If you are one of those people who use their bike for more than simple commuting, you must have wondered what the most attractive cycling routes are. Needless to say, the answer to this question depends on many things. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not every environment is equally pleasing to everyone. However, there are some routes for cyclists that are universally regarded as inspiring and breath-taking. Here is a short list with some of them:
The Friendship Highway (China)
Let’s start with the highest one, stretching from the Tibetan city of Lhasa to the Nepalese border. It’s around 500 miles long and only the fittest and most enduring cyclist can tackle it. Apart from the problem with cycling at high altitudes, there’s an issue with the sensitive political situation in Tibet and you’d need to get a special permit and visa to visit it. However, if you manage to sort everything out and feel ready to hit the road, you’ll be treated with some of the most awe-inspiring views and many religious and cultural wonders, such as Lhasa and Gyantse. When you reach the end of the road, you’ll have to deal with what is possibly the world’s longest descent, a 3,500-meter drop off the edge of the Tibetan plateau.
La Ruta de los Conquistadores (Costa Rica)
Equally challenging, but much shorter is this route from the Pacific to Caribbean coasts. What awaits those who tackle this route is a combination of coffee plantations, rainforests and mud paths. Each November, the bravest cyclists cover this route in three days as part of the annual mountain bike race. The ride was named after the 16th-century Spanish conqueror Juan de Cavallon, which means you can follow the route like he and many other conquistadors did centuries ago.
North Sea Cycle Route (Europe)
The NSCR is the longest signposted cycle route in the world, covering almost 3,800 miles from the northern edge of Scotland’s Shetland Islands along the coasts of Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Even though you might think that no-one is adventurous enough to tackle the whole route, you’d be surprised. Naturally, they do it in stages, mainly during summers, since every other season would be too cold. This route is excellent for various types of bikes, including the increasingly popular Bosch eBikes, since it boasts stretches of different levels of difficulty.
The Shimanami Kaido (Japan)
If you ever find yourself in Japan and you are a keen cyclist, it would be a pity not to explore this route. Being quite short (just over 40 miles), it is also a great opportunity to take your kids along if they share your passion. Its great advantage is that is completely separated from the road. Instead, it meanders across a number of amazing islands in the Hiroshima prefecture. Even if you don’t have your bike with you, you can rent one at some of the many points along the path.
The South Downs Way (England)
This 100-mile long route goes through some of the most idyllic English countryside, but you have to be ready to pedal a lot, since there’s a substantial amount of uphill riding. You also need to be ready to share the path with hikers, walkers and horse riders, but that’s just part of the overall appeal. One of the best features are the many pubs in picturesque villages along the way, where you can stop and refresh. So, take your time and allow yourself a chance to absorb as much as you can.
Highlands to the coast, Madagascar
This slightly more exotic route starts in the capital city of Antananarivo and ends in Mahavelona, a nice coastal town. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll see some rare tropical birds and the endemic lemur as you ride along this path.
Whichever route you chose, you need to be sure your bike is in perfect condition and that you can handle such challenges. So, pick your favourite and enjoy the ride!
This post is contributed by Diana Smith, she is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home design and latest DIY projects. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.