For World Bicycle Day:
The ten most impressive bicycle routes in the world
Since its invention in 1817, the bicycle has established itself as one of the most popular means of transport in the world. According to estimates, more than 1 billion bicycles are in use worldwide. According to Statista, around 257 million bicycles were sold worldwide in 2021 alone - and the trend is rising. In Germany alone, around 38 million people went on at least one day trip by bike in 2022, and according to Statista, 4.6 million even went on a cycle tour lasting several days.
And cycling also offers the opportunity not only to improve your own fitness, but also to take in the breathtaking world around you on the open road at a moderate speed. At the IAA MOBILITY in Munich, visitors will be able to try this out on two cycling test tracks in the English Garden as part of the IAA Experience. But what are the most beautiful cycle paths in the world? On the occasion of World Bicycle Day on June 3rd, 2023, we set out to explore ten of the most impressive cycling routes in the world.
1. La Route Verte – Canada
La Route Verte is the longest signposted network of cycle paths in North America, stretching more than 5,300 kilometers throughout the province of Quebec. The route covers both urban and rural areas - from the bustling metropolitan areas of Montreal and Quebec to the idyllic vineyard landscapes and orchards of the south of the province, to the breathtaking coastal landscapes of the Gaspé and the majestic mountains of the Laurentide and Charlevoix. The routes vary in difficulty and length, so that both beginners and experienced cyclists will find suitable routes.
2. Danube Cycle Path - across Europe
The Danube Cycle Path is one of the best-known and busiest cycle routes in Europe. With a length of more than 2,850 kilometers, the cycle path crosses several countries, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. A multitude of sights and several important cities lie along the route, including Ulm, Regensburg, Passau, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. The route is mostly flat and is ideal for families and less experienced cyclists.
3. Otago Central Rail Trail – New Zealand
The Otago Central Rail Trail is a popular cycling and hiking trail on New Zealand's South Island. The trail follows the former Otago Central Railway line, which runs from Middlemarch to Clyde. The trail is approximately 152 kilometers long and offers breathtaking views of the rugged mountains, the vast plains and the historic gold mining towns. The route is also known for its bridges, tunnels and stations, which date back to when the railway line was still in use. Thanks to its flat route, it is suitable for all age groups.
4. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route – USA
The United States' Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is a long-distance biking route that stretches from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, United States. With a length of approximately 4,418 kilometers, it is the longest off-road cycle route in the world. It runs through the Rocky Mountains and includes both dirt roads and mountain trails, and gravel paths. Route highlights include numerous national parks and wilderness areas, including Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. In some cases, cyclists have to complete passages at over 2,000-3,000 meters in altitude. Thus the route is particularly suitable for experienced mountain bikers and is also part of the toughest mountain bike race in the world - the Tour Divide.
5. Shimanami Kaido – Japan
Japan's Shimanami Kaido Cycle Route connects the main island of Honshu to Shikoku Island, taking cyclists across six islands connected by suspension bridges, past fishing villages and groves of Hassaku orange trees. The well-developed, 70-kilometer cycle path offers impressive sea and mountain landscapes in particular. As one of the most famous and popular bicycle routes in Japan, the route is suitable for both experienced cyclists and beginners.
6. The Munda Biddi Trail – Australia
The Munda Biddi Trail is a 1,000-kilometer cycle route in Australia and one of the longest continuous off-road cycle routes in the world. The trail passes through an impressive variety of ecosystems and terrains, including eucalyptus forests, wetlands and cliffy coastal landscapes. The trail begins in Mundaring, some 35km east of Perth, and travels through remote and dramatic landscapes to Albany on the south coast. This route is particularly suitable for mountain bikers.
7. Loire à Velo – France
The Loire à Velo is a 800-kilometer cycle route in France that traverses the entire Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mostly flat route stretches from Nevers in central France to the Atlantic coast, passing numerous châteaux, vineyards and historic towns and villages, including the châteaux of Chambord, Chenonceau and Amboise. With a total length of around 900 kilometers, the route is one of the best-known and busiest bike routes in France. Suitable for families as well as cyclists of all ages.
8. Pacific Coast Route – USA
The Pacific Coast Route is one of the most famous and scenic bike routes in the United States. It stretches approximately 2,980 kilometers along the entire west coast of the United States, from Vancouver, Canada, to the Mexican border in San Diego, California. The route offers a stunning mix of coastal vistas, steep cliffs, beaches, forests and seaside towns. Highlights include Washington's Olympic National Park, the famous Oregon Coast with its spectacular sea stacks and lighthouses, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the sun-kissed beaches of Southern California. Because of the hilly terrain and the occasional strong coastal wind, the route is particularly recommended for experienced cyclists.
9. Yungas-Straße – Bolivia
The Yungas Road in Bolivia, also known as "The Road of Death", is one of the most dangerous but also one of the most impressive cycling routes in the world due to poor road conditions, steep slopes, frequent fog and rain, and its narrow width. The route is approximately 64 kilometers long and runs from La Paz, the country's capital, to Chorizo in the Yungas region. The route meanders through the Andes mountains and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and the dense rainforest. The level differences on the road are enormous, with altitudes ranging from around 4650 meters in La Cumbre down to 1200 meters in Coroico. It is particularly suitable for professional mountain bikers and adrenaline seekers.
10. The Carretera Austral – Chile
The Carretera Austral in Chile, officially known as Route 7 (Ruta 7), is one of the most scenic highways in the world. The cycle path stretches over 1,240 kilometers through the southern regions of the country. It starts in the town of Puerto Montt and ends in Villa O'Higgins, at the southern end of the Patagonian part of Chile. For cyclists it goes through dense forests, past deep blue lakes and glaciers, over high Andean passes and through wide, open Patagonian plains. There are several national parks and nature reserves along the route, including Parque Nacional Queulat, Parque Nacional Cerro Castillo, and Parque Nacional Patagonia. Suitable for ambitious cyclists.
Anyone who is now enthusiastic about travelling should not forget: cycling aficionados will also get their money's worth at the IAA MOBILITY 2023 in Munich. As part of the IAA Experience, visitors can rent and test the latest innovations in the bicycle industry - whether classic bicycle, cargo bike or e-bike - on two cycling test tracks of different lengths in the English Garden. The manufacturers participating in the Cycling Test Tracks are distributed at various locations in the IAA Open Space. Those interested can find a visualization of both circuits in the official IAA MOBILITY app.
Two Cycling Test Tracks Circuits in the English Garden at the IAA MOBILITY