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Bicycle Trips

If The Open Pavement Is Your Love
Here Are The Hotspots

When I started to develop this web page on road bicycle trips, I asked myself “What were the requirements for a location to be named a hotspot?” Would it be the just the scenery? Or would the road conditions be the main criteria? Then I thought about where would someone like to take a dream road trip vacation, places where the slow pace of bicycling would be paramount. So here are my choices for bicycle touring hotspots.


Europe      Great Britain and Ireland      America



Be sure to check out the lists of free available maps and guides in the left column. There are 1000s of free brochures and information of bicycle routes and tours from all over the world. You can choose your interest by activity and country. This information is invaluable in your search for good resources for any bicycle adventure.

Also check out the information in the left column about bicycling in specific countries. Information includes getting there, lodging, bike rentals, and general information about bicycling in different regions of each country.

Europe Hotspots

If you have ever been to Europe, you can understand why I am going to start there. The European landscape is dotted with villages close together, usually only a short bike ride away. Within a few hours, you can have a leisurely ride amidst woods, forest, fields, hills, rivers, lakes, and farms and then stop for lunch at a wonderful restaurant in a quaint village. And after leisurely meal and some shop browsing, you can head off to your nightly accommodations in the next village. You will usually ride on secondary roads with little to no traffic, which means a very comfortable and safe trip. In fact, the European people generally respect the rights of bicyclist. Nothing compares with bicycle touring in many European countries.

France

The French people are enthusiast bikers. You will witness people of all ages on bicycles, whether carrying on everyday activities, touring around the countryside, or young people racing through the various streets in small groups. In parts of Paris on Sunday during certain hours, the French government has banned cars on the roads along the banks of the Seine between the Tuileries and the Effel Tower and alongside the Canal St-Martin.

The country of France is divided into eleven distinct regions, each one offering a diverse bicycling experience:

Alsace     Brittany     Burgundy    Centre-Loire

Champagne     Dordogne     Languedoc     Normandy

Poitou-Charentes     Provence     Rhone-Alpes

Italy

Where else could you find the perfect bicycling vacation but in Italy? You can choose the between the warm Mediterranean regions or the high alpine mountains. Either choice will greet you with ancient history, diverse geography, the charms of the old world, wonderful art centers, and exquisite food and wine — and more exquisite food and wine. And you will be immersed in bicycling culture. The two main Italian hotspots for bicycling are the Tuscany and Umbria regions. Both areas are bicycling paradise, offering great landscapes with rolling hills, ancient villages with fascinating architecture, and a wonderful old world culture. If you are going to bicycle in Italy, then these two regions are a must do.

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Great Britain and Ireland Hotspots

England

A bicycle trip in England can be an extremely relaxing and healthy vacation. You can truly enjoy and appreciate the pastoral streams, hills, and scenic villages that encompass the English countryside at the slow pace of a bicycle trip. Miles and miles of signposted bicycle routes and trails run from coast line to coast line, and into the Walsh and Scottish countryside. These sign posted routes include scenic secondary roads, country lanes, canal paths, unused railways, and bicycle paths. England is the perfect country for a bicycle trip from a few days to weeks.

Scotland

The National Cycle Network runs through many regions of Scotland. This network gives you sign posted bicycle routes through out the countryside. It seems that Scotland has something for every bicyclist: You can see the rugged coastlines, breathtaking rural scenery, and wide open land. The secondary roads and country lanes have little traffic and offer short and long distance touring opportunities. Even though mountain biking may be growing in popularity in Scotland, rural road bicycle touring is outstanding.

Wales

The National Cycle Network runs through many regions of Scotland. This network gives you sign posted bicycle routes through out the countryside. It seems that Scotland has something for every bicyclist: You can see the rugged coastlines, breathtaking rural scenery, and wide open land. The secondary roads and country lanes have little traffic and offer short and long distance touring opportunities. Even though mountain biking may be growing in popularity in Scotland, rural road bicycle touring is outstanding.

Ireland

The countryside of Ireland offers excellent bicycle touring opportunities. The Irish villages lie short bicycling distances away from each other, with superb scenery separating them. The roads are ideal for short or long bicycle trips and the climate is fairly mild. And I can’t mention touring in Ireland unless I recommend the Irish pubs for entertainment and for meeting the locals every evening. Ireland is definitely a bicycle touring hotspot.

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America Hotspots

New England

The towns and villages of New England have filled countless postcards for decades and even today. It seems like most of the villages include a town square surrounded by the town hall, churches, school, and library — just like vintage postcards depicted. Then when you add the quiet rural roads, rolling pastures, lust woodland, lakes and rivers, and countless inns, a bicycling paradise emerges. And to top off the spectacular scenery, the autumn foliage of brilliant orange, gold, and crimson is unsurpassed. A bicycling trip in one or many of the New England states can be a dream vacation.

California

Bicycling in California offers a variety of road bicycling touring. First there is the magnificent wine country north of San Francisco and throughout the central coastline near Santa Barbara. These rolling hills with small mountain climbs are perfect for long and short trips. And the roads, paved trails, and details touring maps facilitate trip planning. If you are looking for a long adventure with some of the most beautiful scenery in America, then the Pacific Coast route that follows along California Highway 1 is a must do trip. During this trip, you will ride among sheer cliffs, endless pounding surf, magnificent secluded beaches, and coves.

Pacific Northwest

Bicycling in Oregon can include miles of rugged coastline, endless beaches, and old lighthouses that still protect the craggy landscape. Or you can choose to explore the Columbia Gorge with the most concentration of waterfalls in America and endless fields of wild flowers. The scenery is unforgettable and the roads are some of the best in this country. And if Oregon is not enough, the State of Washington has stunning vistas and the San Juan Islands for to experience nature at its best.

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About John Stultz

John Stultz is the owner of Bear Paw Tents. He's been bicycle touring for over 30 years and is excited for sharing his insight on cycling. He considers himself an ultralight backpacker and ultralight bicycle tourer. John is the original founder of Bicycle-Touring-Guide.com. He started the website to share his passion for touring and to help people plan for their own bicycle tour.

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