The nights are getting colder, the days are becoming shorter and it won’t be long before winter has been and gone and 2017 is upon us.So with it creeping up on us, there’s no better time to plan your cycling trip for next year.
Choosing where you take your wheels can be a tricky task if you are looking to change it up a bit, with countless options on offer. We’ve scoured the globe to pick out this quintet of destinations you need to explore on your bike in the year ahead.
Pack up your shoes, helmet and bike, not forgetting to insure yourself and your gear before you go, and zoom off to these cycling havens.
Named recently by Lonely Planet as the number one country you must visit in 2017, Canada was a fairly obvious inclusion on this list.
With a country so vast the options for different styles of rides are far and wide, but the one that sticks out takes you from the towns of Jasper to Banff in Alberta. Following the continental plate, this particularly mountainous region of the western hemisphere’s largest country is spectacular.
The 290km journey along the Trans-Canada Highway takes most people between four and five days to complete and takes in jaw-dropping glaciers, glistening lakes and expansive valleys along the route.
Hokkaido Island, Japan
The northernmost island of Japan became a whole lot more accessible in 2016. In a land where technology is king the newly opened bullet train from Tokyo to Hokkaido shouldn’t come as a massive surprise.
Visitors can now travel the 515 miles from the capital to the southern port town of Hokodate in just over four hours, reaching speeds of 160mph along the way. The velocity in which you travel decreases rapidly once you are there with options opened up when you opt to explore the island on two wheels.
The countryside is stunning, but once again it’s the hills that get our attention. The Bihoro Pass crosses the centre of the island across the mountains to take in awesome views as well as passing the hot spring site that provides a welcome rest stop.
We’re sticking with the mountain passes for one more destination at least as we head out to the far east to the communist country of Vietnam.
While a motorised option is the choice of thousands of locals in the hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but the centre of the country can be well explored with pedal power.
It’s probably one for the braver cyclists among us but challenging the Hai Van Pass between the city of DaNang and the Imperial capital of Hue is a rewarding effort. Following the coastline of the South China Sea, the winding roads up into the hills might provide a few hairy moments with the local drivers not much caring for speed limits, but keep your wits about you and the power on and it’s a risk worth taking!
Mark Cavendish described how “the way forward for cycling is on circuits” after the first day of the Abu Dhabi Tour this year and who’s to question the Manx Missile? Once a week you can follow the route of the pros around the Formula 1 track of the Yas Marina Circuit for a thrilling experience in the Middle East.
However, there’s one thing that you can do in the United Arab Emirates that you can’t do in many other locations and that is ‘Fat Biking’. With three-inch wide tyres the specially designed cycles allow riders to take to the sand dunes of Rub’ al Khali for a truly unique experience.
Following the troubles that plagued the region in the 1990’s the Balkans probably aren’t at the top of many tourists’ must-visit lists, but that is changing. More and more people are opting to give the recovering countries a chance and most don’t leave disappointed.
Bosnia-Herzegovina provides cyclists a wondrous mix of landscapes and experiences, with the western part of the country standing out above the rest.
Come down from the mountains that shape the country into the historic town of Mostar, before heading out into the countryside towards the awe-inspiring Kravica Falls and a number of sleepy villages where you’ll feel like the only visitor.
Wherever you opt to take your bike on an adventure, make sure you are fully covered for any mishaps. SportsCover Direct’s Sports Travel Insurance can cover you as well as your bike as you explore the world.