It seems like winter is (almost) here in the Northern Hemisphere, which is all the more reason to head outdoors (or at least to start planning your next big trip). In particular, bikers will find cooler riding weather and thinner crowds on the trails. If you’re looking for yet another reason to go pedaling this season — particularly if you’re a foodie — here are four of our favorite culinary-centric cycling trips.
Coffee, Rum, and Cigars Outside Havana (Cuba)
Cuba tops the bucket list for many Americans, more so now that the U.S. government has re-upped travel restrictions for citizens. There’s no better way to explore the country than on foot or by pedal. Backroads’ six-day Cuba Bike Tour goes well beyond Havana to explore Cuba’s beautiful white sand beaches, the farmlands of Viñales, and the island’s pristine national parks. On the food side of things, riders can sample roasted pig at open-air restaurants, dine at organic farms, and get in with premier coffee, tobacco, and rum experts for samples and demonstrations. Backroads was the first U.S.-based provider to offer bike trips in Cuba, and every tour is undertaken alongside a local. Time to go: November through May.
Lamb Stew and Bosnian Coffee in Eastern Europe (Balkans)
Mountain Travel Sobek’s Cycling the Country Roads of Eastern Europe trip is only for the hungriest, most die-hard cyclist. The 14-day itinerary covers nearly 350 miles of hardcore biking on paved rural roads, including the 2,000-year-old Via Egnatia built by the Romans. Riders explore ancient walled cities, beautiful mountain villages, and five UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage sites before finishing in Dubrovnik. The “big get” for foodies is traditional fëgesë: slow-cooked Montenegrin lamb stew cooked in milk with onions, tomatoes, peppers, spices, and cottage cheese. Along the way, there’s plenty of local cheeses, smoked meats, honey, and Bosnian coffee as well. Time to go: May through August.
Fish Soup and Vino in South American Wine Country (Chile)
If you’re looking for an altogether different wine country experience (assuming you’ve already ticked Napa Valley and South Australia off your bucket list), it’s time to head to Chile. The country’s wine region is undoubtedly the most prestigious, most prolific, and most beautiful in South America. ExperiencePlus!’s aptly named Bicycling Chile’s Wine Country takes riders on an eight-day, 200-mile tour (an 11-day upgrade is also available if you’re feeling ambitious) of the country’s central valley and the stunning Pacific Coast. Along the way, bikers visit charming cities and rural villages to sample local food (try the caldillo de congrio, Chile’s staple soup made from boiled fish heads and spices) and vino (we recommend Carménère, a varietal almost exclusive to Chile) at several wineries. Time to go: May or October.
Guinness and Oysters on the Emerald Isle (Ireland)
Are you the sort who looks to plan well in advance? Now’s the time to start thinking about Wilderness Ireland’s Biking and Yoga Escape. The six-night trip focuses on a more relaxed pedaling experience with plenty of stops for local food and drink along the way. In addition to the ever-present pint of “the black” in every pub, riders can also sample Irish craft beer. There are opportunities to shuck your own oysters, taste Knocknarea honey, and crack Mullaghmore lobster. Every day ends with a guided yoga class to relax and refresh before bed. Time to go: April and June through September.