If you have ever wanted to see the world and its beauty in a new way, cycling is definitely the method by which to discover it. Combine adventure, healthy living and the great outdoors on the experience of a lifetime, and you have travelling by bicycle. What’s more, it’s a method of travel that’s growing in popularity – due to its low transport costs, lack of overhead, camping opportunities and the ability to get off the beaten path.
If you are wondering where to start, it’s easy. Pick a date, save some money, choose your company, a bike, a tent and sleeping bag and a good map and see the world by bicycle.
Cyclists have endless opportunities
Bicycle travelling is very economical. Once you spend money on a good bike and the necessary gear you’ll find costs are minimal. Many good quality bikes can be purchased for less than £100. Many travelling bicyclists choose to camp at official campsites or do wild-camping, but there is always the option of a bed and breakfast and beautiful hotel. Cyclists also tend to cook their own meals, themselves, since this way uses less money than restaurant, cafés and bistros.
The outdoor opportunities are endless. By biking around the world, you will see, do and experience things you would never be able to do by taking the bus, plane or train. Small villages, countryside festivals and random conversations with locals happen quite often while travelling by bicycle. You will learn more about the people and country this way, without even having to stop at tourist centres.
Cycling is an easy way to get out and enjoy fresh air, nature and create memories with friends and family. There are even studies that show those who spend time in the outdoors are happier and have more vitality. They also felt less stressed and more calm.
Travelling by bicycle is one of the, if not the most, environmentally friendly ways to tour and see the world’s cultures and nature. It offers you a different and unique perspective of a country and its people. It is also an activity for all ages. The limitless health benefits reach from youth to adult. Cycling lowers risk of stroke and heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis. Mental health is also improved by this regular activity. It continuously provides a cardio (or aerobic) workout, as well as working your major muscle groups. For those with joint issues, cycling takes weight and pressure off of your leg joints, allowing more freedom of movement and less pain. It is an easy way to get exercise and travel.
You will have to remember, however, that there will be rough and tough days. You will sometimes have to travel in bad weather, into driving wind and pouring rain, with little relief. Gear malfunctions and punctured tires will happen too. Dogs don’t seem to care what country you are from and can cause a little unexpected havoc once in a while. Keep an eye on traffic, as it can be a bit dangerous in areas and although you are travelling, people still need to get to work and go places as usual. Just remember to plan, be prepared and stay aware. It’s all part of travelling by bicycle.
If you are ready to take on this exciting type of adventure, there are several cycling routes that are a must on your list of cycling tours.
The World’s Finest Cycling Routes
From Canada to Vietnam, there are endless suggestions to experience. The La Route Verte in Canada crosses the entire province of Québec and you’ll see wide variations in terrain from the St. Lawrence River to the Laurentides mountains.
If you are into seeing historical sites, you can check out the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route stretching from Alabama, USA, to Ontario, Canada. On the Ruta Austral in Chile, and he Munda Biddi Trail in Australia, you are guaranteed to see beautiful, natural native landscapes and wildlife.
If beaches are your favourite places to visit, why not combine bike and beach? Vietnam’s Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City route has many beaches along the way, but the route is not for the “faint of heart.” The combination of surfaces and natural obstacles provide variety and challenge.
Mountains are on the routes of Gran Fondo Campagnolo in Italy, and Luchon to Bayonne in France. These routes have been used for either mass participation rides and organised races like the Tour de France. Another route that includes an open-ride race is the Cape Argus Pick and Pay Cycle Tour in South Africa. It goes through plenty of hills and “ups and downs” as it moves along the Cape Peninsula. You will see the beautiful coastline and go through the Table Mountain National Park before you finish the biggest open-ride race.
What are the challenges?
Mountains aren’t the only challenge you can face while biking. Coastal winds will make you work and challenge you when you travel along country roads like those in Belgium, along the Vlaanderen Fietsroute. This exciting route is largely closed to traffic.
Speaking of winds, you may encounter some while biking from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the UK. There will be prevailing winds if you are going north to south. There are other places, such as Exmoor National Park, in England, that are perfect for a day adventure, especially if you are new to biking.
The landscapes you will experience here are breathtaking. Planning a small getaway while developing biking skills is a pleasant and stress free way to start. Many official routes will have notes saying what is suitable for your level of cycling. Do some research before deciding on a route, for although your heart may want to try it, some of these journeys can be tricky.
If you are one for adventure, cycling is full of opportunities. You will find yourself being active, reading maps, learning about lands, cultures, weather and always wondering what excitement is waiting for you over the next hill. There is nothing like seeing the world by bicycle. So what are you waiting for? Grab your helmet, bike and shoes and call on a friend to accompany you on your next cycling adventure.