Tour du Monde: Four Scenic Bike Journeys Around the World
Traveling from one town to another can pose a challenge. Car rentals and insurance fees have skyrocketed in recent years and trains and buses are sometimes limited in their service area. So, ditch that bus pass and car keys and hit the road via bike. You get all the scenic beauty of train or car travel but you’ll save money and help the environment in the process. Here are four of our favorite bike journeys around the world.
The French Alps
The Tour de France is the greatest cycling race in the world and many spectators dream of reenacting those strenuous climbs and speedy descents. Thanks to companies such as More Than 21 Bends, you can get in on the cycling action. Most treks will take you through several famous mountain passes such the daunting Galibier and the infamous Alpe d’Huez, usually over the course of a week. That’s 30,000 feet in seven days! It’s tough but rewarding and offers many breathtaking views for any experienced rider.
The Himalayan nation of Bhutan is known for its pristine monasteries and happy populace and cycling has become a popular pastime in recent years, with even King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck getting in on the action. Bike journeys in the country are guided by English-speaking hosts and are great for casual to experienced riders. Companies such as World Expeditions host cultural bike tours of the country, incorporating festivals and events into the itinerary, no it’s not just about fitness or the scenery. A support vehicle is on hand should you decide that 31-mile ascent is not up your alley.
Related: Cycling: What to Pack
South Island of New Zealand
New Zealand is a diverse land with beaches, glaciers and fjords all in one gorgeous package. The South Island is home to rugged terrain and myriad trails covering beautiful scenery. Many tours take you through Fjordland, a breathtakingly beautiful area on the South Island’s west coast. Thomson Bike Tours hosts 10-day tours of much of the South Island with a start in Christchurch. The tour takes you through Akaroa—a former French settlement—to the Southern Alps to the Fjordland National Park region—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and ends in beautiful Milford Sound. You’ll see valleys, villages, glaciers and the ubiquitous sheep along the way.
With its rugged terrain, secluded villages and majestic peaks, Patagonia delights all visitors. The northern section provides many adventures for experienced cyclists. Dirty Bikes offers tours in the region for mountain bike and road cycling enthusiasts. Opt for the 13-day North Patagonia Road Cycling Tour. You’ll visit the cultural center of Chiloe, with its steep terrain and rolling hills, as well as the Chilean Lake District, and the Cardenal Samore Pass, which offers a challenging climb through the Andes and the Valdivian Rainforest. It’s a trip you won’t forget.