The best cycling holidays for 2019
World Expeditions has launched a range of new cycle trips, including several to remote regions including a high altitude cycle in Lakakh, e-biking itineraries in remote China, historic rail trails in Canada and a new mountain biking adventure in Morocco.
World Expeditions pioneered cycling holidays in India in 1977, in China in 1978 and in Vietnam in 1990 and the new range demonstrates that the appetite for cycling holidays has not diminished. Here are eight of the best cycle trips for 2019.
Cross Jordan from north to south
Following a mix of quiet roads, scenic trails, dirt tracks and even caravan paths, Jordan by bike takes in some of the country’s most sought-after visitor experiences – from covering yourself in mud and floating on the Dead Sea to spending a full day at Petra and sleeping under the stars at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum. Further highlights include enjoying scenic views from the summit of Mount Nebo (where Moses looked across at the Promised Land), riding to Dana Biosphere (Jordan’s largest nature reserve), admiring 2,000-year-old frescoes at the less known Little Petra (discovered only recently, in 2010), taking in the vibrant atmosphere of capital Amman and relaxing on a boat ride at the Red Sea.
Encounter epic scenery and fascinating minority cultures in southern China (E-bike option available!)
Travel where few outsiders have been before: riding quiet backroads through the lesser known parts of the Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi provinces, you will delve deep into the heartland of the local ‘hill people’. Hike the breathtaking Longji Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, visit ancient Ming and Qing dynasty river towns, see up close the spectacular red sandstone rocks of Wanfoshan Mountain and enjoy a boat trip on the Li River, famously overhanging with miles of karst mountains. During your trip you will sample local Chinese cuisine virtually straight from the fields and discover traditional architecture unique to this region, such as the covered ‘Wind and Rain’ bridges.
Ladakh Cycling Epic with Kate Leeming
This is a trip through some of the most starkly beautiful – and challenging – cycling terrain on the planet. Kate Leeming is an elite cyclist, whose passion for adventure cycling has seen her complete epic long distance cycle expeditions in Africa, South America and in the Australian desert. Kate has designed and tested this unique high altitude trip, in which keen and fit riders will cycle a new route on some of the highest roads in the remote Himalaya over 3 passes of more than 5000m.
Bike (and hike!) your way around the wilds of Madagascar
Mingle with the friendly Malagasy people and experience Madagascar’s untouched beauty in true adventurous spirit. From capital Antananarivo, ride the wilds of Madagascar across wide-open savannah, punctuated by otherworldly rock formations. Vastly different from mainland Africa, trek amongst granite peaks, hike colourful sandstone canyons, swim in natural pools and search for lemurs in lush tropical rainforests. Isolated from Africa millions of years ago, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot – over 80% of its plant and animal species are found nowhere else on Earth! – and has evolved an incredibly rich ecology and a landscape that is as bizarre as it is unique.
Explore the remote temples of Cambodia at handlebar level
A new cycling adventure that takes you off the beaten track in northern Cambodia. After spending a full day exploring at handlebar level the glorious Angkor Wat, the itinerary continues to some of Cambodia’s lesser known (and less frequented) temples, such as: Preah Vihear, atop a 525-metre cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, the natural border between Thailand and Cambodia; the sprawling jungle temple of Beng Melea, largely overrun by trees growing from its broken towers; the mountain Koh Ker Temple, whose seven decks rise 35 meters high; and the Roluos collection of monuments, which represent the remains of the first major capital of the Angkor era Khmer Empire.
NEW! Remote Temples of Cambodia by Bike with World Expeditions (8 days) departs monthly year round, from $1,740 per person
Follow the Rum Runners Rail Trail and travel back to the ‘Prohibition’ era
In the prohibition of the 1920s and ’30s, many sailors in Nova Scotia stopped fishing and became international smugglers. Boats would pull into secluded coves and islands, while beaches and woods provided many discrete hiding places for liquor. Many barrels are thought to have been shipped on the railway between capital Halifax and the port town of Lunenburg, with thousands of gallons of alcohol then resold along the eastern US coast. Today the rail line, converted to a recreational path that is aptly named the ‘Rum Runners Trail’, is suitable for cyclists of all abilities – but there are also plenty of optional hilly detours for anyone willing to go the extra mile for the best views!
Immerse in the beauty of Cuba as Havana gears up to celebrate its 500th anniversary in November
Cuba is a Caribbean gem ideally geared for a two-wheeled holiday, where World Expeditions’ local guides will introduce you to their favourite haunts and hideaways. After exploring the cobbled squares and narrow alleyways of the music-filled capital Havana, set off to explore the lesser known Cuba. Pedal into the rural heartland through an ever changing landscape, from misty valleys to open woodland, caves and crags and of course the equally impressive coastline. The final days are spent in the beautifully preserved town of Trinidad, with its colonial Spanish architecture, before returning to Havana via Santa Clara, the resting place of Che Guevara.
Discover a mountain biking paradise in Morocco
Morocco’s exotic fusion of experiences makes it an ideal destination to explore by bike and the opportunities on this new cycling trip, beginning and ending in the 1,000-year-old ochre-coloured city of Marrakesh, are both physically exhilarating and culturally infused. Cycling through expansive deserts spotted with green oases and distinctive architecture of ‘kasbahs’ ancient fortresses, you will climb into the highlands of the legendary Atlas Mountains and descend into valleys lined with date palms. Along the way, you will tackle rugged mountain tracks in search of the next oasis, Berber village, or medinas full of glittering goods.