Are you keen to take on an EPIC ride? Something different to you usual weekend ride? We’ve rounded up seven of the world’s most adventurous bike routes to ride before you die. Fair warning, these iconic treks are no walk in the park – you’ll need to do your prep before taking them on!
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Spanning 243km, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is ripe with cycling opportunities, from easy to extreme. Take a picturesque 50-kilometre ride through the rainforests of the Otways or ride the Coast to Crater rail trail from Camperdown to Timboon. Feeling race ready? Time your trip for one of the region’s championship and charity events, such as Around the Bay in a Day or Amy’s Gran Fondo.
Death Road, Bolivia
A non-negotiable addition to any do-before-you-die list, Yungas Road – also delightfully known as Death Road – is the ultimate descent for mountain bikers with ‘balls’. Regarded as the world’s most dangerous trail, the single-lane dirt road from La Paz to Coroico is bordered by sheer drop offs, and has to be shared with careening buses, cars and motorbikes. You may want to close your eyes at times, but ticking this beast off your list will make you awesome. Fact.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Follow in the path of the 2014 Tour de France competitors by pedalling this famed stretch of the French Alps. Home to 21 hairpin bends, the punishing ascent requires serious fitness, but the effort will be rewarded with scenery so spectacular it’ll make you weep… Plus the promise of French wine once you get to the top.
National Highway 1, Vietnam
If you have a spare three weeks, set course for Vietnam’s National Highway 1. This 2400-kilometre highway runs the length of the country, flaunting coastline and forest scenes, cultural sites and tempting regional cuisine. Make pit stops to visit heritage towns and lush rice fields, sip bia hoi (the boozy local home-brew) and to fish, snorkel and dive in the South China Sea.
Isle of Wight, UK
This pint-sized island is crisscrossed with cycling trails, spanning accessible half-day tours and taxing multi-day treks. Experienced cyclists should make for the Chalk Ridge Riding Route, home to steep slopes and sticky, mud-covered surfaces. For a more leisurely affair, take the Taste Round the Island route, clinking pint glasses with locals and tucking into hearty British fare.
The Friendship Highway, Tibet to Nepal
You’ll first need to acclimatize to the altitude for this off-the-beaten track adventure, meandering from Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu’s Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Much of the 1000-kilometre China-Nepal Highway (aka the Friendship Highway) is unpaved, and there are jaw-plummeting passes to contend with, but few can lay claim to having cycled their way across the Tibetan plateau. Bragging rights guaranteed.
Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, USA to Canada
A one-lane road that begins in Alabama, in America’s Deep South, and ends in the Canadian town of Own Sound, Ontario, this trail is enriched with history – during the American Civil War, slaves walked the path on their escape to freedom. Tackle the full 3200-kilometre track, or zero in on one leg. And don’t worry, you won’t be kept in the dark for days – the ‘underground’ moniker springs from the fact the slaves’ movements were kept secret
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