Breathtaking Adventures: The Top 6 Locations for Long-Distance Biking
Few things offer the same sense of freedom — not to mention accomplishment — as a long-trek bike ride, and that’s true for beginners and seasoned pros alike. By taking off on your adventure with nothing but your trusted bike, your cycling apparel, your related equipment and some essential supplies, you truly, in a sense, become one with your surroundings.
What should your next long-trek bike tour destination be, though? With so many options to choose from, there’s no doubt that it can be tough to pinpoint your next target. This “something for everyone” list should help you get on your bike in no time, whether you’re going it solo or assembling a whole cycling team!
- High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
It may not be the Marrakech Express, but this 342-mile Marrakech to Zagora route will take you right over the highest mountain range in North Africa, known locally as the “Mountain of Mountains”. There’s no question that you’ll need some serious preparation, excellent cycling apparel, and a good guide to be able to enjoy the stunning views safely, but this landscape’s more than worth it. As an important added bonus, your finish line is an awesome place to take a day trip to the Sahara desert (sans bike, mind you).
- Katy Trail State Park, United States
(Source: Bicycle Touring Pro)
This amazing rail trail from Machens to Clinton (Missouri) is uniquely suited to less experienced cyclists, as much of the trek will be along a flat path — but as it’s one of the longest rail rails around, at over 230 miles, this route still poses a nice challenge. Cyclists with a taste for wine can enjoy some of the most refined wineries, while history buffs can retrace some of the same steps taken during the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Shimanami Kaido, Japan
(Source: Japan Web Magazine)
Widely known as Japan’s very best bikeway, the Shimanami Kaido trail will take you across six different islands. Starting in Onomichi and ending in Imabari, this scenic and bridge-filled route is great for anyone. Thanks to the excellent facilities for cyclists and the fact that Japan is one of the safest places on the planet, however, the roughly 43-mile Shimanami Kaido trail may especially appeal to solo cyclists, including women, and those hoping to take their entire family.
- Dolomite Mountains, Italy
(Source: Dolomites Bike Day)
The Dolomites are arguably the most impressive and scenic part of the Alps, and while they’ve been loved to death by hikers from all corners of the globe, the Dolomiti bike trail is every bit as exciting for long-range mountain bikers. The mix of paved and unpaved stretches will, so to say, keep you on your feet, but the real challenge lies in the brave climb (31,000 feet!). You can expect for this 160-mile trail to take you up to a week to finish because of that, but if you’re a beginning cyclist, you may like to check some other routes out first.
- Tasmania, Australia
(Source: Gravel Cyclist)
This list wouldn’t be complete without going “down under”, and the nearly 300 mile long Tasmanian Trail is one of the most ambitious items on the menu. Beginning in Devonport and heading to Dover, this long trek will take cyclists through national parks and forests, with awesome camping amenities all along the way. This route is neatly divided into 16 separate sections — will you be able to cover two a day? If you choose the Australian summer and have the right cycling gear, it can definitely be done!
- Lamay Valley, Peru
Adventurous cyclists might get a taste for some of the less-visited, but stunning, South American trails. The Inca Trail that takes you across the Lamay Valley won’t only offer you amazing historical sites like the Inca archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo, but, with long downhill stretches, this trail is also a breeze.
How do you prepare for your long-trek cycling trail?
To be able to go the distance, cyclists need to be well-prepared — no matter which trail they end up choosing.
Check your bike — including your chain, brakes, and tires — before you set out each day, and perform maintenance where necessary. While your bike should always be on tip-top condition, you and your gear should be, too.
The right cycling apparel should be light in weight, brightly colored, and easy to dry. Look for features that increase functionality — like padded crotch liners to prevent friction and keep you moisture-free, and pockets to store important personal belongings like a cell phone, some cash, and your passport. Make sure your cycling apparel is never too loose, to prevent accidents.
You’ll tailor your cycling apparel to the climate conditions, off course. In warm weather, you’ll want bike shorts and a moisture-wicking jersey, and look out for cycling apparel with UV protection if you’re going to be cycling in the sun. In cooler weather, your cycling apparel should consist of three separate layers. Your base layer wicks moisture, your middle layer helps it evaporate and keeps you warm, and your outer layer is your direct defense against the great outdoors and all the challenges it brings.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’ve invested in a good biking helmet as well as elbow and knee pads — so if you find yourself in a pickle, you’ll greatly reduce the damage.
Food-wise, long-trek cycling won’t allow you to bring all your supplies, but while on the road, cyclists will want to focus on locally-available lean protein, fresh veggies and fruits, and whole grains, as well as healthy fats, eating smaller meals more frequently rather than pigging out. Hydration is vital, of course, but cyclists should remember that there’s such a thing as too much, too. That’s why it’s good to chug down some water, or an electrolyte-boosting sports drink, every quarter of an hour or so while you’re riding.
Don’t forget to warm up and do some stretches before you set off, and pace yourself — if you start feeling tired, take a break or at least slow it down. With the right bike, the right cycling apparel, the right food and hydration, and the right preparation in place, all that’s left is for you to bring the right attitude!