For Architectural Digest, by Nick Mafi.
Casual bikers love to go for a spin because the activity is a perfect blend of exercise and scenery. Added to this fact is that bike paths are typically away from busy streets, making the sport all the more serene. Yet, for those biking-enthusiasts who are not satisfied with simply hoping on their bicycle and zipping through their neighborhood or local parks, greater, and more difficult routes do exist for those who seek them. From the islands off of the coast of Japan to the lush, rolling countryside of England, AD survey’s the ten most scenic biking routes for you to consider traveling to. If nothing else, you’ll come back sore, but thoroughly rejuvenated from your experience.
If nothing else, you’ll come back sore, but thoroughly rejuvenated from your experience.
Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, is an ideal location to take in some of the most dramatic sites in the world from the seat of your bicycle. Whether it's a big sky, or massive mountains you are looking for, Torres del Paine has it all and more.
Taiwan has some of the best biking routes on the planet. Cyclists can, for example, begin their trip at Sun Moon Lake, which is the start of the Yuetan Bike Path. The 7.5 mile trail takes riders through a series of in indigenous villages and temples.
At first glance it would appear biking on these roads would be dangerous, but the Shimanami Kaido in Japan is separated from the road. This means riders can enjoy the 40 mile road through a series of bridges and scenic islands at their own pace.
At the northeast tip of the spectacular North Sea Cycle Route are the paths through the islands along Hordaland, Norway. Take the path the full 3,728 miles south from Norway, and riders will travel through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, England and Scotland.
The 170 mile long path from the Pacific to Caribbean coasts cuts through Costa Rica. Not for the faint of heart, the La Ruta de los Conquistadores takes riders through mud paths, rainforests, coffee plantations and a dormant volcano.
Planning on visiting Israel anytime soon? Be sure to plan a cycling trip throughout various parts of the country. Bikers can ride along the Dead Sea or even through the Negev desert (pictured) down toward the Red Sea port of Eilat. Should you select routes in the southern part of Israel (around the Negev desert) you will be afforded the opportunity to witness such breathtaking sites as the Ramon Crater, Zin Valley, Yerukham area and Halukhim Range.
From Canada's Alberta all the way through to New Mexico is the 2,734 mile-long path known as the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Definitely not a rider for beginners, the route will take you through some very isolated and extreme parts of North America. Bikers beware of the potential moose, mountain lions and grizzlies through the trail. But the breathtaking views will certainly make it all worthwhile.
Located in China and passing through the Tibetan city of Lhasa and the Nepalese border is the Friendship Highway. At times, the route can reach 16,400 feet, which, on clear days, allows for views of Mount Everest in the far distance.
With some of the most dramatic and diverse scenery on the planet, it makes sense that South Africa would have top notch cycling routes as well. Start in Cape Town and head east through the Garden Route, a 133 mile long, twelve day trip that runs through beautiful vistas and coastal settings as well. There are four stops along the way, including Cape Town, the harbor town of Mossel Bay, Storms River which is located at the mouth of Tsitsikamma National Park, and the beautiful Addo Elephant National Park.
The South Downs Way, which is a 99 mile trek through the heart of England, is a beautiful trip through the rolling British countryside. There is a good amount of elevation at times during the route, so be prepared. But, riders can also reward themselves at the various pubs and guesthouses located throughout the small villages.
More from Architectural Digest: