Many cyclist have come to appreciate the unique joy that comes from blending two amazing activities – cycling and traveling. The fusion is what we refer to as bicycle tourism. It can include bicycle camping if you enjoy ruffing it occasionally.
What is Bicycle Tourism?
Bicycle tourism is the act of traveling from one place to another or around a specific area using a bicycle. It’s a wonderful way to explore new destinations, not just as a passing tourist, but as an adventurer immersed in the journey.
Why Choose Bicycle Tourism?
If you’re still wondering why you should consider bicycle tourism for your next adventure, here are a few compelling reasons.
Benefits for Health and Fitness
Bicycle touring is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. It’s a low-impact exercise that boosts cardiovascular health and promotes overall fitness.
Environmentally Friendly Travel
By choosing to travel on a bike, you’re making a positive impact on the environment. It’s a carbon-neutral form of transport that allows you to explore without contributing to air pollution.
Experiencing Destinations at a Human Pace
Cycling allows you to discover places at a slower pace than driving. It lets you take in the sights, sounds, and smells that you would miss in a speeding car.
Getting Started with Bicycle Tourism
Ready to hop on your bike and start exploring? Here are some tips to help you get started.
Choosing the Right Bicycle
The type of bike you’ll need depends on your destination and the terrain you’ll be covering. Road bikes are great for city tours, while mountain bikes are perfect for off-road adventures.
Packing Essentials for Bicycle Tours
Traveling light is key for bicycle tourism. Pack only the essentials like a repair kit, water bottle, navigation tools, and weather-appropriate clothing.
Top 5 Bicycle Tourism Destinations
With so many incredible places to explore around the world, choosing the perfect destination for your cycling adventure can be a daunting task. Here are my top 5 destinations that offer remarkable experiences for bicycle tourists.
Destination 1: Loire Valley, France
Often referred to as the ‘Garden of France’, Loire Valley offers picturesque landscapes, magnificent chateaus, and miles of well-maintained cycle paths. It’s a truly idyllic setting for a bicycle tour.
Destination 2: Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, USA
For those seeking a challenging off-road experience, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is an unparalleled choice. Running from Canada to Mexico, it’s the longest mountain bike trail in the world.
Destination 3: Shimanami Kaido, Japan
The Shimanami Kaido is a spectacular 60-kilometer bike route that connects Japan’s main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over six smaller islands along the way. With dedicated bike lanes and rental services, it’s ideal for both beginners and seasoned cyclists.
Destination 4: Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand
This 150-kilometer trail takes you through the scenic heart of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a journey filled with historical landmarks, awe-inspiring landscapes, and charming towns.
Destination 5: La Route Verte, Canada
La Route Verte or “The Green Route” is a vast network of bike paths spread across Quebec, Canada. It’s the largest of its kind in North America, offering diverse landscapes from peaceful countryside to vibrant cities.
Safety Tips for Bicycle Touring
Staying safe during your tour is paramount. Always wear a helmet, follow local traffic rules, and ensure your bike is in good condition before heading out.
Joining Bicycle Touring Communities
Joining a bicycle touring community can be a great way to share experiences, learn from others, and even find new travel buddies.
Bicycle tourism is a unique and rewarding way to travel, offering countless benefits. Whether you’re seeking a new adventure or simply want to try a different way to see the world, consider embarking on a bicycle tour for your next vacation. Embrace the journey, and remember—it’s not just the destination, but the ride that counts.
1. Do I need a specific type of bicycle for bicycle tourism?
While any bike can work, the type of bike you’ll need often depends on the terrain and distance of your tour. Road bikes are great for city tours, while mountain bikes or touring bikes are better for longer, off-road adventures.
2. What should I pack for a bicycle tour?
Pack light and bring only essentials—repair kit, navigation tools, water bottle, weather-appropriate clothing, and some snacks. Remember, you’ll be carrying everything with you, so every ounce counts.
3. Are there guided bicycle tours available?
Absolutely! There are numerous organizations and travel companies that offer guided bicycle tours. This can be a great option for beginners or those looking for a more structured experience.
4. How do I prepare physically for a bicycle tour?
Start by gradually increasing your cycling distance each week. Mix in some strength training exercises to build your core and leg muscles. Also, consider doing some endurance cardio workouts.
5. Is bicycle tourism environmentally friendly?
Yes, bicycle tourism is a form of sustainable travel. It’s a carbon-neutral form of transport that allows you to explore new places without contributing to air pollution.