A big welcome to my latest guest blogger Juliana Weiss-Roessler from the US with her thoughts on globe-cycling. It’s a worthwhile read!
Mountain climber George Mallory once famously told a reporter that the reason he wanted to climb Mount Everest was “because it’s there.” Adventurous people are always on the lookout for the next big challenge – their own “because it’s there” experience. If you’re a cyclist, those challenges might include setting a new personal record on a race course, participating in a grueling endurance ride – or even traveling the world by bike. Haven’t looked into globe-cycling yet? Here are a few rides you should check out, ranging in difficulty from beginners’ tours to, well, the cyclist equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.
Beginner Ride: Austria
If you’re relatively new to cycling but want to experience a particularly scenic part of the world, look into tours around Austria. Many touring companies offer guided rides around Europe and in Austria, with highlights including crystal clear lakes, the beautiful Carinthia region, and potential opportunities to take a break and hike in the mountains (ask your tour guide what options are available). Before selecting a tour, determine how many miles you can comfortably average each day, how many days you want to be cycling, how many rest days you want to include, and what kind of weather and terrain you can handle. Because this is such a popular cycling region, it’s practically guaranteed that there will be a tour that matches your comfort and ability level.
Relatively Easy Ride: Inn-to-Inn Traveling Across North America
Not ready to go halfway around the world on a bike ride? Luckily there are plenty of tours available throughout the US and Canada, so you can choose to bike around any region from, say, the West Coast to New England. Many tours also offer an inn-to-inn option, meaning that you get to stay in hotels or bed and breakfasts and eat at restaurants each night. If you like the idea of being able to shower and sleep on a soft bed every night, this might be the best option for you.
Intermediate Ride: The Orient Express
For those cyclists who are also history and folklore buffs, riding the path of the Orient Express is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The tour kicks off in one of the greatest art havens of the world, Paris, and takes riders through France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Highlights include seeing medieval castles, following the Danube River, experiencing the folklore-rich regions of Romania, and ending the ride in the majestic city of Istanbul. As you pedal across Europe, you’ll get a true sense of the west meeting the east and have the opportunity to learn more about many different cultures.
Advanced Ride: High Altitude Cycling in South America
If you’re a relatively experienced cycler, love the mountains, and have some experience biking in lofty locations like Colorado, you might be interested in going on a high altitude cycling adventure in South America. You’ll cross the Andes through Chile and Bolivia and experience everything from starkly beautiful deserts to bustling cities. Sure, you’ll face some grueling uphill climbs, but think of it this way –you’ll also have some great downhill stretches! And if thin oxygen and burning calf muscles don’t sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of flatter road cycling tours available throughout South America as well. You can even bike the entire coast from Latin America to the tip of Argentina or Chile if you want.
Extra-Challenging Ride: The Silk Road
Have you ever wanted to bike across 7 countries, through mountains and deserts, for over 7,400 miles? If you answered yes, then the Silk Road cycling tour might be the ride for you. This ride follows the route that adventurers and merchants like Marco Polo took across the whole continent of Asia, going from Shanghai to Istanbul. You can choose to participate in different legs of the tour, but if you complete the whole journey, it will take you 18 weeks. Along the way, you’ll stay in ancient caravanserais, visit marketplaces rich in history, and bike across practically untouched stretches of Asia. Follow in the footsteps – or bike treads – of the legendary adventurers who first explored this region.
This is just a small sampling of the cycling tours available around the world. It’s possible to cycle on all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica if you’re truly adventurous), and there are just about as many types of trips available as you can dream up. Haven’t been cycling much recently? Use the incentive of a spectacular bike tour vacation to get you pedaling again. Any bike tour is guaranteed to be an experience you’ll never forget.