By Mary Zakheim
Today’s #ReasonToTravel is one that is sure to get your blood a-pumping and your heart a-racing – biking around the world! The record-breaking time is about seven months (195 days and six hours, to be exact) to trek around the world with nothing more than two wheels, a small trailer and some strong thighs. But what can those of us with thighs that are sort of strong (we have alright balance on the subway, anyway) do to fulfill this #ReasonToTravel? Glad you asked! Read on and get inspired to buy a road bike and take off to see this beautiful world from the seat of a bike:
Do you have three months, a road bike and a desire to pedal the 4,228 miles from the Oregon to the Virginian coast? You’re in luck! This classic route will take you through two national parks – Yellowstone and Grand Teton – and along thousands of miles of well-trekked roads lined with cafes, campgrounds and restaurants that have a long history with TransAmerican pedalers. Many of the stops along the way have logs and stories from bikers of years past – so you get to add to the route’s storied history as you make your way east.
From Cairo to Cape Town, this dusty route takes intrepid travelers on a tour through nearly 7,500 miles of Africa – past the Nile River and ancient pyramids, beside waterfalls and hulking mountains, through dry deserts and coastal towns. This route has been a lure for adventurers since the 19th century vision of Cecil Rhodes to build a railroad connecting the spanning continent. In four months, you pass through 10 countries, ending in Cape Town, South Africa, where you can give your legs a well-deserved rest on the town’s sun-soaked beaches.
The Silk Route
This 7,630 mile route takes you on a trek through history – and a ton of mountainous ranges. Starting in Beijing, China, the adventurous biker pedals through nine other countries – including Russia and Iran! – that are steeped in history… And super steep hills. See ancient relics that are preserved and read up on the stories that can’t be explicitly seen from the dusty route. Camp out beneath the stars on some nights or hole up in friendly hostels with a cup of tea – enjoy both of these rustic options because when you roll into Istanbul after five months on the trail, you’ll want to spring for a boutique hotel to rest your tired legs!
The Lewis and Clark Trail
After Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, explorers (which, by the way, is an enviable job title) Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were tasked with the job of mapping out the area from the Great Plains into the Pacific Northwest in the early 1800s. Though bikers will travel by wheel instead of on the river, the route is set along as much water as possible to try and follow the explorers path as closely as possible. Bikers will pedal over 3,000 miles starting in Illinois, looping through Oregon and ending in Montana. The route makes many stops past Lewis and Clark informational centers so you can sharpen your historical knowledge along the way.
When most people talk about traveling through Europe, they dream of doing it by rail, bus or plane. But you aren’t most people, you’re a long-distance biker – and you like a challenge (with incredible views). Kicking off in Russia and traversing through to Portugal, this trek covers nearly 4,000 miles of city roads, small town trails and mountain paths. Covering 14 countries in just over two months, this tour is a must for anyone hoping to experience Europe from a new vantage point.
Starting in Darwin, Australia and ending in Queenstown, New Zealand, this 4,500 mile trek takes its rider across the wild Australian Outback, past the magnificent Ayers Rock, through Australia’s blossoming wine country before going to New Zealand for its rocky volcanic terrain and sweeping views. Complete with dry deserts, rocky mountains and coastal cruises, this trail takes three months to complete – if you schedule in some rest and explore days (which you most definitely should!).
South American Trail
Spanning a whopping 8,400 miles, this trail covers six South American countries in six months! Starting in Colombia and ending in Chile, the trek takes its riders through the narrow hilly roads of Ecuador, the salt flats of Bolivia, the beautiful seclusion of Patagonia, 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, a dozen national parks and eventually to the serene coast of Chile. This trek is for any adventurer who also wants a heavy dose of fascinating history with their daily treks.