Essays

Reason to Ride

Words By sheila lam

Cycling is an exciting word. As a verb, it can mean riding a bike or, more fundamentally, movement. Forests cycle through seasons, completing a lifecycle. The earth cycles through time, making a revolution. And we cycle through experiences, finding a rhythm. When it comes to travelling, cycling also means a new way of seeing the world. Furiously whipping through hills or joyfully pedalling along the sidewalk, covering ground on two wheels, exhilarates the adventurer in us. With breathtaking vistas and excellent climbs, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to ride worldwide.

montenegro

A terrain famed for its beauty, Montenegro is nestled between pristine Adriatic waters and high mountain ranges in the north. The illustrious tiny islet of Sveti Stefan is the perfect seaside destination that boasts coastal charm with boundless opportunities on the road. From the Unesco-protected Bay of Kotor to mountain trails, this municipality marks an ideal meeting site for those ready to embark on new tracks, a veritable playground for cyclists. With the country’s versatile topography and active culture, cyclists are spoilt for choice throughout all seasons.

nepal

For those in search of a cultural and spiritual destination, the otherworldly Upper Mustang in Nepal awaits. A restricted kingdom to foreign visitors until 1992, it is one of the most uniquely preserved regions in the world. Flying into Jomsom is an ideal base for cycling in the surrounding provinces, exploring Buddhist monasteries and Nepalese and Tibetan culture along the way or simply taking in the astonishing panoramas. With its dramatic countryside, this legendary region is hidden in the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. It is one of the deepest valleys in the area and one of the most remarkable territories in the world.

girona, Spain

An ancient city and province of the same name where small villages are brimming with culture. Get lost along long winding roads through these quaint medieval towns of enchanting history and steep cliffs. You can uncover the tales and dwell among its captivating stone architecture praised by artists and designers like Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel, or go beyond the walls through a rich countryside of fields and forests that drives an authentically Mediterranean environment. Girona’s idyllic cycling routes are renowned for bringing together the best of the sea and country.

The earth cycles through time, making a revolution. And we cycle through experiences, finding a rhythm.”

jackson hole, USA

Evoking the pioneering spirit, the Rocky Mountain foothills are rugged terrain for riders looking to immerse themselves in the vast wilderness of the Old West. Best known for its snow-capped views and winter sports, Jackson Hole valley inspires daring cyclists year-round with its natural beauty. Its spring, summer, and fall are marked with vibrant colours and numerous routes winding through forests, mountains, and wide open fields. And about 60 miles from Jackson Hole, situated across volcanic ridges in Wyoming, you’ll find Yellowstone – the United States’ first national park. With over two million acres of crystal lakes and steaming geysers, it’s not to be missed.

taiwan

Often referred to as the bike manufacturing capital of the world, the love affair with cycling in Taiwan began in the late 1980s. By the mid-2000s, the government started investing in cycleways across the island nation, seeing how increasing cycles positively impacted the country’s leisure and health culture. In 2015, an official 968-kilometre route was constructed, inspired by Taiwanese cult film Island Etude which follows a boy’s journey of self-discovery on a solo cycle tour of the country’s coastline. Cycling Route No.1 offers a climb unlike any other for the cycling-obsessed.

Beyond finding the right cadence, the right rhythm, and the right road, cycling is so much about exploration. From your neighbourhood streets to Nepal, no matter where you are in the world, throw on your helmet and set off.

Photos by Lauren Wiper.

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