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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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                                          Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                                          8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                          8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                          In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                          Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                          Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                          Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                          Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                          The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                          There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                          How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                          According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                          Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                          Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                          The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                          Listen carefully:

                                          We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                          The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                          Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                          8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                          There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                          Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                          1. Pray Daily

                                          You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                          When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                          Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                          Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                          2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                          A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                          By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                          Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                          If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                          This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                          How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                          3. Smile Often

                                          Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                          Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                          Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                          The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                          4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                          A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                          When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                          Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                          Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                          5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                          I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                          Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                          What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                          6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                          God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                          I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                          I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                          7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                          You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                          How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                          First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                          If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                          If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                          If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                          Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                          8. Go Exercise

                                          Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                          The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                          You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                          12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                          It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                          Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                          More Resources About Mindfulness

                                          Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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