Cycling is both a popular mode of transport and a favorite adventure activity for travelers around the world. Rather than exploring a destination on foot, travelers climb aboard bikes instead. There are several advantages to biking your way through a destination: you’ll cover ground at a faster pace, feel more connected to the landscape, come closer to the local culture than you might in a car, and interact with more people along your journey. Mountain biking offers a similar experience, but it allows access to more remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations while introducing a more challenging physical aspect.
Cycling and mountain biking adventures are available around the world. Here are a few popular biking and cycling routes that individuals utilize for vacation.
The Friendship Highway, China
There are 500 miles between the Tibetan city of Lhasa and the Nepalese border. Those 500 miles comprise one of the planet’s most beautiful bike rides. This also happens to be the highest-altitude bike route in the world with three road passes of more than 16,400 feet above sea level. The highest height comes at Gyatso La mountain pass, where the reward on a clear day is a distant view of Everest. Though not for the faint of heart, the Friendship Highway is one of the toughest, most celebrated bike routes in the world.
Great Divide Mountain Biking Route, North America
This off-road touring route stretches from Alberta, Canada to New Mexico. The entire trail is around 2,735 miles, but it also includes around 200,000 feet of climbing. That’s almost seven times the height of Everest—from sea level, that is. The route is also extremely remote. Riders can take in everything from the woodland to the mountains and the wastelands of the Great Basin. If you want to take this ride, however, you’ll need to plan ahead. Weather conditions make this route possible only from June to September.
The South Downs Way, England
This 99-mile route crosses some of the most stereotypically lush and rolling English countryside vistas you can imagine. Riders tacking the entire route will commit themselves to more than 14,000 feet of uphill pedaling. A hiking, walking, and cycling trail, South Downs Way meanders from the cliffs of Beachy Head to historic Winchester, virtually off-road for much of the way.