Category: Resources

Best bicycle touring destinations & blogs

Back in 2017 Mads Phikamphon of Mighty Goods asked 53 experienced touring cyclists about their favourite / best bicycle touring destinations. He wanted to help people dream about amazing and sometimes surprising new places to ride – or even help cyclists change their route for the better if they’re already on the road.

It’s now 2019. Mads gave us permission to continue his best bicycle touring destinations list with even more accomplished bicycle travelers who continue to come up with exciting new places to ride.

Via the links on this new list, we also make it easy to discover unknown bicycle touring websites / blogs and read more background information on the cyclist’s favourite places to pedal.

Every couple of months new long-distance bicycle touring blogs including favourite destinations, will be added and dead links removed.


CHRIS HAAG & SOPHIE GEORGE

https://theplacesipee.com

Alaska (USA)

Denali Highway

Every bit as spectacular as riding through the national park, but without the bureaucracy. Stunning mountain views, raw wilderness, and amazing wildlife.

Mexico

Espinazo del diablo, Sinaloa

An old mountain road that doesn’t see much use after a highway was built. Authentic towns, cheap food, unbelievable camping and views just off the side of the road at 10,000 feet.

Mexico

Sonoran River Valley

Highway 89 is everything desert riding should be. Mountain foothills, winding and rolling roads. Perfect little pueblos with great food and hotels.


OLLY & LORNA

http://locycle.blogspot.com

Scotland

Outer Hebrides (The Hebridean Way, Sustrans)

A superbly scenic adventure, a sign-posted route, beautiful beaches and lots of wildlife. Quiet, remote and wild at times, comfortable campsites and the Co-Op at others.

The French / Swiss Alps

Chamonix

Cycling towards Chamonix and marvelling at the mighty Mont Blanc as it gets bigger and bigger. Wonderful off-road cycle paths across France led us here.

China

Yunnan

From jungles in the tropics to mountains on the Tibetan Plateau, this region is stunning. Traditional Old Towns adorned with red lanterns break up the journey perfectly.


PEDR CHARLESWORTH

https://pedrcharlesworth.com

Pakistan

Karakoram Highway

A serpentine of a road weaving between 7000m mountains, jaw dropping valleys and colossal glaciers. Combine with the friendly locals and the opportunity for exploring other valleys, it’s unforgettable.

Georgia

Adjara & Samtshke-javakheti

Plenty of rough stuff to ride with a real wild feel to the road. After exploring the mountains, head into Tbilisi to let off some steam in the quirky capital.

Vietnam

Mid-Coastal & Highland region

Gorgeous smooth coastal roads, cheap food and the opportunity to head into the mountains – what more could you want?


TOM & SABINE

www.tenmillionturns.com

Turkey

South coast (Fethiye to Antalya)

Cycling along a turquoise sea with snow-capped mountains still in view, this part of Turkey was one of our favorites! Apart from the beautiful coastline you’ll find loads of historic sites, idyllic towns and of course true old Turkish hospitality.

Bulgaria

Belogradchick’s rock formations are a perfect place to test your downhill bike skills amidst big boulders that look like they were dropped straight out of the air. The rest of Bulgaria’s mountains are also a great delight to cycle through.

Turkey

Eastern Turkey

Eastern Turkey can be hot and dry one day while the other you cross a mountain pass still covered in snow even if it’s officially summer. Here you don’t get the miles for free, but the reward for all the sweat is a truly genuine experience. Landscapes change from high altitude plains to narrow canyons. Plus, the people are maybe the most hospitable we have experienced so far!


LUBA & TOM

www.stepoutandexplore.com

Colombia

Coffee region

Colombia in this part has got incredible network of quiet dirt roads. The most beautiful is the road between Ibagué and Salento – next to the tallest palms in the world.

Ecuador

TEMBR dirt version

Especially the part between Tulcán and Riobamba. Your hard work will be rewarded with incredible views and the best wild camping. Totally remote in places!

Mexico

Espinazo del Diablo

Beautiful paved ride from the Pacific coast almost to 3000 metres. Riding on the Devil’s Backbone. Remote, minimal traffic, beautiful views.


LINDA & TIM

https://pedallingtheplanet.wordpress.com

Turkey

Inland route via Cappadocia and Erzurum Province

Incredible hospitality, daily invites for chai and shelter, rich culture and unique landscapes.

Tajikistan

Zerafshan Valley, Pamir Highway, Wakhan Valley

Challenging high-altitude cycling with rewards of awesome mountain scenery, friendly locals, abundant wild camping and a good choice of routes.

Thailand

East Coast

Luxuriously easy cycle touring: delicious, cheap food, plenty of camping opportunities and Warmshowers hosts, beautiful beaches and smooth, quiet roads.


ED & MARION SHOOTE

http://welovemountains.net

Kyrgyrzstan / Tajikistan

Pamir region

The Pamir highway is probably the ultimate touring destination; challenging, remote but with the home-stay network it’s accessible at the same time!

Georgia

Adjura region or Svaneti

Friendly locals, a rich history, epic roads and great hearty local food always on offer.

Scotland

A wild land that has both the landscape and weather to ‘experience’! Riding between the islands or from south to north finding off road gravel options.


TRISTAN RIDLEY

www.tristanridley.com

Kyrgyzstan

Stunningly beautiful, Kyrgyzstan is wild and exotic enough to be interesting, but accessible enough to be convenient – the perfect adventure cycling destination.

Georgia

Spectacular landscapes and an almost medieval, rustic vibe. Great food and delicious red wine; Georgia packs a lot into one tiny country.

Kenya

The Rift Valley is breathtaking and you can see zebras, giraffes and all manner of wildlife right from the road. Africa is like nowhere else, and Kenya is truly magical.


MATT & BECKY

https://twobiketo.com

Tajikistan

Pamir Highway in September

Incredibly warm and generous people, fresh produce during the harvest, fascinating culture and challenging climbs with out-of-this-world scenery.

Bulgaria

Belogradchik, Vidin Province

Beautiful climbs, good roads and breathtaking views of Belogradchik rocks (Europe’s very own Grand Canyon).

Laos

Northern Laos to Tay Trang border

Gentle climbs, good road conditions and friendly relaxed village life with amazing wild camp spots.


