The prestigious National Geographic travel guide, Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, cataloguing the most famous and lesser known trips of a lifetime, picked the World’s Top 10 bike trails on the planet, chosen for their beauty, length and excitement. Here’s a quick recap of these fabulous biking destinations:
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No 1. Route Verte (Canada)
Photo by The Route Verte
“Located in North America, the Route verte criss-crosses Québec from north to south and east to west, lining up more than 4,000 kilometres of biking explorations! This immense bike trail is easy to follow, whether to escape for a few days or for a long trip. From the infinite expanses along the shores of the St. Lawrence River to the spectacular panoramas of the Laurentian Mountains, the Route verte is renowned for its range and scope and the diversity of its scenery.”
Photo by The Route Verte
No 2. Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (U.S.A./Canada)
Photo by Adventure Cycling Association/Dennis Coello
“Upon crossing into Ohio, the route leaves the river to head toward Lake Erie and enters Canada at the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, New York. In Ontario, the route follows the shores of Lake Ontario and ends at Owen Sound, a town founded by freedom seekers in 1857. Owen Sound is located on the southern side of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.”
No 3. Ruta Austral (Chile)
Copyright Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Alexander Wellmann Catalán
“Winding and capricious turns are gone into once the virgin earth; that one that it had to give wounded to the man, which single shared with the river and the mountain. Proud and arrogant, its wild natural beauty seduces with a bit of drunkenness and make us witness, in the silente night, of the incommensurable green greatness of the deep one and the frozen snow.”
No 4. Munda Biddi Trail (Australia)
Copyright Wikimedia Commons, Photo by SeanMack
“The Munda Biddi (which means path through the forest in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language) promises to become a world-class nature-based off-road cycling experience. There are few places left in the world where a 900-kilometre track could be built through an undeveloped natural corridor. Combine Western Australia's vast areas of unspoiled forests and bushland, gentle terrain, and year-round cycling weather, and you have the ideal setting for an off-road cycle trail.”
No 5. Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Copyright GNU Free Documentation License, Photo by Abai2k
“Our cycling tour begins in the capital city of Hanoi, a city of lakes and shaded boulevards, sometimes called the "Paris of the Orient." Exploring Hanoi's intriguing museums, pagodas, the fascinating Temple of Literature and strolling through the historical streets of the Old Quarter will give us a leisurely exposure to the Vietnamese culture and history. From Hanoi, we will fly to one of Vietnam's most beautiful cities, Hue, the old imperial capital with its Forbidden Purple City, former residence of the royal family. After exploring Hue, our cycling adventure takes us south along the coast of the South China Sea to Danang, Hoi An and Nha Trang. We will cycle along a coastline of quaint fishing villages, unspoiled beaches, stunning lagoons, and cross dramatic headlands with spectacular views.”
No 6. Gran Fondo Campagnolo (Italy)
Copyright Sports Tours International
“The Gran Fondo Campagnolo is the Italian version of L’Etape du Tour. It is organised by the U.C. Feltrino with the complete backing of Campagnolo and takes place in the beautiful southern Dolomite region of Italy. The event starts and finishes in the small town of Feltre, and is mountainous, but there is a choice of either 110km Medio Fondo, or the full 208km (Gran Fondo). The full 208km Gran Fondo route now covers 6 mountain passes including the Forchella Franche (992m), Passo Duran (1605m), Forchella Staulanza (1775m), Passo di Valles (2032m), Passo di Rolle (1977m) and the Passo Croce d’Aune (1015m).”
No 7. Luchon/Bayonne (France)
Luchon-Bayonne biking trail has been taking cyclists across the Pyrenees mountains from the towns of Luchon to Bayonne since 1946. After warming up a hundred meters or so, first you’ll have to conquer Peyresourde pass before reaching downhill (17km) the town of Arreau in the valley of Aure. Next milestone: Apsin pass (13 km) will seem a bit longer. Then in the green valley of Saint Marie de Campan, you’ll have to overcome a frequently steep gradient (18 km) with an inclination ranging between 7% to 14% before getting to the top of Tourmalet pass. Next stop: a 38km descent that will take you to Argeles-Gazost and his famous thermal baths. 20 km higher, you’ll be riding through Soulor pass where supplies are waiting. Next landmark: Aubisque pass will seem pretty easy before engaging the last portion of the trail; a 180 km ride that will take you from Bearn to the Pays Basque (Basque Country), going through Osquich pass and riding by quite a few hills before arriving to your final destination: the beautiful town of Bayonne.
No 8. Route du Comte Jean (Belgium/France)
Copyright Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Luc Viatour
No 9. Land’s End/John O’Groats (Britain)
Copyright Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Carcharoth
No 10. Cape Argus Pick’n Pay Cycle Tour (South Africa)
Copyright Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Dominik Peters
Here is a short description of our event.
"Thousands of cyclists from all corners of South Africa and the globe descend on Cape Town in March every year for the world’s largest timed cycling event – the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.
The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour is the culmination of the annual Lifecycle Week that includes something for everybody, from the multi-day stage race, the Giro del Capo for the more serious contenders to a Mountain Bike Challenge, Junior and Trike Tours and Southern Africa’s largest sport, health and fitness Expo.
The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour covers 109 kilometers and provides a stiff test for more than 35 000 cyclists through a combination of tough climbs, tricky downhill’s and several other difficult spots along the route.
With it’s tried, tested and trusted formula it is the no.1 choice event of its kind in the world, because it is so much more than just a cycle race. It delivers a multitude of benefits to both cyclist and the spectator of a sporting, social, economic, environmental and recreational nature amidst the unparalleled beauty and splendour of a world heritage site.
The next event will take place on 8 March 2009. Entries for this tour will open on 1 September 2008 at www.cycletour.co.za."
Pat White, cycletour.co.za