Embracing the slower pace of life that has been unexpectedly thrust upon the world, reconnecting with the wild outdoors and staying active is going to be popular as we move through 2021. Cycling is a brilliant way to combine these with travel, allowing riders to engage with a destination on a deeper level. Here are five worldwide cycling routes, hand-picked and perfect for exploring on two wheels…
Kamiichi Town and Three Star Road, Japan
Toyama Prefecture offers the best of both worlds, with both coastal splendour and dramatic mountain scenery. The rural town of Kamiichi lies at the base of the Tateyama mountain range, offering beautiful views of the mountains in the distance.
Bicycle based visitors can explore the area along a 12-mile round-trip cycle route which starts and ends at Kamiichi Station. The route takes in the Joyama park with its natural spring-fed by snowmelt from the mountains and the ancient Oiwasan Nissekiji Temple with its giant carved statue of Fudo Myoo.
Sengankei Valley, a hidden valley leading to Nissekiji Temple and Ganmokuzan Ryusenji Temple, is also accessible along the route, before the 20-30 minute final leg back to Kamiichi Station for a well-earned rest.
This route offers a wonderful balance of authentic Japanese scenery and culture, at whatever pace suits you.
Moorea Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Moorea island, located just 10 miles from the coast of Tahiti, comes complete with a ring road around the exterior which makes for a perfect cycling route, winding past pineapple plantations and overwater bungalows.
Hidden beaches and hole-in-the-wall cafes make for a perfect excuse to stop and admire the scenery before continuing on your journey.
Those looking to kick things up a gear can take to the inside island tracks which tackle steep inclines and dirt tracks for a more challenging ride. Head towards any of the numerous peaks and the views from the top will be well worth it, as you take a breather while gazing across the lagoon.
Located at the confluence of three rivers, Pittsburgh benefits from an abundance of wide-open spaces. Home to 165 parks, 24 miles of riverfront trails and a citywide cycling initiative dedicated to improving the city’s inner-city cycle lanes, Pittsburgh is undoubtedly a destination for those that enjoy outdoor recreation. With Laurel Highlands and Butler County both just an hour out of the city, options abound.
The 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage in Pittsburgh soars over valleys, snakes around mountains, and skirts alongside the three rivers (the Casselman, Youghiogheny, and Monongahela, as you ask) on its nearly level path.
Cyclists pass through the Cumberland Narrows along a disused rail line that once transported steel out of the city. Weave through the breathtaking Laurel Highlands and journey through the region’s coal, mining, and steel-making corridor before ending at the majestic Point State Park.
For those looking to make more of a pedal-power road trip, The Great Allegheny Passage connects with the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland to create a 334.5-mile route between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.
Free from traffic and with many places to stop along the way, you can combine a love of cycling and travel with away from the everyday, hectic pace of modern life.
Located on the Balkan Peninsula and surrounded by natural beauty, Montenegro offers big experiences in a small and accessible environment.
With its name literally translated as Black Mountain, Montenegro is home to five national parks.
Quaint old coastal towns, towering mountains, scenic beaches and bays are all in close proximity to each other, helping to keep travel times to a minimum. Montenegro’s spectacular mountain pass, Jezerski Vrh, is one of many cycling routes for adrenaline junkies worldwide to seek out – a steep, old road snakes and bends through trees, teeters over cliff edges and rises to an altitude of over 1,660m.
Intrepid cyclists on this route will see their efforts rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of the breathtaking peak.
There are many different cycle routes across Morocco offering a different perspective on what this wonderful country has to offer.
Multi-cultural influences and natural wonders, from giant sand dunes to canyons, abound. There are numerous cycle routes across the Sahara desert, with organised cycle tours available.
While cycling across Morocco on two wheels, cyclists can see worldwide sights in one place, from desert sands to snow-capped mountains, red cliff gorges to seaside paths and routes with hairpin turns and alpine passes.
Starting out in Marrakech, popular routes circle the country through Tangier, Chefchaouen, medieval Fes, the cool of the High Atlas Mountains and the heat of the Sahara, and the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou.