If you’ve biked Tuscany and Provence, wheeled through Moab, and done Napa and Sonoma, maybe this is the year that you break out of the pack and do something different. If you need inspiration, here are 5 biking trips that are guaranteed not to be boring, in exotic places that you and your friends have likely not been to or even heard of.
This nine-day trip from REI starts in South Africa’s Zululand and ends on the wild beaches of Mozambique. It’s a trip that encompasses KwaZulu-Natal, a biodiversity hotspot and homeland of the Zulu people. It also goes through iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Lake St. Lucia, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can expect to see acacia forests and hope for sightings of the Big 5 — lions, leopards, Cape buffalos, rhinoceros, and elephant — on a classic safari that’s part of the trip. At journey’s end, Mozambique holds the promise of snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. Southern Africa Mountain Biking and Safari: Zululand to Mozambique is $8,999 per person, based on double occupancy (as are all prices)
Mekong Boat Bike Adventure
Grasshopper Adventures has created this 11-day journey from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Saigon, Vietnam, traveling by bicycle and riverboat. On the Mekong Boat Bike Adventure, mornings are spent on two wheels, afternoons lazing on a riverboat. Highlights include exploring the legendary temples of Angkor Wat and the bustling streets of Saigon, traveling down Cambodia’s Tonle Sap River and seeing the dense network of canals in the Mekong Delta. It’s all about a slow immersion into these two Southeast Asian cultures, for $4,900.
The Inca Adventure-Downhill is a mountain bike trip to Peru from Sacred Rides that’s reserved for the big dogs, a lot of hard-core riding mixed with Inca culture. There is 50,000 feet of downhill on this multi-day downhill adventure in the Andes. Highlights include riding the Megavalanche downhill course beloved by pros, the Lares Inca Trail and the Milky Way. It’s definitely experts only, with technical terrain, rocky sections, steeps, and such features as old stone steps. Riders who have done some stunt riding and jumps will have the edge. The cost is $3,395.
Sri Lanka Tip to Tip by Road Bike
Spice Roads Cycling has been taking intrepid bikers on the roads of Southeast Asia for years. One of their newest trips is Sri Lanka Tip to Tip by Road Bike, a 12-day trip across this emerging island destination that was off limits for decades due to a civil war. It’s peaceful now, and this trip promises temples, tea plantations, and lively towns. It starts in Negombo and goes through Jaffna, Kandy, crosses to Mannar Island and continues on to Uda Walawe National Park, with an early morning safari in a park known for its birdlife, elephants, and crocodiles. The ride finishes at Dondra, close to Galle. £2261 ($2,991)
Napoleon – Paris to Saint Petersburg
For serious riders who have a lot of time on their hands and an appreciation of history, the Napoleon- Paris to Saint Petersburg trip from Ride Seek crosses seven countries and two continents. It’s a three-stage ride that follows in the footsteps of Napoleon’s army, from Paris through Germany, Poland, the Baltic States and into Russia. You can choose to ride any of the individual stages but if you decide to do the entire trip, it takes 36 days, covers 2,300 miles and will cost you €13,980 ($15,845), with 60 to 100 miles in the saddle each day.