Getting on your bike can be a great way to explore. Whether you take your cycling competitively or just like to amble along enjoying the view, here’s a selection of locations to suit cyclists of all kinds. Britain has seen a huge cycling revival in recent years, no doubt inspired by the winning ways of Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Froome.
A Sport England survey found that more than two million people now cycle at least once a week in England – that’s 100,000 more regular cyclists than there were in 2012 – when Wiggo won the Tour de France and Olympic gold.
Thousands of cyclists are also taking their bikes on holiday, whether on a guided tour accompanied by a support vehicle, or planning their own route. Here’s a roundup of some of the best rated cycle spots.
1. Puglia, Italy
The beautiful Puglian countryside
Puglia is a region in the south east of Italy – the heel of Italy’s boot – which is blessed with beautiful countryside dotted with historic countryside towns and villages.
Quiet country lanes pick their way through rolling olive groves and past fine sandy beaches, and the terrain is never too challenging.
You can head along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts to explore the medieval towns like Otranto, Ostuni, Gallipoli and Lecce. Accommodation varies from five star luxury to homely guesthouses, and there are numerous bike rental and repair shops in the region.
The Italian National Cycle Network – or Bicitalia – is a great resource to start planning your trip, with dozens of suggested routes specially chosen to suit cyclists.
2. The Alps
The shores of Lake Geneva
The idea of cycling the Alps may sound intimidating, but there is a way to enjoy the spectacular scenery without having to scale any major peaks.
A self-guided summer cycle ride that takes in Lake Geneva, Lake Bourget and Lake Annecy avoids any long climbs, instead following the Rhone and Isere rivers as they flow through the stunning Alpine scenery.
The route travels through both Switzerland and France. Along the way, picture postcard villages dot the landscape, which is dominated by some of Europe’s highest peaks. You will find the roads are quiet, the food hearty and the locals friendly.
Bixby Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway
California State Route One is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines on the continent. Wine lovers will relish exploring the rolling vineyards of the famous Napa Valley, and maybe stopping to sample a few varieties.
The scenery in this part of America is truly spectacular – from San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the immense Redwoods that feature some of the tallest trees on earth. The route follows the coast along cliff tops and beaches where you can get up close and personal with some of the numerous Elephant Seal colonies that live there.
Why not stop off in LA to soak up some celebrity culture while you’re at it? The county is currently investing big money into a new bike system.
The paddy fields in Vietnam make for a great cycling holiday
Traversing Vietnam by bike gives you the chance to experience everything the country has to offer first hand. A guided tour is recommended, with one popular route being to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
It’s a testing two week trip, though relatively flat, and you can take your pick from operators that provide a tour leader and vehicle support when you arrive. You will take in beautiful beaches, tranquil paddy fields and tropical jungle, and all that pedaling is bound to give you an appetite for Thailand’s famous cuisine.
The vibrant cities with their bustling markets and colourful street life supply a lively contrast to the peaceful countryside – though you are guaranteed a warm welcome wherever you travel.
As Cuba’s relations with the US continue to improve, it is widely expected that the Caribbean island nation is set to experience a boom in tourism. With that in mind, travelers are racing to experience the ‘real’ Cuba with all its 1950s nostalgia before it is transformed forever.
The roads aren’t always to European standards, so you will need a good level of fitness, and a guide is recommended to tackle the language barrier. But this could be your last chance to experience the crumbling colonial grandeur of Cuba with its vintage cars, colourful buildings and lively music scene, along with the countryside patchwork of plantations and jungle. Cycling in Cuba is an experience not to be missed
Published 18th July 2016.