TEGAN PHILLIPS

www.unclippedadventure.com/adventure-archives

East Africa

Rwanda/Uganda/Tanzania

Deep green hills, street food, Lake Bunyonyi.

New Zealand

South Island

Majestic ruggedness, friendliness, landscape diversity.

South Africa

Cederberg

Rocky mountains, dead quiet, hospitality, culture.


NATHAN HALEY

https://velofreedom.bike

Argentina / Chile

Puna de Atacama

Otherworldly scenery, involving riding and a heady dose of solitude.

Mexico

Copper Canyon

Indigenous culture, slightly edgy, fascinating flora and fauna and gloriously hilly.

Peru

High Andes

Endless box-office views and the most inspiring of riding and every opportunity to escape the traditional tourist track.


CHRIS & DEA

http://differentpartsofeverywhere.com

Bosnia & Herzegovina

We loved the people, the beautiful scenery, quiet roads, and the fascinating cultural mix of this often overlooked little country.

Laos

Friendly locals, great food, cheap guesthouses, and lots of lovely cycling.

Colombia

Great, adventurous cycling on peaceful roads through beautiful green mountains leading from one charming puebla to the next. And it’s cheap!


FABIAN KAPPELER

https://alongtheearth.com

Turkey

Marmara / Central Anatolia

The heat, landscapes, hilly and well-paved roads, incredible food and super hospitable and warm-hearted people mixed together with an interesting history are reasons enough to discover turkey on your own!

India

Rajasthan

“If you can cycle through India you can cycle everywhere on this planet” (our first thoughts on day one). Cycling India is an experience and a true adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Switzerland

Bernese Oberland / Central Switzerland

Many and super-signposted bike paths, hills, deep blue lakes, mountain passes, fresh air and scenic Landscapes where you will be glad if you have taken enough batteries for the camera.


BERT & MARY

www.pedalsandpuffins.com

Spain

Northwestern Pyrenees on EuroVelo 1

Stupendous scenery on quiet, well-maintained roads. Pastoral farms mix with endless beech forests and tundra. Spanish drivers wave and cheer you on.

England

National Parks and Moorlands

Heart-pounding climbs and descents through gorgeous, open, windswept pastures and grasslands with abundant birdlife. Mountaintop views of multi-colored landscapes, far into the distance.

USA

Western Appalachians of Virginia

The TransAm from the Catawba Valley to Breaks Interstate Park has constantly changing, beautiful scenery. From quaint Amish farms to deep mountain forests, with abundant wildlife and bursting with birdsong.


LUKAS STEINER

https://lukas-steiner.com

Namibia

Damaraland

Breathtaking nature and extreme solitude.

Malawi

North West

Stunning greenery, Wonderful & welcoming people.

Uganda

Fort Portal

Very scenic, great food (Rolex) and many Monkeys to watch.


SAM JOHNSON

https://pedalingtheglobe.com

Nepal

Enjoy vibrant friendly cities or get lost high in the Himalayas. Nepal has to be one of my favourite countries so far for some challenging riding amongst truly breathtaking scenery.

Turkey

My first Asian country and one I’d happily go back to time and time again. Tour the Black Sea coast or for more of an adventure, head inland and discover places like Konya or Cappadocia and friendly locals who will warmly welcome you at every turn.

Australia

Whether you’re after a tour full of beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan cities or an experience of a vast, seemingly endless landscapes and quaint towns, Australia has it all.


VERONIKA & JONAS

www.oni-on-adventure.de

New Zealand

Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail

You pass by crazy blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and follow a nice path most of the time away from the roads.

Australia

Tasmania, East and West Coast

You have winding roads through the mountains, forests, crossing rivers and lakes along the West Coast. Along the East Coast you find beautiful beaches with orange rocks and white sand. There is not much traffic and the temperature is perfect for cycling.

Tajikistan

Bartang Valley

A challenging but stunning route. You start on a moon like plateau to later dive down into the valley. The path follows a river and the mountains rise up next to you. Some small villages are on the way and appear like little oases in green with the nicest people.


JEAN-BAPTISTE

https://freewheely.com

Namibia

Damaraland

Everything is stunningly bright yellow, blue or red, could take photos all day round. No rain. Endless surreal gravel roads. Feeling tiny in staggering landscapes sparsely populated.

Angola

Between Huambo and Lubango

Finding stunning unadvertised mountains roads, abandoned colonial architecture, war tank graveyards, and lots of locals eager to share stories, while surprising some Angolans by not being a journalist, a spy nor Jesus.

West Africa

Sierra Leone and Liberia

The adventure of never knowing how challenging the road will be, but cycling forward with the confidence that it will lead to a junction, joyful and hospitable people, and pineapples.


NICOLE HEKER

https://unlearningbybike.com

Tajikistan

Pamir Highway

Silence, space, land, adventure, views that make change your heart forever. When I imagined cycle touring, this is exactly what I hoped for – remoteness, silence, and landscapes that would inspire the most surreal of daydreams. Tajikistan went beyond even that. It is land for the adventurous and the curious.

Mongolia

Ulaan Bataar to Khovsgol Lake

Land, culture, nomads, space, camping, toughness (resilience building). Mongolia is home to vast landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. No farms, very few villages, no roads full of tourist buses, no power lines! It is not an easy place to cycle, but it made me feel strong and capable and brought me into the homes of nomads, to incredible camp spots and closer to myself.

Turkey

Southern Coast (Mersin to Finike)

History, food, landscapes, people, sea, good roads. This, after the roughness of Central Asia was paradise. You have this incredible concentration of history, incredible food, and great roads for cycling. Being able to take a break and jump into the turquoise blue sea and munch on some baklava in the middle of the day was pretty luxurious. Campsites were really nice too!


ANNA KORTSCHAK

www.athousandturns.net

Turkey

Turkey is great for exploring culture and history. The food is fantastic and people are extraordinarily gracious and hospitable. Just stay off the main roads.

Chile / Argentina

The bottom of South America with its beautiful light, expansive horizons, big skies and fantastic cloud formations is a place for an extended meditation on wheels.

Mexico

Mexico is endlessly fascinating. There are plenty of interesting routes to cycle in a range of landscapes: deserts, mountains, canyons, jungles, and gorgeous beaches. With ancient ruins to explore, loads of wildlife and great food it’s hard to beat as a destination.


