Love travel AND cycling? Here's our pick of the 5 best bike trips from around the world.
For serious cyclists
Put your own spin on the great race by joining professional and recreational cyclists from around the world on this challenging route, stopping to see the sights and sample local French cuisine along the way.
The 102nd Tour de France begins in Utrecht in the Netherlands on 4 July this year, marking the sixth time the iconic race has started in Holland, a record for a country that has no direct border with France. The race then moves down through the Netherlands and into and around France, finishing in Paris.
Bikestyle Tours organises trips for cycling enthusiasts where you can ride on your choice of sections of the official Tour de France route with transport, accommodation and expert guidance included.
For history buffs
This is one for the history lovers out there. Follow 150km of abandoned railway lines through Otago’s goldfields, from Clyde to Middlemarch, to see a host of old railway tunnels and bridges, plus country pubs, cosy B&Bs and some very pretty scenery.
Historical highlights include old gold-mining villages, a working sheep station at Middlemarch and an old schoolhouse at Lauder.
The route, made of unsealed, compacted gravel, takes three to four days to complete and is open year-round. Thanks to a lack of steep gradients, this trail isn’t too demanding, making it ideal for families or novice cyclists.
For travellers on a shoestring budget
The 8-day trip from Hanoi to Hoian runs through the amazing mountains, national parks and coastal scenery of central Vietnam. You won’t find yourself short of things to do and see along the way, as the route takes in the Phong Nha cave, the limestone Karst Mountain, Hien Luong bridge, Hue royal citadel, Tan Ky memorial, the ancient town of Hoian and former battlefields.
Vietnam offers travellers great value for money. A cheap hotel room will only set you back about AUD$15 (less for dorm rooms) and you can get a restaurant meal for around AUD$5, or as little as AUD$2 if you grab some street food on the go.
You’ll need to be reasonably fit to tackle this ride, as there are some hills and a lot of ground to cover. Book your trip from November to May during the dry season.
The Canadian province of Prince Edward Island is home to around 470km of recreational rail trail, winding through the province’s rolling hills, quaint villages, forests, farms and broad seascapes. You’ll find plenty of accommodation and great food options along the route.
Prince Edward Island is famous for its seafood, in particular lobster, oysters and mussels, as well as farm-fresh vegetables like its prized potatoes. Visit from 11 September to 4 October 2015 to experience the island’s Fall Flavours culinary festival, featuring exclusive events hosted by celebrity chefs.
The Confederation Trail is a pleasant and easy ride suitable for all fitness levels, thanks to its good drainage and lack of steep gradients. It’s dotted with benches, picnic table shelters, helpful signs and scenic lookouts. In winter the route is used for snowmobiles and cross-country skiing.
This 1300km road, also known as Route 7, starts in central Chile and winds through northern Patagonia. It takes in some of the region’s most breathtaking scenery, including forests, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and lakes. We suggest you pick just a section of the road to cycle and keep in mind this route is not for the faint-hearted – you’ll need good fitness and an intrepid spirit to attempt it.
Go in summer (December to February) and make sure you have a good mountain or touring bike that’s up to the task, since most of the roads are graded but unpaved gravel. The road is scarcely populated and you may have trouble finding accommodation and food shops along the way. So you’ll need to take a tent, a means of communication in case of emergency, bicycle repair equipment, a first aid kit and plenty of food and water.
Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions for different cycling holiday budgets – even if yours is limited.
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