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20 World’s Best Cycling Routes That’ll Take Your Breath Away

20 World’s Best Cycling Routes That’ll Take Your Breath Away

Cycling has reached a resurgence in popularity over the past couple of years, with participation increasing both as a mode of transportation and as a leisurely sport. Rising gas prices certainly have contributed to this increased participation as well.However, bikers often say that they get bored on familiar routes. The flowers on the side of the road begin to look the same, and the it makes the ride feel stagnant. Let’s fight this feeling by taking a look at 20 of the world’s best cycling routes.

1. Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

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    If you are in New Zealand and looking for the ideal place to cycle, Otago Peninsula is the place. The peninsula, coming with great views of the ocean, has terrain that is comfortable for both the beginner and the experienced a like. Otago isn’t influenced by the nearby city of Dunedin, meaning you are truly able to breath and focus on biking.

    2. County Clare, Ireland

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      Unlike Otago Peninsula, County Clare is a cycling route that allows you to enjoy some pitstops along the way. You are able to cycle through cities including towns including Ennis on the same cycling path as various beaches. This is a route that is quite popular in the summer, so if you are going to make a visit, plan well in advance.

      3. San Juan Islands, United States; WA

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        Biking on an island is truly a unique experience for many cyclists. We included a couple on this list, however San Juan Island off Washington is truly spectacular. Accessibly via the Washington State Ferry, San Juan removes you away from the Washington mainland, offering you the ability to also witness the various sea life of the Pacific.

        4. La Farola, Cuba

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          Have spectacular views of the sea and cliffs while riding on this Cuban highway. The sight of the Cuban Tour de France, Vuelta Ciclista Cuba held every February, La Farola gives you true off-the-beaten-path biking in a very unique country. While Cuba works to build it’s touristic image, enjoy this route that, while not particularly difficult, isn’t novice-geared.

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          5. Cape Breton, Canada

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            You will certainly have a beautiful sight for your eyes when you bike along Cape Breton. Located in Nova Scotia, you are able to enjoy the beautiful foliage in the Fall and roaring sea in the summer. Again, another biking route that has the hills that attracts the experienced, Cape Breton is certainly going to give you a workout. Make it a point to enjoy views of the lighthouse and the best of Canadian fauna of moose and deer while taking in the Cape Breton trail.

            6. Mont Ventoux, France

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              The major appeal of this biking trail is the fact that whenever you are able to access it, you know you’ll have a bike ride with great views of vineyards and great weather. A part of the Tour de France route, Mont Ventoux is only accessible in the summer and spring, being blocked by snow five months out of the year. This is truly on the lists of the most avid cyclists.

              7. Isle of Wight, Great Britain

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                The Isle of Wight is certainly a biking trail made for just about anyone. The terrain is a mixture of both flat, accessible trails and rolling, challenging hills. Previously ignored by much of the region, the Isle of Wight is now on the map for its biking trails, meaning you’ll definitely encounter a fair amount of restaurants and special events to attend.

                8. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

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                  Located in the Australian south-east, The Great Ocean Road is a winding road of wetland views, all ending with the spectacular Bells Beach. Starting in Torquay, you’ll find that the accessible ride takes you to the famous beach by the days end, given some reasonable rest breaks.

                  9. Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

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                    Located on the largest lake in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is as tranquil as the name gives off. From the lakeside views to the Spring time Cherry Blossoms, you’ll find that Sun Moon is a relaxing day bike trip, rather than an intense work out. This is great, making it welcoming for a group with varying experience.

                    10. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Canada/United States

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                      If you are looking for an intense path, one where you can challenge yourself more than challenging your buddies, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is what you need to tackle. Stretching from New Mexico, USA to Alberta, Canada, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is officially the longest biking trail in the world. This is a trail you should train and aspire for, making it only for a subgroup of the experienced. But anyone can train themselves for this route if you truly want to conquer it.

                      11. Karakoram Highway, China/Pakistan

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                        Despite the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail being the longest biking trail in the world, the Karakoram Highway between China and Pakistan highest road in the world with the highest altitude being well over 4000 kilometres. This highway is peppered with views of the beautiful glaciers and mountains that come with a biking trail in such a high elevation. Care should be taken when doing any strenuous activity in such high elevation.