PAUL VAN ROEKEL & ANJA DE GRAAF

www.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl

Iran

Amazing hospitality, stunningly beautiful ancient sites the old cities of Isphahan and Yazd.

Mongolia

The grasslands without real roads, the silence, best free camping country in the world.

Argentina

Endless roads, the snowcapped Andes, wide open spaces.


HEIKE PIRNGRUBER

www.pushbikegirl.com

China

Sichuan road S217

Stunning scenery, Tibetan culture, hardly any traffic, high altitude.

Oman

Wadi Kabbah

The scenery and remoteness of this area was absolutely amazing.

Kyrgyzstan

Tosor Pass

Great high altitude scenery, remote and no traffic.


CHARLIE WALKER

www.cwexplore.com

Scandinavia

Arctic

The Boreal forest in summertime…Perpetual daylight, wild berries, pristine lakes and grazing reindeer. Beware the mosquitos.

Iran

World’s friendliest people, fascinating ancient sites, cheap good food and an endless variety of stunning landscapes.

Zambia

Lusaka – copperbelt

Great little back tracks through quaint and friendly villages, relaxed people and one of the better places to cycle tour in Africa.


DOMINIK & SIMON

https://dominik-and-simon-travelling.blogspot.com

Nepal

Lumbini – Pokhara road

For a glimpse of the Himalaya with its rich Buddhist and Hindu history and its beautiful nature but without crazy traffic or impossible ascents.

Australia

Stuart-Highway

For the challenge of crossing an entire continent, of exposing oneself to vast expanses of nothingness and of meditating over the uncountable number of shades of red sand.

Italy

Inland Calabria

For making one realize how wild, untouched and tranquil a region in the heart of Europe can be – while delicious food is never more than one cycling-day away.


OLLI & ANNE

www.thecycleplan.com

Kazakhstan

The vast emptiness of the Kazakh steppe combined with cheap and good food and very friendly and funny locals make Kazakhstan one of our favorite countries to cycle.

China

Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai and Sichuan is a cyclists dream. High altitude, more yaks than people and the most stunning landscapes make this place so special.

Laos

Despite the hot and humid climate and the extremely steep hills we enjoyed cycling in Laos very much. Probably because of the laid back South East Asian vibes.


TARA WEIR

https://followmargopolo.com

Mongolia

Endless tracks criss-cross a wild, unfenced land. Riding here often feels like a journey through uncharted territory. Gers (yurts) dot the rolling steppes, inhabited by some of the kindest souls on the planet.

Australia

Great Central Road and Mereenie Loop

Vibrant, crimson-coloured tracks lead to Australia’s Red Centre – home to Uluru and the billion-year-old MacDonnell Ranges. Experience the vastness, beauty and solitude of the Australian outback

Indian Himalaya

High Road above Lamayuru, Ladakh

Dramatic folds of rock painted in hues of purple, pink and green. Sand-coloured hoodoos crawling their way up the mountainsides. It is a landscape not of this world.


KELLY & MICHAEL

www.cycletrekkers.com

Canada

Vancouver to Halifax

Crystal blue lakes, snowy top mountains, beautiful scenery, friendly people, great on-road and off-road cycling. What isn’t there to love?

Scotland

Cairngorms National Park

It takes less than a day bikepacking in the Cairngorms before you feel like it’s just you and the wilderness. We felt like we had the entire park to ourselves – wildcamping by lochs, with the entire beach to ourselves. Amazing trails and breathtaking scenery.

Iran

The Silk Road

The Iranian culture and hospitality is amazing! We were often stopped by friendly locals, invited in for dinner or to stay the night, made lots of friends and some beautiful memories.


EMIL HVIDTFELDT

www.theoddtrip.com

China / Pakistan

Karakoram Highway

Absolutely stunning scenery, welcoming people, and a very remote/wild feeling makes for a ride that’s hard to beat. Even the trucks are amazing!

Kyrgyzstan

Osh Region

Beautiful climbs, good roads, and a very rich culture. The road leading up to Irkeshtam from Osh is breathtaking, and you might even get to experience Ulak Tartysh on the way!

Iran

All of it

Iran is all about the people. Generosity and helpfulness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Scenery, food, and history is all amazing too.


KATIE HALLIDAY & EUAN PATERSON

www.thefreewheelers.co.uk

Kyrgyzstan

One of the most beautiful countries we visited on our world cycle trip, a place I’d never heard of yet is an absolute undiscovered (in European eyes) gem.

Bangladesh

Terrible roads, appalling driving and awful poverty… yet the people of this country made it one of the most enjoyable and moving weeks of our life.

Turkey

Incredibly warm and hospitable people, lovely food, beautiful scenery and great roads! The perfect cycle touring country (although beware of the dogs)


REBECCA WARDELL

www.thelongwayhome.co.nz

Tajikistan

Incredibly friendly people and the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen, and the altitude makes it more interesting. My favorite place in the world to visit.

Iran

Amazing history and architecture and the people are so hospitable it makes the journey through the country so much more memorable.

South west China

Lots of hills to climb but the scenery is beautiful as the jungle starts to appear and the food is delicious!


OLI & RUTH

www.intandemstories.com

Turkey

Cappadocia

The whole country is lots of fun & the hospitality we received from locals was amazing. For cycle tourists heading east, Turkey is a perfect cultural bridge between Europe & Asia. Cappadocia itself, has networks of caves and rock formations which you can camp inside if you’re discreet. And more often than not, you wake up to hundreds of hot air balloons. It’s pretty magical.

Tajikistan

Shakdara Valley

We made firm friends with other cyclists in Tajikistan. It’s a magical wilderness high in the mountains. Shakdara is a remote, wild and beautiful, valley running just to the north of the Wakhan Corridor. There’s no need to hurry here . It’s incredible. Whichever route you choose to take through this region it’s bound to be breathtaking & other worldly.

India

North East; Assam and Meghlaya

This corner of India, is less populated  and more relaxed than other parts of India. The landscapes are stunning, and the roadside food was exceptional. We recommend taking the scenic routes through villages when you can. It’s a bit like rolling back time. And if you’re not in a rush; the hills around Cherrapunji and Dawki are particularly special.


CARL-DAVID GRANBÄCK

www.swedentoafrica.com

Namibia

Cycling through paintings all day long – lovely scenery. Quite a lot of wildlife too. I recommend visiting the remote Marienfluss Valley.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Thousands of kilometers of single tracks through dense tropical jungle. Remote. Tough. Interesting and extremely rich indigenous cultures.

Bolivia

Another painting. Love the altiplano with all its geothermal features, salt flats and crazy colors.


FREDRIKA EK

www.thebikeramble.com

Australia

Buntin highway

Burning red never ending dirt tracks for you and the kangaroos to enjoy. Solitude at it’s best.

Tajikistan

Shokhdara valley

Rigid and rough but ridiculously rewarding mountain trails just waiting for you to explore them.

China

Tibetan Plateau

This hidden world gives you epic mountain passes & otherworldly scenery. All day every day.


TRYSTAN & JOSEPHINE

https://goingincirclestour.wordpress.com

India

Sikkim state

Hidden paradise. This mountains Himalayan state nestled between Bhutan and Nepal offers dead quiet roads to mountain-top Buddhist monasteries and explosive down hills deep into stunning valleys.

Uzbekistan

Kyzylkum Desert

A rare opportunity to cycle through actual nothingness. No people, no buildings, not even any vegetation, but beautiful sunsets and the most peaceful wild camping one can experience.

Azerbaijan

Greater Caucasus Mountains

Perfect roads with stunning snow-capped mountains coupled with the most open and friendly people you will ever meet.


ADRIAN & FABIAN

https://cape2cape.org

Sweden

Northern Sweden

Lonely roads, remote villages, beautiful lakes and rivers, scenic roads leading through huge forrests.

Scotland

Highlands

Stunning mountains, amazing colors and remote regions with beautiful forests.

Morocco

High Atlas & Rif Mountains

Beautiful and diverse landscapes, we especially loved the mountainous region, great hospitality and delicious food.


PIM DE JONG & NIENKE ANSEMS

www.aveloventure.com

Colombia

The coffee region

Cycling through picturesque Colombian mountain villages, challenging terrain and cloud forests with abundant flora and fauna. This region has everything a bicycle traveler could wish for.

France

Provence

It is like cycling in a movie décor! Deep purple lavender fields paint the mountainsides. In the morning fresh croissants, baguette in the afternoon, French cuisine and wine in the evening. Romance!

Ecuador

Avenue of the volcanoes

Rugged unpaved roads lead you to three volcano’s. The quechua mountain people in colorful traditional dress gives this region it’s authentic flair. It feels like time is standing still.


TANE & ANNEKE

http://worldspokespeople.com

Iran

Most hospitable locals in the world, delicious food, beautiful scenery. Favourite road was crossing the desert from Isfahan to Yazd.

Oman

Remote, rugged desert with secret wadis to swim and wild camp in. Chilled water stations every 30kms or so. Helpful locals.

Vietnam

South coast and Mekong Delta

Easy cycling along the coast through small fisherman’s villages with friendly local people. Delicious food, easy to find restaurants and guest houses. .


FRANÇOIS LONCKE

https://francisbikeon.wordpress.com

Iran

Iran has it all: a mind-blowing combination of history, food, hospitality and landscapes. Play some local goose-bumpy music through the deserts and you’ll find yourself enchanted by Iran’s unique charm..

Ethiopia

Ethiopia, like no other, sends you through wonders and bummers. I cycle tour to feel alive and Ethiopia fills that purpose very much so!

China

Chinese make you feel like a creature from outer space. Safe and stunning “country” you can enjoy if you have a visa long enough. If not, an epic race against time!


JULI HIRATA

www.julihirata.com

Alaska (USA)

Dalton Highway

It’s not a beginner’s route, but it’s definitely a road to ride. It’s mentally challenging, remote and different compared to any other road in the Americas. The wildlife there is astonishing and the gravel will prepare you to ride in any other place in the Americas.

Nicaragua

From Leon to Rivas and Ometepe island.

This route is for all cyclists. Good road, smooth asphalt surrounded by vulcanos and beautiful forest. Nicaragua is surprisingly friendly to ride with wide shady shoulders and great infrastructure for tourism. The recent history of the civil conflicts is still very alive and you can easily hear from locals about what happened in the country during the dictatorship period. On Ometepe Island you can ride for hours with just the monkeys looking at you.

Trinidad & Tobago

North Coast of Trinidad.

If you like mountains and the Caribbean Sea, in Trinidad you can have the best of both worlds. The whole north coast road of Trinidad is a beautiful roller coaster and great to see wild life. In fact one of the best birdwatching places in the world is in the Arima Valley of the Northern Range and just 80 quilometres from there you can see the magnificent Leatherback turtles nesting areas.


PETER GOSTELOW

https://petergostelow.com

Morocco

Diversity of landscapes from different mountains to deserts, coastal scenery and forests. Cultural diversity and history in the many villages and ancient towns. Ease of finding fresh food.

Tajikistan

Pamir Highway

Rightly popular with amazing mountainous landscapes – beautiful places to camp. Friendly people. Challenging terrain and choice of several routes through the mountains.

Japan

Any part of the country. Unique culture – safe and easy to travel through, but plenty of challenging mountainous climbs. A country that sees few tourists outside main sites.


NICK THOMSON

https://cyclingelsewhere.com

Australia

Tanami Track

Expenses of red emptiness guarantee solitude and a rewarding mental challenge. Bring sunscreen and audiobooks, take away a huge sense of achievement.

Japan

Hokkaido

Plenty of forestry tracks to explore guarantee adventure in a country many consider tame. An abundance of hot springs to end each day in.

Bolivia

Altiplano

Feel like the last person on earth or the first on another planet. A vast network of dirt roads connects semi-abandoned villages and otherworldly salt lakes.


JULES & MILLY READ

http://readcycleread.bike

Turkey

Central Anatolian Plateau

Camping was easy, invites to tea numerous and the sky so big and wide. The ‘Dark Canyon’ near Kemaliye, a network of deserted tunnels above the ancient Euphrates river, was spectacular.

