Go For A Ride Day, on November 22nd, encourages people to get out into the world and enjoy the journey. And what better way to take a journey than by bike?
Cycling holidays are one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new country. You’re not sealed off inside a car, but you can cover a lot more ground than on foot.
To inspire you to get on your bike, here are five of the world’s best cycling routes to explore.
Confederation Trail, Canada
Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island is home to the 290-mile-long Confederation Trail. It’s built on a former railway line, with gentle gradients (nothing above 2%) so is ideal for beginners and families. The route runs through peaceful countryside past rivers, meadows and woodlands. There are plenty of small villages where you can stop off and try some of the ‘Garden of the Gulf’s famous lobster and mussels. And if you want to head a bit further afield, the trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail – so when it’s finished in 2017, you’ll be able to cycle 14,000 miles from one side of Canada to the other.
Danube Trail, Europe
Europe’s most famous long-distance cycling route runs along the banks of the River Danube. The river flows for 1,800 miles through 10 countries from Germany to the Black Sea. But the most popular stretch for cycling is the 200 miles from Nassau in Germany to Vienna in Austria. The route runs on paved pathways along the riverside than run slightly downhill all the way, so it’s another trail that’s good for beginners. It passes through plenty of pretty scenery, with vineyards and forests along the route. But there’s also a lot to see off the bike – like Roman ruins, abbeys, churches, museums and medieval castles.
The San Juan Islands, USA
Combine cycling with island-hopping on a bike tour of Washington’s San Juan Islands. In between Seattle and Vancouver, there are 100 islands to choose from. Three of them are most popular for cyclists, and each has a different landscape to explore. Lopez Island is the flattest and easily cycleable in a day. San Juan is a bit tougher with 43 miles of trails crossing the island. Mountain bikers should head to Orcas Island for tough tracks and panoramic views across the island from Mount Constitution; after cycling the 730 metres to the top, it’ll take your breath away in more ways than one.
National Highway 1, Vietnam
Running the whole length of the country, National Highway 1 stretches for over 1,400 miles along Vietnam’s coastline. It winds its way past rice fields, rural hamlets, Imperial cities and sandy beaches. En route, don’t miss the historic city of Hué, beautiful Chinese-style Hoi An and the beach resort of Nha Trang. There are a few leg-testing stretches along the way, like the 496-metre-high Hai Van Pass; with its stunning views of pine-covered mountain peaks on one side, and the South China Sea on the other. Or if that sounds a bit too energetic, stick to the flatter lowlands of the Mekong Delta.
Munda Biddi Trail, Australia
If all that road cycling sounds a bit easy, then head off the beaten track on Western Australia’s Munda Biddi Trail. Stretching around 600 miles from Perth to Albany it’s the world’s longest off-road cycle track. It’s name means ‘path through the forest’ in the local Aboriginal language, and it cuts through a wilderness of thick eucalyptus forests. There’s a mix of gravelly forestry tracks and dusty mountain bike paths, with steep switchbacks taking you up above the river valleys. The route passes by a few small towns and there are campsites and huts along the way.
So if you’re on holiday for Go For A Ride Day this year, why not grab a bike and explore in a completely different way.