                        12. Route 10, Holland

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                          Holland, especially Amsterdam, is known as one of the best places to be a biker in the world. This makes it no surprise that Route 10 biking trail makes the list. From windmills and tulips to canals and city centres, the whole city of Amsterdam is technically one of the best cycling trails in the world.

                          13. Molesworth Road, New Zealand

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                            A great challenge awaits you with the Molesworth Road trail in New Zealand. The trail extends 320 km and is only open four months a year (December 28th – April 1st). Despite this, it isn’t a one-day task but your efforts will be well worth it in the end, with various beautiful sights, and even a hot spring on the way.

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                            14. Udaipur, India

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                              What I love most about Udaipur is that it feels as at home as a biking trail can feel. Instead of your encounters being either big cities as with many Dutch biking trails, or animals like in Canada, but you actually encounter Indian residents who live on the Udaipur trail. Not only people, but various villages. As a result, you get a truly grassroots experience of India.

                              15. Route of the Hiawatha, United States; ID/MT

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                                This bike trail is a converted railroad track, all with various tunnels, paths, and an extra long trail pictured above, that is surrounded by trees. The Route of the Hiawatha, named after an Iroquois American-Indian leader, is well secluded but still quite enjoyable,family friendly, and relaxing.

                                16. Salzach Valley, Austria

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                                  Salzach is your quintessential Austrian bike trail, complete with beautiful meadows and mountains as a backdrop. You will find that along this trail, there are various sites to be seen. This is truly a bike trail you’re expected to make multiple pitstops on. From Salzburg to the Tauern National Park, they are all found along this trail.

                                  17. Route des Grand Crus, France

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                                    Route des Grand Crus, which translates to “Road of the Great Wines”, is located in France’s wine countryside of Burgundy. The biking trail will pass by various luscious vineyards, with various opportunities to sample France’s most famous foods (wines and cheeses). Just make sure you don’t drink too much while biking, stay safe!

                                    18. Dordogne Valley, France

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                                      Biking through Dordogne Valley of France, located in southwestern France, is known for the various villages that are included in the area. You’ll find various famous chateaux sprinkled around the region. In true French fashion, you’ll never be too far from great wine and cheese. The Bergerac wine region encompasses Dordogne.

                                      19. P’tit Train du Nord, Canada

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                                        Known as a linear park, P’tit Train du Nord is accessible for any biking level. The light biking trail passes beautiful foliage and crystal clear water. The Canadian bike train, in the province of Montreal, includes the Mont-Tremblant resort, which can be a great end stop for your biking adventures with your family.

                                        20. Easter Island, Chile

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                                          Easter Island may seem like an unlikely biking route, due too how it is famous for Moai, or large statue structures. However, Easter Island is very mountain bike friendly and is an easy trail for the most part. While you wouldn’t come to Easter Island just to bike, especially with the cost of coming to the Island, but it is a great addition to your trip if you are a cyclist.

                                          The Sun Moon Lake bike trail is one of the bike trails I liked the most out of the trails mentioned on this list. Let me know in the comments below which trail you preferred. I’d love to hear your opinion.

                                          Featured photo credit: BBC via ichef.bbci.co.uk

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                                          Published on November 14, 2018

                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                          Symptoms of Fatigue

                                          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                          • mental blocks
                                          • lack of motivation
                                          • headache
                                          • dizziness
                                          • muscle weakness
                                          • slowed reflexes and responses
                                          • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                          • moodiness, such as irritability
                                          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                          • reduced immune system function
                                          • blurry vision
                                          • short-term memory problems
                                          • poor concentration
                                          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                          Causes of Fatigue

                                          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                          Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                          Anemia

                                          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                          Diabetes

                                          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                          Sleep Apnea

                                          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                          Thyroid disease

                                          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                          • Lack of sleep
                                          • Too much sleep 
                                          • Alcohol and drugs 
                                          • Sleep disturbances 
                                          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                          • Poor diet 

                                          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                          1. Tell The Truth

                                          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                          • How you feel
                                          • What time of day it is
                                          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                          • How your mind and body reacts

                                          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                          2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                          4. Express More Gratitude

                                          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                          5. Focus On Yourself

                                          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                          7. Take a Power Nap

                                          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                          8. Take More Exercise

                                          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                          9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                          10. Improve Your Diet

                                          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                          12. Get Hydrated

                                          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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