one water bottle.
More questions? Please feel free to ask!