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
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
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
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
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.
5. Cape Breton, Canada
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
14. Udaipur, India
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
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
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
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
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
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
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