Pakistan

The Karakorum Highway

Pakistan’s tourism industry has been decimated since 9/11. We were endlessly thanked by locals for visiting their country. We’d read so much about the Hunza valley expectations were high and it totally delivered!

Myanmar

Loikaw to Taungo

We’re still not sure if we were supposed to be allowed on this section of road. It was by far the hardest yet most rewarding cycling we did. It also gave us the ‘wildest’ wildcamps of the trip…


ANTONY LIN

http://theworldat8mph.com

Sudan

Nubian Sahara

Harsh, desolate desert scenery but super friendly locals. Rewarding experience if you can live with zero luxury like sleeping on a mattress or clean drinking water.

Kenya

Chadhi Desert and Lake Turkana

Untamed nature, abundant wildlife and colourful tribes, as far removed from civilisation as one can be.

South Africa / Lesotho

Drakensberg Mountains

Rocky towers, table mountains, massive cliffs and just awesome landscape. Some of the better gravel roads in Africa and unlimited possibilities for mountain biking or bikepacking.


DAVE BRIGGS

https://www.davestravelpages.com

Peru

Hard work rewarded by epic views!

Sudan

Challenging environment combined with super-friendly people.

Greece

Peloponnese

Who wouldn’t want to cycle where even the landscapes are legendary?


MOLLY & HAYDN

www.cycleforlove.com

Albania

Southern Coastal Road – Vlorë to Sarandë

This stretch is truly stunning, offering some steep climbs, very quiet roads, magnificent sea panoramas and great wild camping on beaches and in olive groves.

Turkey

Black Sea Mountains, Zara – Giresun

Stunning, steep mountain scapes of vertical tea plantations surrounding a very quiet, winding road – it was wild and uninhabited here.

India

North East – Meghalaya & Nagaland s

Meghalaya holds numerous delights like water falls and living root bridges. Cycle some tough dirt roads into Nagaland to meet the ancient head-hunting tribes at one of their cultural festivals.


BENOIT CHARRA & MICHELE TITCOMBE

http://vagamonde.blogspot.com

Iceland

Everywhere except the main N1 highway

Open spaces, unique landscape, very little traffic on side roads, a place that makes you believe in trolls and fairies.

Cuba

Havana to Maria la Gorda

A great learning experience to be amidst a society that gets by on so little, low traffic, the tropics, and the feeling of being off the beaten track. It was so inspiring that it pushed us to do a world tour by bicycle.

Turkey

Off the main roads

The Turkish people! Anywhere away from the tourist sites, the heat, the delicious fruits direct from the farmer’s hands, and the beauty of the landscape.


ANTTI AITTOLA & LAURI KETONEN

http://riversanddeserts.com

Kyrgyzstan

Food, mountains, climate, people vibe.

Thailand

Food, people, beaches.

Russia

Hospitality, wilderness.


ANDREW SYKES

https://cyclingeurope.org

Denmark

A great place for stress-free island-hopping cycling in a beautiful environment with some wonderful coastal campsites, interesting history and welcoming people.

Scotland

Challenging terrain and often challenging weather conditions but the rewards for all the effort are in the magnificent scenery and feeling of ‘escape’. The whisky also helps…

Switzerland

First-class infrastructure to guide you across the country, along the Rhine or, should you choose to do so, over the Alps. As with Scotland, the reward is visual but on an altogether different scale. Worth every drop of perspiration!


ALEE DENHAM

www.cyclingabout.com

Kyrgyzstan

Central region

Himalayan mountains, beautiful nomadic culture, grassy hills, picturesque camping, easy to have adventures.

Iran

Alborz mountains

Although this part of the world is absolutely stunning, with multiple 4,000+m peaks – it’s the loving people of Iran that make this place special.

Japan

Honshu island

The countryside is beautiful, the rivers clear, the people are kind, the culture is interesting!


CARY GRAY

https://caryoutthere.wordpress.com

USA

Sedona, Arizona

The rock formations are incredible, and there are natural slides that have been carved by the river in Oak Creek Canyon.

USA

Mojave desert

There is nothing like the open desert, and the Mojave is so vast and beautiful.

USA

The Pacific Coast

This is a favorite for many cyclists. The coast rock formations are incredible, and the road is winding and just hilly enough to keep things exciting.


LAURA & TIM MOSS

https://thenextchallenge.org

South Korea

Four rivers cycle path

The best cycling infrastructure outside of the Netherlands.

Scotland

Outer Hebrides

Beautifully calm and tranquil.

Oman

Al Hajar mountains

Rugged desert scenery and snooker table smooth tarmac.


PABLO & ILZE

https://en.thecrazytravel.com

Laos

Don Det

Chill, relaxe, fun.

Thailand

Ko Tao

Diving, beaches.

Japan

Kyoto

Food, temples, parks, charm.


KAROL

https://worldbiketravel.com

Chile

Atacama

Great with opportunity to see desert and some nice places in mountains. People in Chile are nice.

Indonesia

West Sumatra

Friendly and always smiling people from different culture with great places to cycle around in the jungle.

Canada

British Columbia

Great people and scenic landscapes with wonderful cycling opportunities.


JULIAN BLOOMER

https://theslowwayhome.blogspot.com

Mali

Sahel region

Quite sandy at times but I enjoyed my time in this part of West Africa.

Argentina / Chili

Andes

Wonderful mountain passes between Argentina and Chile (e.g. Pasos de Agua Negra, Pasos de San Francisco)

Tajikistan

Pamir highway

Amazing high altitude landscape. Next door Kyrgyzstan was another highlight too.


NEIL & HARRIET PIKE

http://pikesonbikes.com

Peru

Cordillera Blanca

Beautiful mountain scenery, amazing switchbacks.

Argentina

Puna de Atacama

Wide open spaces, nobody around.

India

Zanskar

Buddhist culture, spectacular mountains.


KATE HARRIS

www.cyclingsilk.com

Tajikistan

Tajik – Afghan border

A remote and meandering rollercoaster road through fields of golden safflowers, past rusting tanks and crumbling watchtowers, alongside silver and turquoise rivers, amongst some of the most beautiful ever-changing mountains where some of the kindest and most curious people call home.

China

Tibetan plateau route G219

The Tibetan plateau has the allure of the unknown and the thrill of cycling at lung-gasping altitude. In this remote corner of the world the sky is an intense deep-sea indigo, and the land below equally oceanic, rumpled with great waves of mountains, islanded with turquoise lakes.

