Long-distance bike rides are some of the most incredible experiences in the world, as they can take you to places you would never be able to get to by any other means, and on your own schedule. There are few better ways to immerse yourself in a new culture than by exploring it on two wheels, and an adventure like this will always be remembered fondly after you return home and settle back into everyday life. Here are the top 10 long-distance bike rides around the world that are worth taking this year.
1) Discovering Dubai: Ballet on Wheels
When it comes to long-distance cycling, Dubai does things bigger and better than most—in fact, with a number of scenic parks and trails, including a few off-road options, Dubai could be considered one of world’s premier biking destinations. It goes without saying that some have dubbed Dubai Ballet on Wheels thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination amongst professional cyclists.
2) Route 66 – The Mother Road
The United States’ Main Street, Route 66 is one of North America’s most legendary road trips. This 3,400-mile route links Chicago to Los Angeles through eight states and nine time zones, passing by countless landmarks along its way. From rolling hills in Kansas to pitch black desert in New Mexico, Route 66 makes stops at iconic American towns like St. Louis, Missouri and Amarillo, Texas along with favorite haunts such as California’s Palm Springs.
3) Trekking in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco
The Atlas Mountains stretch across Morocco, and it’s here that you’ll find a great many of these routes. There are few roads leading to remote mountain villages, which makes trekking through them easier than elsewhere in Africa. You can ride from Tangier on Morocco’s northwest coast to Merzouga at its most southern point and sample Berber culture along with stunning views of snowcapped mountains.
4) London to Paris
One of Europe’s longest bike rides, London to Paris will take you through four countries and roughly 865 miles. The ride starts in London, on Southwark Bridge—the busiest Thames crossing in Europe—and takes you past Big Ben, Parliament, and Buckingham Palace along a mostly flat route to Dover.
5) Copenhagen by Cycle
Copenhagen, Denmark is famously a cyclist’s city; bike trails crisscross its historic canals and 17th century cobblestone streets. To many cyclists, it’s considered to be one of the best places in Europe to explore by bike. Don’t forget to check out Tivoli Gardens and Hans Christian Andersen’s childhood home while you’re there!
6) Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain
This is one of those rides that can make you feel like you’re a kid again—you’ll cycle past castles, churches, and through charming small towns while enjoying some of the best views in Europe. It’s also an especially great ride to do in March, when Montserrat celebrates its Lenten festival called Carrers d’Abril. It features hundreds of street performers on stilts, with fireworks every night around midnight.
7) Rhine River Cruise, Germany
The Rhine River flows through Germany, Switzerland, and France; if you’re up for a long ride, there are plenty of options along its length. Renting a bike from one of Europe’s many bike shares can help make your journey easier. This route begins in Basel, Switzerland and runs from May to October. The entire trip takes around 160 miles—easily doable over five days by bike.
8) Four Corners (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado)
This ride is perfect if you’re looking to get off-the-beaten path, away from tourists and traffic. The Four Corners region is comprised of diverse natural environments, including forests, plains and deserts that converge at a single point. See Indian petroglyphs in Utah, and witness incredible rock formations in New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument—all while riding your bike! Round trip: 3 days.
9) Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Gran Canaria’s southernmost point is home to a rugged landscape perfect for mountain biking. Tackle hills, valleys and tree-lined trails on a bike rented from Calle de San Bartolomé in Agüimes, Gran Canaria. Take note: Only experienced riders should attempt some of these more difficult paths, as they can be dangerous to novice cyclists.
10) Open Road West Africa – Mombasa to Dakar
This trip starts from Mombasa in Kenya to Dakar in Senegal. On your way, you’ll pass through Kisumu, Nairobi and Eldoret before you reach Kampala and Kigali. You’ll pass through Goma and Bukavu in Congo before entering Bangui. After crossing CAR, you’ll enter Chad and ride until Moyo where it’s possible to catch a flight to Douala or Libreville.