A pick of the best cycling holidays
The likes of France and the Netherlands have long been staple destinations for cycling enthusiasts, but the growth of riding a bike for sport has seen cycling-holidays spring up all over the world. And there are some new destinations that are going to special lengths to burst onto the scene
Yorkshire has thrown itself into road cycling with almost unnerving gusto. Since hosting the opening stages of the Tour de France in 2014, it has launched an annual Tour de Yorkshire race and will host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.
The prime part of the county for cycling is the Yorkshire Dales, which is full of classic English countryside – green, rolling hills that aren’t steep enough to make them arduous, sheep in fields, dry stone walls and welcoming B&Bs.
New Zealand is one of those countries where rail travel was attempted and never really took off. There are still some fairly perfunctory train services across the country, but many lines have been closed through lack of use. They haven’t, however, been left to rot.
Five former rail lines across the country have been turned into long-distance cycle routes (www.railtrailsnz.com). These are set up for multi-day countryside pedals, with scenery ranging from old gold-rush settlements and wild beaches on the west coast of the South Island to ancient rainforests, suspension bridges and rolling countryside on the North Island’s Timber Trail. Companies providing transfers to start points have set up in the towns near the beginning and end of each trail.
Cycling holidays in South East Asia have been established for some time now – particularly in Vietnam and, increasingly, in Cambodia. It’s often the favoured local method of transport.
Myanmar is the latest hot destination in the region, and that seems to apply to cycling holidays as well as more-conventional ones. Several operators are offering multi-day cycling trips, largely focused on the hills, temples, ancient cities and stupas of the Irrawaddy Delta, which is pedal-friendly thanks to a distinct lack of hills.
Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com) offers a seven-day Cultural Burma by Bicycle tour for US$2,550 (Dh9,366).
Finland’s flatness makes it theoretically ideal for cycling, but its tendency to be covered in snow is less conducive. That’s where fat biking comes in. Fat bikes have extra-large, extra-inflated tyres to spread the weight across a larger surface area, and give the effect of gliding across the snow rather than sinking in.
Exodus (www.exodus.co.uk) recently started offering eight-day fat-biking holidays along specially prepared trails in the Oulanka National Park. It’s all primordial forests, frozen lakes and tundra landscape – with the possibility of seeing the northern lights, too. Prices start from £1,119 (Dh5,132) per person, including wilderness lodge accommodation.
Fat bikes don’t just work on snow, though – they work on sand as well. And the Qasr Al Sarab resort (qasralsarab.anantara.com) in the Rub Al Khali offers introductory fat biking tours on the surrounding dunes.
Updated: February 16, 2017 04:00 AM