India

Ladakh

Three hundred and fifty kilometres take you through the Spiti Valley and up, into the Himalayas. Along this route you’ll see shocks of gold forests, spikes of sandstone, monastaries stuck like barnacles to cliffs, and rivers and skies of blue. The roads are rough but it is worth every bump and bruise to see this immense and serene landscape.


GEORGE CHRISTENSEN

http://georgethecyclist.blogspot.com

France

Tour de france

The race route is a celebration of the bike with all the small towns decorated with bike sculptures and other tributes to The Tour. The road sides are packed with people for hours in a celebratory mood. Riding the route ahead of the peleton one is showered with non-stop barrage of “allez”, “bravo” and “bon courage”.

Norway

Nordcap

The scenery up beyond the Arctic Circle to the northernmost point in Europe is spectacular and if one undertakes the ride in the summer there is no concern of dark. The hardest part of the ride is having to stop each day when the going is so good and the light isn’t diminishing.

Uganda/ Tanzania/ Kenya

Lake Victoria

The thousand plus mile circuit of the second largest lake in the world gives one a healthy taste of Africa – through cities large and small on roads paved and dirt through three countries each with their own personality.


FLORIAN SCHMALE

www.onemanonebikeoneworld.com

Laos

Northern mountains

The amazing mountain scenery and remote roads combined with smiling friendly locals are great for cycle touring.

Indonesia

Less Sunda islands

This is real adventure. Steep hills, muddy jungle roads, lonely beaches and unbelievable hospitality of the local people made it one of the favourite legs of the trip.

New Zealand

South island

Awesome landscapes everywhere, no matter where you go, really. Especially recommended are the cycle trails Alps to Ocean, Otago Rail trail, Around the Mountains, Wilderness trail, etc.


ERIC FIALA

http://anticompass.com

Canada

Stewart-Cassiar highway

Long summer days and endless wilderness.

Chile

Lake district, Central region

Gorgeous landscape, friendly people.

USA

Pacific coast highway

Easy camping, lots of bicycle tourists to meet, gorgeous.


DANIELE & SIMONA

www.becycling.net

Europe

Alps

Great roads, spectacular landscape, very challenging.

China

West

China is a must-go country for every traveler. Great cultural challenge, curious and nice people, breathtaking landscapes, and amazing roads along the Tibetan border.

Laos/ Cambodia

Mekong river

Peaceful and relaxed places, easy ride and nice roads.


ANNABELLE VINOIS & DAVE MEYER

www.permacyclists.com

Turkey

Istanbul

The people, the food, the history.

Kenya

Rift Valley

The people, the landscapes, the wildlife.

Namibia

Namib desert

The landscapes, the silence, the stars at night.


Ready to start cycling around the world now? Maybe you also want to check out the Mighty Goods website for some bike touring interviews, look for pannier bags or a cycling backpack.


Wild camping tips for bicycle travelers

camping with a view of the pamir mountains

For many long distance touring cyclists, wild camping is one of the favorite aspects of their trip. Who wouldn’t want the privacy of camping alone, with fantastic views over majestic mountains or impressive desert landscapes?

Not only is it cheap (Free!) it also allows them the freedom to stop when they want to. Plus sometimes it’s just not possible to reach a hotel or paid campground within a day’s ride. So it’s always good to know that you can wild camp if need be.

But for beginning bicycle travelers, it can seem a bit daunting.

So I’ve put together a short list of wild camping tips, plus a curated list of web pages with more in depth information on stealth camping while bicycle touring.

Tips:

1. Find a hidden spot where you can’t be seen from the road or via car headlights.
2. Green and beige tents blend better into the landscape than brightly colored ones.
3. If you can’t find a place, ask the locals for a place you could put your tent.
4. Be on the lookout for a suitable spot at least an hour before you wish to stop.
5. Don’t camp in dry riverbeds.
6. And finally, don’t leave litter behind.

Websites

You can’t go wrong by reading Tom Allen’s take on the subject. It’s titled;  How to camp anywhere and not get busted.

Stephen Fabes of Cycling the 6 writes; “I have probably spent around 800-1000 nights rough camping over the six years I was on the road, so there have been a remarkable number of nights without fire ants and the threat of rabies.”  He also explains in the article why he didn’t do it in some countries.

One of Ed and Marion Shoote’s tips is about not leaving your shoes outside of your tent while stealth camping since these places tend to be alive with creepie crawlies. The rest of their informative article can be read on their website We love mountains.

Legality

Every country treats wild camping differently. Some places such as Oman and the Pamir plateau – nobody will batt an eye if you free camp there. But you might think twice about trying to wild camping on private property in America. So it helps to do a bit of research beforehand.

For those looking to pedal through Europe, check out Diane Vukovic’s page on wild camping laws in Europe.

Safety tips

For those who think wild camping for solo females isn’t a good idea, Heike Pirngruber aka Pushbikegirl believes otherwise. She has put together the excellent article “Safety tips shared by 6 experienced solo female cyclists”.

The interviews are full of in-depth information based on the personal experiences of 6 very experienced touring cyclists. Their straightforward advice is also applicable to male bikers and couples.


Downsizing tips

Beforehand:

“Yes, let’s do it!”

After so many years, we were finally going to realize our dream of pedaling around the world!

We relished the moment. That is until we entered our spare rooms…

They were cram-packed with books and CDs. But even worse was our attic. There we had managed to stack crates to the ceiling, filled with tools, slides, photo albums, and assorted junk.

What were we going to do with it all?

After checking out how much storage costs, (Aigh!) We set about getting rid of it.

The early optimism soon turned to despair. There is nothing more disheartening than spending entire weekends sorting stuff. Then afterward looking around to see that you’ve hardly made a dent.

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled also downsized before their trip. Read about it herehere, and here.

George Carlin’s video on ‘stuff’ is also not to be missed.

The downsizer’s mantra:

“You own more than you think you do. And it will take longer than you think it will to get rid of it all.”

For those people who don’t want to get rid of too much, here are some long-term storage tips.

The downsizing begins:
Start early because you need more time for sorting.

We were never able to get rid of everything in one go. 75% would either go on the recycled paper stack, the sale pile, or in the bin bag. But 20% ended up on the ‘save’ pile. “I just have to keep this!”

It was an emotional thing. We ended up re-visiting our ‘keep’ pile several times since it became easier to purge things after we re-visited it.

Plus we regularly came across items that brought back memories, such as old school yearbooks. So we’d stop sorting to page through the books, remembering those days and our fellow students. Digging through our belongings turned out to be a bit emotional at times.

Photograph sentimental stuff
Take pictures of souvenirs and sentimental items. Even though you haven’t looked at them for years (because they were buried underneath the rest of your belongings) it’s still emotionally difficult to get rid of them. By taking pictures that you can view later, it’s easier to bin them.

Set analog media over to a digital format
We’re from an earlier generation. So our house was full of records, CD’s, cassettes, photos, and analog slides. My husband couldn’t bear to lose any music and he spent innumerable hours digitalizing it.

For the analog slides, we were able to get hold of a slide scanner with an automatic feed. Even though it took a couple of months to scan them all; it didn’t cost that much effort.

We also ended up digitalizing all of our photographs via a flatbed scanner and only saving a shoebox full of our most sentimental snaps.

Selling stuff
We both worked full-time until just before our departure date. So that only left weekends for sorting, trip planning, and selling off our possessions.

As everybody knows who has ever sold something via the internet, it’s a time-consuming process. You have to research prices, take good photos, write descriptions, etc. etc. etc. We just didn’t have the extra time to do it and ended up only selling our larger, pricier items that we didn’t regularly use.

Smaller items were donated to friends and a second-hand store bought our used furniture in one go. (We didn’t own designer furniture.)

Selling tips from others
Some downsizers have had success selling their possessions via a ‘stuff blog’ (posting photos of all of their for sale items on a website) or making a ‘stuff page’ on facebook and sending the link to all of their friends.

Others have turned their apartment into a garage sale by putting price tags on everything. Then when someone came round to pick up an item– they would ask if there was anything else they were interested in.

Storage Tips:
Calculating storage costs

The Shurgard website indicates how much it will cost to store your belongings via a space calculator.

For example, storing a two-person couch plus salon table near to where we live would cost upwards of 40 Euros a month.

Note; it is possible to find cheaper storage units in rural areas.

Curver plastic storage boxes
Garages are known to flood and attics are often full of mice and insects. So plastic crates with lids are a better way to go, at least for the boxes that will be sitting on the floor. Plastic boxes also hold up better when they are stacked one on top of another.

Print out large labels with your name and e-mail address on them and stick them on all sides of your boxes.
We stored our boxes in a girlfriend’s attic alongside her belongings and other people’s stuff. (Her attic was the storage depot for a whole slew of friends). Every time our friend needed something, she would rummage through all of the boxes searching for it. But she left our boxes alone since they were labeled. Plus if something happens with the person whom you are storing your boxes with (such as they have to move house) other people will know who your boxes belong to and can contact you.

Label the box that contains extra winter/summer clothes.
A couple of times during our trip we ended up back home for a week. We wished that we had labeled which box contained our extra clothes. That would have saved us the effort of opening every box looking for the clothes.

Label the box that contains replacement camping and cycling gear.
If you need some replacement gear sent to you, it’s much easier for your mom to find it if she only has to rummage through one box.

Thoughts after the trip
On our stuff
Now that we’ve been back some time, we still can’t think of anything we got rid of and now miss. Even today, we can’t remember most of the stuff we purged!

In fact many of the things we stored during our trip, we ended up getting rid of shortly after coming back.

Is it because we’ve become extreme “non-hoarders”? Not really. It turns out that that’s quite common with people who have downsized before their trip. Other cyclists also spoke of opening their 10 storage boxes and looking at half of their stuff thinking, “Why did I save this?”

Our new home
We went from living in a 100m2 house to a 30m2 apartment afterward. We love our new apartment, even after living some time in it.

But we do know other people who were forced to downsize from 200m2 to 100m2 homes. They still feel depressed about having to move to smaller living quarters.

Why do we feel different from them? During our RTW trip, we lived out of bike panniers and a 3-person tent. So our new 30m2 apartment is a real step up for us qua space and luxury.

And we also enjoy the lower living costs of rent and utilities. As another ‘downsizer’ said, “It seems insane now, to pay for larger and larger living spaces just to store our stuff- but that’s what we did.”

 


Saving money for a long bike trip

Internet is full of round-the-world travelogues. But how do the riders manage to get the funds together for multi-year tours you ask?

After meeting a number of long distance cyclists. Plus having had contact with many more via being editor of Bicycle Traveler magazine, I’ve laid out some of the more popular methods on how they managed to get together the necessary bucks.

Living with parents
As you can imagine – once you remove the cost of rent, saving serious money for a trip happens faster.

This option is especially popular amongst younger cyclists and university students. When combined with not having to pay for meals, saving money is easy even when you have a minimum wage job. A number of older solo long-term travelers also manage to save cash by sleeping in their parent’s spare bedroom.

For couples, this method often comes into practice at the end of their trip. They stay with family while looking for a new job, apartment, and in order to replenish their coffers. By doing that, these couples don’t need to save an extra sum of money in order to have a ‘soft landing’ once their journey has ended.

Working holiday visas
A number of people between 18 and 30 years old take part in the working holiday scheme. From what I’ve come across, the favorite countries to take a break and earn some extra dollars in are Australia and New Zealand. Most of the travelers enjoyed their experience of bartending, working on a farm, etc. and were able to set forth their journey with the extra cash they earned. A number of other countries such as Canada also offer working holiday visas but are more stringent in their requirements and the number of people they allow to take part.

Additional info:

Thomas Anderson worked on a cattle station.

And as the goats on the road website states;

But if you want to get a job, not just to make ends meet, but so you can save money for further travels then you probably want to get out of the city or a huge chunk of your wages will go on rent and food, leaving little money to save towards adventures in Australia and beyond.

There are many opportunities for backpackers in more rural areas where there are staff shortages.

The best way to save money is to work in a remote area in a ‘live in’ job, one that includes your accommodation and food plus wages, commonly these are in hospitality or childcare.

