Recently, I sat down to lunch with an old friend who started asking me questions about my number one hobby. He inquired about my bike, the routes I like to take around San Diego, and then asked me a question I hadn’t given thought to in some time:
“What dream cycling routes would you like to travel to?”
Since I’m a busy fellow and spend the majority of my time in San Diego, California, I hadn’t thought about traveling abroad to cycle in a while. His question made me think to myself, “Why not take a vacation to cycle?” It’s true that there are a plentiful number of stunning and scenic bicycle rides in San Diego. In fact, I recently published an article on my other website, bartonhaynes.com, titled Cycling in California. Here, I showed images of beautiful rides in California in addition to listing some links to the best races and routes cyclists can find in this incredible state.
Beyond California, however, there are some beautiful places to explore in this world on your saddle. My friend’s question got me thinking. Then, it got me researching. I hopped on my computer to search for the best routes in the world. Today, I’m going to share five of my findings with you in descending order of routes I’d like to bike.
5. Land’s End to John O’Groats – Britain
I remember hearing about a friend cycling this route years ago. I’ve wanted to do it ever since. The Land’s End to John O’Groats route is a roughly 900-mile ride traversing the whole length of the island of Great Britain. The route spans from the southwest to the northeast. This is no easy trek; it takes most experienced cyclists 10-14 days to complete. I, personally, would go for the scenery, my curiosity for exploring Britain, and most importantly, the challenge. Tips I found online regarding this route are to thoroughly plan your trip before going (there are multiple routes you can take to get from one end of the island to the other), pack waterproof gear as rain is common, and to drink lots of cider on your pit stops.
4. Gran Fondo Campagnolo – Italy
When I first saw the name of this route, the bells in my head began ringing with familiarity. A popular ride in San Diego is in fact called the Campagnolo Gran Fondo. It occurred this past year on April 9th and raised money for charities (you can see the list of where money was donated to on the race’s Crowdrise page). The route in Italy, however, is much different than the route in San Diego. Many cyclists brave this route through the Dolomites around Feltre honors Tulio Campagnolo ever year. It’s a stunning ride, to be sure, and if you’re an avid cyclist into races, this isn’t one to be missed.
3. Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam
Jumping over to Asia, this is a route that I’ve been curious about for over a decade now. On my first trip to Southeastern Asia, this is definitely on my to-do list. The Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City covers miles and miles of incredible beaches. The trip covers 746 miles and gives you a wonderful, scenic tour of Vietnam all in all. However, from what I’ve read, parts of this ride can be bumpy as the road surfaces vary. Furthermore, the Hai Van Pass, a long mountain pass jutting into the South China Sea, must be traversed. Before going on this ride in the future, I’m going to do a considerable amount of research, question asking, and strategic planning. However, I know it will be a trip of a lifetime.
2. Ruta Austral – Chile
This 810-mile route stretching from Puerto Montt in central Chile to Villa O’Higgins in northern Patagonia takes you through a variety of incredible landscapes including two national parks. Cyclists also pass through Puyuhuapi Hot Springs near Queuelat. This route can only be completed from December through March when the ferries run due to good weather. This is another trek that requires lots of preparation and proper packing as the climate can vary drastically. The roads are hilly and has many continuous stretches of steep, uphill climbs. However, if you’re willing to brave the weather and the terrain, this is a route that will not disappoint.
1. Munda Biddi Trail – Australia
My top choice for a dream cycling vacation would be in Australia. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and I’ve heard from many cyclists that the long, scenic rides can’t be beat. In the Noongar Aboriginal Language, Munda Biddi means “path through the forest.” The trail offers easy sections for inexperienced riders and more challenging sections for the advanced. According to mundabiddi.org.au, “Every day on the Trail will be different. Imagine cycling through towering eucalyptus forests and ancient, unspoiled bushland. Discover plants and wildlife found nowhere else in the world. Camp in shelters or stay in quaint country towns. Learn about Aboriginal culture and the rich heritage of the region as you visit the wineries and attractions of the south west of Western Australia.”
My hope is that my dreams of cycling the planet have given some of my fellow cyclists some inspiration today. Many thanks for staying tuned. Again, don’t forget to check out my image-based site at http://bartonhaynes.com and my Pinterest page as well for more pictures.
Thank you all and happy riding!
Image Source 1: http://lejogjuly2013.blogspot.com
Image Source 2: http://italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com/2012/10/granfondo-campagnolo-roma-huge-success.html
Image Source 3: https://www.rei.com/adventures/trips/asia/vietnam-cycling.html
Image Source 4: http://dittmaradventures.com/bike-carretera-austral.html
Image Source 5: http://cycletraveller.com.au/australia/news/munda-biddi-trail-to-open-in-april