The 10 most iconic bicycle rides in the world

For cycling enthusiasts, there is nothing like riding on the open road and witnessing magnificent sights as you ride across the country. Fortunately, there are many incredible cycling trails around the world that offer scenic wonders as well as a great means of exercise.

You’ll want to be sure that you are fully prepared by being in good physical condition (cut out a few of those visits to Greggs!) and have the right equipment and accessories, especially if its a more challenging ride! Whether you are riding your bicycle around the yard or around the world, having bicycle insurance is a great way to protect your gear. Be sure that you are properly covered before taking your next trip.

Of the many different trails and routes available, there are 10 that are at the top of the list when it comes to offering magnificent sights and challenging rides. For vacation seekers who love to ride their bikes, these are the top 10 most iconic bicycle rides in the world.

1) The Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

The Great Ocean Road itself is one of the engineering marvels of this continent. The 243 kilometer stretch of road is windy most of the time, but offers magnificent views of the ocean and marvelous geographic features such as the famed Twelve Apostles, a series of rock columns near the shoreline. If you don’t have the time for the full run, the 60km stretch between Torquay and Bells Beach can be ridden in a single day.

2) Isle of Wight, England

The famed Isle of Wight offers a great deal of varied terrain from the deep green gullies to rolling hills to trails by the sea. However, the most striking feature is the white chalk cliffs that stretch along most of the island. There are plenty of small towns with hotels, pubs and festivals designed to entice cyclists from around the world to enjoy this fabled island.

3) La Route Verte, Canada

Recently completed, this incredible route runs the length of the Quebec province from east to west and features more than 2,485 miles of bicycle trails that have been carefully marked. The ever-changing terrain makes this a paradise of bike riding from the St. Lawrence River to the mountains of the Laurentides.

4) Udaipur City, Rajasthan, India

Ancient forts, beautiful temples and incredible palaces are found in this wonderful city. Riding your bike is the best way to see all of these wonders as well. The city itself combines the old world of narrow streets, herdsmen tending their goats and camels with the atmosphere of grand wealth and beauty. For those who wish to see one of the most fascinating cities in Asia, a bicycle ride through the streets of Udaipur City is an incredible treat.

5) West Coast, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania is still mostly undeveloped and a bike ride along the west coast reveals some of the most stunning countryside in the world. From the wonders of Cradle Mountain, the most famous in Tasmania, to Montezuma Falls, the tallest waterfall to the wondrous lakes and ocean views, riding along the west coast of Tasmania is to take a trip back in time. Yet, there are plenty of modern conveniences along the way to make your trip more comfortable.

6) Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, USA/Canada

One of the longest routes in the world, this particular trail of five different sections adds up to 2,057 miles. Of which you can spend a day or a month or more enjoying depending on how much of the US and Canada you want to see. Established to honor those who helped slaves to freedom in the days before the Civil War, this route runs from Mobile, Alabama in the south to Owen Sound, Ontario in the north with cultural museums along the way.

7) The Karakoram Highway, China/Pakistan

Easily the highest international road in the world, it is also one of the most breathtaking in terms of the incredible vistas of mountainous countryside. The snow-capped Karakoram Mountains are your constant companion as you traverse this amazing countryside, including the Hunza Valley. There are many villages along the way as well and some of the glaciers reach the roadway.

8) Mout Ventoux and Luberon, Provence, France

While the hills of Luberon are a challenge for cyclists, the rewards of visiting ancient Roman ruins are certainly well worth the trip. The mixture of sun, pine forests and blue fields of lavender that stretch on for miles is a tremendous sight. However, the legendary Mout Ventoux, the sight of many great runs during the Tour de France, is the highlight of a trip to this region.

9) Ruta Austral, Chile

South America contributes to the world of cycling by offering a tremendous route from Puerto Montt in the central part of Chile south to the Villa O’Higgins which is located in northern Patagonia. While some of this route is still gravel, there are incredible stretches of wondrous landscapes, forests and the signature enormous ferns that surround the Puyuhuapi Hot Springs near Queulat. There are also a number of ferryboats that you will take along the way as well.

