When the weather is fair and you’re feeling fit, there’s no better way to get out and see the world than on your bike. It gives you the chance to get up close to things as you would on foot, but you can cover much more ground and experience the sunlight, the weather and the scents of a new landscape in ways you never could in a car. There are cycle routes around the world that will fill you with wonder, so why not get out there and explore?
Getting ready to go
Taking on a route like this does require some preparation. You’ll need to be in shape, so it’s advisable to spend a couple months eating healthily and building yourself up with lengthy regular rides before you go. You’ll also need to be well organized when it comes to the things you take with you. Some of these routes will take you into the middle of nowhere, so you’ll need to be self-sufficient. That means taking a first aid kit and good quality support wear, which is available in a range of men’s sizes, including compression shorts men can use to decrease the risk of muscle strain injury. You’ll need sturdy containers for water and water purification tablets, a decent store of emergency rations, a flashlight and an emergency foil blanket to protect you from the cold (even if you’re going somewhere that’s usually hot). You’ll also need a well-stocked bike repair kit. Make sure you take the right kind of bike for the route you’ll be tackling.
La Route des Grandes Alpes, France
If you feel ready for a cycling challenge, why not start with one of the most famous ones in the world? Stretching along 400 miles of road from Lake Geneva to the shores of the Mediterranean, it takes in one of the most challenging climbs frequently featured in the Tour de France and gives you the chance to enjoy some stunning views as you cycle through deep gorges and broad Alpine meadows, past the ruins of Medieval churches and sparkling waterfalls, and through thick forests that look like something out of a Grimm’s fairy tale.
Shimanami Kaido, Japan
When we think of Japan we often think first of its teeming cities, but the wild beauty of its smaller islands has to be seen to be believed. This 43-mile road, largely composed of interlinking bridges, keeps cars and bikes quite separate so you can relax as you ride and make the most of views across land and sea. It runs from Honshu to Shikoko through several small towns, and you can take in the Hirayama Museum and the beautiful temple of Konsanji along the way. You don’t even need to take your own bike as it’s easy to hire one when you get there.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
If you enjoy mountain biking on rough terrain and you want to test your skills in a place where thrills are guaranteed, Torres del Paine National Park is a real treat. Your fitness will really be tested by the thin air in some of the higher areas but it’s quite something to look down on clouds and rainbows, and for every tough ascent there’s an exciting charge back down the slopes. There are three different routes available, the most challenging of which is the single track, which runs past snow-capped mountains and takes an average of three days to traverse.
The Hebridean Way cycling route, Scotland
Scotland offers some remarkable cycling routes, but the Hebridean Way will carry you into territory you might not have imagined as you travel between islands with rugged peaks and idyllic white sandy beaches. Stretching from Vatersay to Lewis with a little help from ferries, it will carry you along low ridges and over gently rolling hills, and give you the chance to see Medieval churches, ancient brochs and cairns and the famous Calanais standing stones where, on midsummer’s day, the sun never quite sets.
The Blue Tier Trail, Australia
Located on the balmy southern island of Tasmania, the Blue Tier Trail runs through temperate rainforest and open scrubland full of stunning rock formations. It’s mostly downhill so it might sound like an easy ride, but the uneven nature of the terrain and the several creeks you’ll need to cross mean you’ll still have to keep your wits about you. Quite a bit of technical skill is needed. Around 50 miles in length if you explore all the connected routes, but a fast ride, this trail will carry you into areas that feel truly wild.
These and more great cycle routes are out there waiting for you, so what are you waiting for?