By Ryan Powell
Every cyclist has this unquenchable desire to explore the world—wanderlust, as one would say. Either you have it in you from the very beginning, or you gained it when you started cycling. Getting to explore new places, discover new things, and immerse in the unfamiliar is what makes cycling so enticing to many. For seasoned cyclists, it’s practically instinct to get on their bikes and just go.
The world is filled with majestic places to discover and experience while cycling, but some destinations were made for cycling because of their inaccessibility to most forms of transportation, the untouched quality of the terrain, and the peace that should not be disturbed by the noise of cars and machines. If you’re planning your next cycling tour, here are five excellent places to explore on your bike at least once in your life.
1. Vermont, United States
You don’t have to go far from home to find excellent biking trails. The State of Vermont was practically made as every outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Sprawling green mountains? Check! Majestic forest? Check! Scenic rivers and lakes? Check. Quaint little towns? Check! Everything an avid outdoor lover is all present in Vermont, so it’s no wonder that Vermont is such a popular biking tour destination.
If you go to the northeastern part of the state, you’ll find the rocky Northeast Highlands. Moving to the centre, you’ll reach the renowned Green Mountains. Farther down south on the west side, you will find the Taconic Mountains and lots of lakes and streams. Sandwiched between the Taconic and Green Mountains is the Vermont Valley, known for its picturesque rivers and stunning valleys.
2. The Andes Mountains, South America
The Andes mountain range in South America is known for being the longest continental mountain range in the world. The Andes runs from the north to the south of South America, covering seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
For cyclists, the Andes trails are the ultimate tests to their skill, endurance, and experience. It’s not just the long and challenging paths that make the Andes one of the toughest to conquer. Because of the mountains sprawled across such a vast area, you will experience different weather conditions you can think of.
But the pain and the struggle are worth it when you witness the sheer magnanimity and the encompassing beauty that the mountains hide. It also doesn’t hurt to know that not everyone can conquer the magnificent Andes Mountains, but you did or will.
3. Val d’Orcia, Italy
Val d’Orcia, also called Valdorcia, is found in Tuscany in central Italy. The landscape of Val d’Orcia sprawls through the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The organisation calls it as “an exceptional reflection of the way the landscape was re-written in Renaissance times to reflect the ideas of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture.”
The rolling hills, enchanting green meadows, and quaint little towns make for trail for cyclists who enjoy scenic rides. You can stop by and enjoy fine wine, cheese, and the Italian countryside. Val d’Orcia may not be for exhilarating adventures, but it’s got a lot to offer in terms of beauty, arts, culture, and experience.
4. Batanes, Philippines
Hailed as the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines holds many found and hidden wonders that people all over the world flock to visit. Batanes is one of the most remote and tranquil places in a country with 104.9 million people (as of 2017) despite more airlines offering flights to the area.
Batanes is the country’s northernmost province. It has the area with the smallest population and land area in the Philippines, so life there moves leisurely, but the people are not any less hardworking. Everything – the beaches, caves, lagoons, and islands – is raw and untouched. If you’re looking for a sanctuary away from the noise and distractions of the city, Batanes is the place for you.
The Bottom Line
Cycling to places doesn’t just allow you to witness and experience things that you’ve never seen or felt before. Whether you’re cycling for business or for pleasure, going to different places and overcoming a variety of terrains allows you to gain more experience and helps you grow as a cyclist.
Another way you can improve your cycling is by using a tool called power meter, which enables you to track your performance and provide valuable insights into your fitness. The data can be used to learn your strengths and bolster them, as well as discover your weaknesses and learn how to address them.
Passion and enthusiasm aren’t enough to bring you to places. The more you improve as a cyclist, the more trails you can conquer. Some biking destinations are more dangerous than others, and they require great skill and experience to traverse. You need to buck up if you want to visit the destinations listed above and see the world on your bicycle.
Photo credit: Rene Padillo
I’ve only gotten to see and enjoy central Vermont (Mt Mansfield to Lake Champlain); it’s my wife’s home state & if I could stay there longer vs just visiting, that I would do, ‘cause your are right! Such a magnificent land (and people) 😊
thanks for featuring batanes. yes, travelling around batanes by bike is perhaps the best way to truly savor the sights there. cheers!