10) The Route of the Hiawatha, Idaho/Montana, USA

While at 24km this may seem to be a short trail, it encompasses 7 trestles and 10 tunnels, including the famed Taft Tunnel. What was once an old railroad is now a paved bike trail through the Bitterroot Mountains that is somewhat remote, but the scenic vistas are certainly worth the trip. The entire route can be travelled in a single day, but the wonders of the countryside make this one of the best cycling trails in North America.

In addition to the top 10 most iconic bike trails in the world, there are many others which just missed the list, including the famed Muda Biddi Trail in Western Australia, the San Juan Islands in Washington, USA and the trail around the Sun Moon Lake in Taichung, Taiwan. All of these trails and more provide views of spectacular countryside while offering cyclists a means of enjoying their favorite hobby.

About the author

Stephen Ebbett has more than 10 years of experience spearheading innovative product and communication initiatives for corporations looking to gain a competitive edge when entering a new market. Stephen attended Durham University and holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Theology, as well as a postgraduate degree in Marketing. Outside of his work with Protect Your Bubble, Stephen enjoys rugby, film and photography.

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16 Responses to The 10 most iconic bicycle rides in the world

  1. Phil 11/08/2013 at 7:22 pm #

    The man from Durham omitted the world famous coast to coast C2C Whitehaven in Cumbria to Tynemouth/Sunderland on the North East England coast 140 miles of heritage, history, art, views, hills, landmarks and extraordinarily beautiful cycling country.

  2. Vincent 11/08/2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Thanks for the article.

    Small typo: “Mout Ventoux” -> Mont Ventoux

  3. David Smith 11/08/2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Great article and hopefully will inspire people to explore the world on their bike! Here are some more fantastic ideas for sightseeing on your bike –

  4. el grelus 13/08/2013 at 9:24 am #

    Carretera Austral: “some of it is gravel” nice joke 😀

  5. Kailas 13/08/2013 at 10:10 am #

    Thanks for sharing. Would like to cycle at the Great Ocean Road, Australia and Mount Ventoux.

  6. Rian Cope 13/08/2013 at 10:16 am #

    This just gets the juices going. I think the Karakoram Hwy is on my list next! Any cycling throughout the Outback of Australia is also stunning and so is New Zealand’s South Island!

  7. Josep 13/08/2013 at 11:52 am #

    And what about the Camino de Santiago in Spain?

    • John Rawlins 26/08/2013 at 12:46 pm #

      I have just finished the Camino de Santiago (the French route) in northern Spain. It is a fantastic ride – with a brilliant range of historic cities, bars, restaurants, and hostals along the route. I paid an average of seven euros a night to stay in the hostals (albergues) – which were all friendly, clean, and full of interesting characters.

      If you follow the walkers’ route with a mountain bike you will find every inch brilliantly signposted. The parallel road route is also excellent – although there remain one or two stretches where the hard shoulder just isn’t really wide enough for relaxed cycling. Spanish drivers tend to behave very well when they see cyclists and I saw none of driver aggression common in the UK.

      A brilliant experience that is way beyond anything available in the UK.

  8. Frank McIntosh 13/08/2013 at 12:36 pm #

    You’ve either got the n upside in “Mont” or left out of “Mount” in your piece on Ventoux. I sure wish there were nothing in the world to do but bicycle; I would certainly ride a few of these.

  9. LauraLordBelle 13/08/2013 at 4:48 pm #


    3) La Route Verte, Canada

    Mispelled “Lourantides”, it is actually “Laurentides”.

    Merci, Laura

    • Andreas 13/08/2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Thank you Laura for letting me know!

  10. TOM 16/09/2013 at 12:30 am #

    a BIG omission is the Vancouver B.C. to San Diego ride on Hiway 1 through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwoods/ocean/incredible scenery.

  11. Roger 17/03/2014 at 9:43 am #

    The stretch between bells beach and Torquay is less than 5kms, I think you meant Torquay to Lorne.

  12. HarryHimalaya 17/03/2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Yes all very good but how could you go past the Lhasa to Kathmandu cycle tour through Tibet which features a stop at Everest Base Camp and includes 7 mountain passes over 5,000 meteres and a downhill run of 140km. Check it out –

  13. wizofaus 17/03/2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Great Ocean Rd definitely deserves a spot (as does the similar but arguably more dramatic Amalfi Coast Rd) but I’d have to say the stretch between Torquay and Bells Beach isn’t worth bothering with – the best bits are between Mogg’s Creek and Cape Otway.

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