The second Tour de Yorkshire will hit the roads at the end of April, taking in 520 kilometres of stunning Yorkshire scenery across three stages. The event was founded on the back of the significant success of the County’s hosting of the 2014 Tour de France’s first stage.
This year (2016) Beverley, Middlesbrough, Doncaster and Scarborough are all on the race itinerary and millions of fans are set to take to the roadside to cheer on the competitors. Without doubt, the Tour de Yorkshire is a brilliant addition to the County’s sporting repertoire and is inspiring people to get on their bikes. But what if you’re a keen cyclist with a bit of wanderlust, looking for something a little more exotic than the rolling hills of Yorkshire?
Well, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best bike paths in the world.
The Mawddach Trail, Wales
The Mawddach Trail winds for 15 kilometres along a disused railway track next to the spectacular Mawddach estuary. Starting in the picturesque market town of Dolgellau and crossing the iconic railway bridge over the mouth of the estuary into Barmouth, the trail is part of the Snowdonia National Park and is considered to be one of the best and most beautiful in Wales.
A picnic along the way is highly recommended to take in the stunning views.
The Van Gogh-Roosegaarde cycle path, Eindhoven, Holland
Perhaps the most beautiful and definitely the shortest on the list, the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde path is part of the Van Gogh cycle route which runs through Eindhoven and North Brabant.
The 600 metre cycle path was created by the artist Daan Roosegaarde and contains thousands of twinkling coloured stones which light up at night to display swirling fragments of the famous Starry Night painting by Van Gogh.
The Shimanami Kaido Bikeway, Japan
The dedicated bike path that runs alongside the Shimanami Kaido expressway connecting two of Japan’s main islands, Honshu and Shikoku, is absolutely stunning. The 60 kilometre route offers incredible ocean views as it passes over nine islands, and there’s plenty of worthwhile stop-offs along the way.
For history lovers the Senkoji Temple in Onomichi and the Kosanji Temple on Ikuchijima Island are must-sees and anyone fit enough to take on the full route will traverse Kurushima Bridge, at over 4000 metres, it is the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Continuing with the bridge theme… San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge offers an equally exhilarating ride.
Views of the famous Alcatraz prison and the elegant city skyline gently blending into the contours of the hills and coastline are unforgettable. And there’s a few spots worthy of a visit at either end of the bridge including Vista Point and the Fort Point National Historic Site.
Berlin Wall, Germany
History lovers will not want to miss a cycle around the Berlin Wall. Rather than cycling the full 160 kilometre loop, many people stick to the city as the wall passes through the centre as well as by museums, memorial sites and the remaining East German watchtowers.
The famous East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie are must-sees for history buffs and the Parliament of Trees is a poignant garden memorial to those killed trying to cross the wall.
Within striking distance of Mendoza lies Coquimbito, a rural wine region shaded by the Andes. Its 12 kilometre ciclovia (bike path) runs alongside Urquiza Street and links nearly a dozen bodegas as well as olive oil producers and a museum on an easily navigable path.
The rustic, laid-back and beautiful path takes you past some of Argentina’s top wine producers, including Trapiche and La Rural, and regular stops is the sole purpose of cycling the path. Exceptional tasting sessions take place in some of the oldest stone-built estates in the Americas with stunning Malbecs taking centre stage.
Also found on the path is a wine museum at Bodega La Rural, chocolate tastings at Historias and Sabores and olive oil tastings at several farms along the route.
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France
Cycling along the palm-lined Promenade des Anglais on Nice’s seafront is a truly magnificent affair. Renaissance-style palaces, the art deco Palais de la Méditerranée and the luxurious Hotel Negresco are architectural highlights while Niçoise sculptor Sabine Géraudie’s striking work, La Chaise de SAB, provides some artistic flair.
The four-kilometre promenade sweeps alongside the Baie des Anges to form a brilliant crescent, offering exquisite views.
Yuetan Bicycle Path, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan
Stretching from Syuentzang Temple to the Mingtan Water Outlet, the Yuetan Bike Path is a 12-kilometre ride around the beautiful Sun Moon Lake.
While cycling around the lake’s sparkling turquoise, there’s scenic views of mountains and the shoreline is littered with colourful boats, small beaches and lush flora. You’ll also encounter some very artistic looking modern bridges as well as the locals selling gorgeous street food.
Bourke Street, Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s famous Bourke Street is a four kilometre corridor that connects the most easterly and westerly points of the city with its centre.
While most of the paths on this list are here for the views and make ideal ambles, Bourke Street is one for those who want to stop for a bite to eat…regularly. There’s a seemingly endless number of artisan food, wine and coffee shops along the route including the Bourke Street Bakery, widely regarded as a Sydney institution.
Danube Cycle Path in Austria
The breath-taking 600 kilometre Danube Cycle path directly follows the course of one of Europe’s most picturesque river system. Traipsing through 8 countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, cycling the full length is a trip of a lifetime for some.
Many however are looking for a more manageable ride and the river’s Austrian sector (300 kilometres from Passau to Vienna) is perhaps the most idyllic and loved among cyclists. The largely flat route meanders through meadow landscapes and vineyards with plenty to see along the way. The Melk Abbey and the legendary castle ruins of Dürnstein are must-sees, and the Wachau region is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most picturesque valleys.
The ride finishes in Vienna, a city brimming with palaces, art, museums and a peerless café culture – is there a better end to a bike ride? The Tour de Yorkshire sprint finish into Scarborough’s North Bay may lay claim to that title this year.