This is what I did, I worked and lived in a Queensland country pub and I managed to save AUD$15,000 working for 6 months.

Saving money via giving up luxuries
Many cyclists’ practice this method and end up being able to save enough money for the first part of their trip. Then when they’re on the road and money starts drying up, some of them switch over to teaching English or getting a job via a working holiday visa.

Internet is full of advice on how to save money via scaling back, such as thisthis and this.

These money-saving tips were often used in combination with downsizing living costs; such as sharing a home with a number of friends or renting a room in someone else’s apartment.

For more information on how to budget for a round-the-world bike trip, check out this article on Tom Allen’s site.

Teaching English in East Asia
This has to be one of the more popular ways to earn money. And for good reason.

There are downsides but have you ever come across the ‘perfect’ job?

In 2016 Sarah Webb and her partner Scott Daniel-Guiterrez of Long Rode Home stopped their trip halfway to teach English in China.

On her blog Sarah writes; “Within a week of arriving in Chengdu we had an apartment, a kettle and a 12-month contract at a local English school.”

“For us, it was a win-win situation. As a full-time globe-trotter, you often tire of moving from place to place every day and so a respite in China, well if you count teaching screaming four-year-olds a respite, provided us with the opportunity to plant some shallow roots, earn some money, and really get to know another country. It’s a bit heart wrenching having to stop a world cycle trip halfway round, but the truth is unless you’re financially blessed or you’re quite content with living on $2 a day, then for many this is the best option. And it’s a pretty good one too.”

Sarah writes about the experience here, here and here.

She was also kind enough to answer these two questions:

Q: How much money did you manage to save by working as teachers that year?

A: By teaching English in Chengdu, China, we managed to save a total of $22,000 (that’s between two of us). Wages are ok but the cost of living can be very low and a lot of teaching positions include a housing allowance. We also did quite a lot of site seeing while we were in China so we certainly could have saved more.

Q: Would you do it again / recommend it to other touring cyclists who are running low on cash?

A: We would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat. Living and working in another country gives you an insight into the country that travelling alone could never offer. Teaching is also one of those jobs I believe everyone should do at one point in their life and my partner and I loved it so much we decided teaching is what we ultimately want to do. China is a wonderful country to do it in because while it’s challenging at times there are so many great opportunities and the country itself has some of the most diverse scenery on the planet. That said, a lot of South East and Central Asia, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, offer awesome opportunities.

Thanks, Sarah for answering my crass financial question. And as an aside note, in April 2018 Sarah and Scott were off to America to continue their journey down to Argentina. Their humorous travel accounts are not to be missed!

Wealthy family, trust funds and inheritance
Yes, trust fund cyclists do exist as well as travelers who received a windfall inheritance. But they don’t publicize the fact. Who wants to tell others that their funds were acquired via grandma kicking the bucket?

What’s more common is parents who help subsidize their kid’s tour.

Many younger, novice cyclists underestimate the funds necessary for their trip. They discover that trying to pedal on pot noodles and no beer lowers the fun factor. So out go the “Hello mom, could you…”  letters.

Note: Unfortunately quite a few bicycle travelers post inaccurate (lowered) daily spending amounts on the internet. Maybe they think it makes them look more hardcore? Or they forget to add in the cost of airplane tickets, material repairs, visas, etc. into their daily costs.

So beginners who budget for their tour according to these inaccurate figures often have to hit up their parents for extra funds in order to complete their journey.

Many parents do send money. They often see it as a reward for completing university and realize that this is the best chance for their kid to go out and see the world before they start working, buy a house and start a family.

Saving money via a higher wage
Some people earn a higher than average salary, sometimes up to 3 or 4 times the national average. They’re able to sock away more than half of their income each month by living frugally. This helps when trying to get enough money together for a multi-year tour. Instead of having to spend 10 years saving, they were able to do it in 3 or 4.

Tour guides
There are people who work as tour guides for part of the year and spend the remaining months on their bikes. Travelling Claus is one of them. According to Claus, the job is hard and the hours are long when you’re leading a group. He also writes; “The pay almost always sucks in this business. You get rich in so many other ways though and that’s why there are so many people who only want to do this.”

After many years of experience, he now earns roughly $200 US dollars per day and all of his expenses are paid while he’s on tour. At this time, Claus works approximately 5 months per year and the rest he spends travelling.

On his website, you can find out what it’s like to be a tour leader and advice on how to become one.

Rental Income
Who wouldn’t want a passive income?

Rental income, Airbnb, etc. do help subsidize or even pay for some people’s trips. But it’s not one of the more popular ways methods due to:

  1. If you don’t own your house free and clear, some banks don’t allow you to sub-let your house.
  2. Worries of renter’s damaging your personal home and furniture/possessions.
  3. High storage costs for furniture if you want to rent your home unfurnished.
  4. Popular major cities are starting to crack down on the number of days people can rent their apartments via Airbnb in a single year.

But it is noted as a positive way to go if:

  1. You have a large sum of money over that you can invest in rental properties.
  2. You have family/friends living in the neighborhood who can check on the property every now and then.

Selling the house
There are some cyclists who have traveled using the proceeds from their house sale, but they are in the minority.

Most long-term travelers who have a house either rent it out or sell it. Otherwise half of the tour costs could easily go out to paying the mortgage/rent.

From what I’ve come across, the majority of R.T.W. cyclists have given up their apartment/house. Their argument for doing so is; “it’s too big of a hassle and costs too much to keep it.”

Lower earners
But what about middle-aged people? The ones who are concerned about having to find a new job after a tour and who only earn average to lower than average salaries? There aren’t that many taking R.T.W. tours. Especially singles find it difficult to save ‘serious money’. As one guy put it, “I didn’t own a car or even a credit card. My full-time job just barely paid the rent on my studio apartment, plus utilities and groceries.” He was recently laid off and struck a deal with his new boss that he would start in a couple of months. During that time, he traveled using his redundancy money plus some savings.

Unique ways
For those of you dreaming of a long trip – these are the methods others have used. Maybe one of them will work for you.

Of course, there are even more options, but I can’t (and won’t!) list them all here. Just think creatively and maybe you’ll discover some hidden talent like David Brankley did. For more than 20 years now he has been touring the world and he pays for it by spending part of the year painting pictures.