Some of us like to sit on a beach at sunset, sipping cocktails. And some of us like to be a bit more active on our holiday. Lightfoot Travel has a few ideas on how to enjoy the best scenery in the world from the seat of a bike, whether it’s a leisurely ride or an adrenaline-inducing workout.
1. Ride down a volcano in Bali
This trip is a perfect way to start your day. Trek to the top of Mount Batur to watch the sunrise, then climb aboard a bike and enjoy a three-hour whizz down the volcano back to Ubud. You’ll take the most amazing photos while cycling through coffee plantations, rice paddies and villages.
Tip: Bring a proper headlamp, wear good hiking shoes and bring warm clothes for the summit. Oh, and be prepared to wake up at 2am for the glorious sunrise.
2. Whizz through a Bhutanese pine forest
The operative word here is “whizz” and not pedal as there are now two freewheel rides through the Bhutan. Start in Chele-la and wheel on into Paru or the Haa Valley. The valley was closed to tourists until 2002 so you pretty much have the place to yourself.
Bhutan may not be a world economic power but it’s top for happiness. The Bhutanese Prime Minister introduced World Happiness Day in 2011 and launched this international focus on happiness.
Tip: Walk clockwise around Chortens (stupas) and Mani (prayer) walls. If you see a prayer flagpole on the ground waiting to be put up, walk around it but don’t step over it—this is considered extremely disrespectful.
3. Saddle up for South Africa’s mountains to sea
This three-day ride takes you from the wilds of Bushman Kloof Wilderness Reserve, through the lush Cape Floral Kingdom to the picturesque Cape West Coast. When you’re not cycling you can go for a stroll on the beach, stop and smell the flowers or sample some of the local vintages.
Tip: Three of the largest wine cellars in South Africa—Namaqua Wines, Klawer Wine Cellars and Lutzville Vineyards—can be found on the West Coast Wine Route. However, it can be prohibitively expensive to send a few bottles home. Try to get hold of some good port wine instead. If you live in Europe, you won’t find South African port wine anywhere because of trading restrictions.
4. Machu Picchu challenge
If the other rides are too easy for you, then try this almost two-week saddle adventure. This ride starts at the world’s highest lake—Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu, or the “lost city of the Incas”—and will take up to 12 days to complete. But what a view! Enjoy picturesque scenes of snow-capped mountains and Andean lakes to spur you on.
Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The mixed World Heritage property covers 32,592 hectares of mountain slopes, peaks and valleys surrounding its heart, the spectacular “La Ciudadela” (the Citadel) monument.
Tip: There are no bathrooms, restaurants or drinking water when you enter the site. Keep your tickets so you can pop out if needed. Book early as they only allow 400 people to enter the site, per day.
5. Zoom through the clouds of Bolivia
Adrenalin addicts will love this ride through Bolivia that starts at 15,400 feet. It then follows a 40-mile trail that winds around sheer cliff faces, through the clouds and into the rainforest. This route that drops into a single-lane road definitely isn’t for the faint hearted. The locals call it El Camino de la Muerte (The Death Road), yet still 25,000 mountain bikers each year choose to ride it. A professional guide is essential for this.
Tip: There’s a reason why this was dubbed “World’s Most Dangerous Road” in 1995—300 people die on it every year. Make sure your tour company provides you with full safety gear, including a helmet with face shield and warm clothes. And no taking selfies while riding!
Bolivia not scary enough for you? Take a ride and a flip with extreme mountain biker Kelly McGarry over a 72-foot canyon:
Written By: Adriane Rysz