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Celebrating Earth Day – 10 of the Best Adventures on Two Wheels

Two people on bikes in the rocky terrains of Arizona

Celebrated on 22 April, this year’s Earth Day theme, ‘Invest In Our Planet’, invites people to consider their environmental impact in every aspect of their lives. Research from the Work Travel and Tourism Council revealed that 69 per cent of travellers are actively seeking sustainable travel options for 2023. Alongside off-grid and train travel, cycling holidays are one of the most environmentally-friendly holidays one can consider. Cycling offers a rewarding way to experience a destination whilst exploring a new-found appreciation and respect for the natural environment. From mountain biking around Mt Daisen in Japan to embarking on The Great Allegheny Passage in Pittsburgh, USA, here is a list of ten destinations that offer incredible cycling experiences around the world.

North America

Adventure across Arizona

Known for its diverse geography and rough terrain, Arizona has a lot to offer when it comes to mountain biking. Seasoned mountain bikers can opt for the more adventurous trails, while beginners have an array of shorter or less challenging routes to choose from. The climate in Arizona allows for trail access all year round, with Phoenix and Tucson being great for winter biking adventures, while Prescott and Flagstaff offer higher-altitude options for the summer months. With majestic scenery all around, mountain biking trails in Arizona make for great sightseeing adventures. www.visitarizona.com 

Explore the epicentre of Colorado’s biking culture in Aspen and Snowmass VillageAspen and Snowmass are the epicentre for biking culture in Colorado. From meandering riverside trails and serene road riding to some of the region’s most extreme mountain biking, these destinations have something for every level of rider. Aspen, Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley recently became the first destination in Colorado to receive the designation as an IMBA Gold Ride Center from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), one of just five in the US and seven in the world. Rent an e-bike and venture to the iconic Maroon Bells or challenge yourself at the Snowmass Bike Park, featuring 25 miles of pristinely maintained downhill trails extending almost 3,000 vertical feet. www.aspenchamber.org / www.gosnowmass.com

Explore mountain biking trails in Yosemite Mariposa, California 

Yosemite has a number of mountain biking trails surrounding the Mariposa area. Visitors can explore Exchequer Mountain Bike Park for trails built and maintained, especially for mountain bikers overlooking the fresh clear waters of Lake McClure. Alternatively, take a ride through the bike-friendly Stockton Creek Preserve just behind the town of Mariposa. In Yosemite Valley, bike rentals are available during the warmer months of the year. There are small bikes and trailers for children and tandem and hand crank bikes for the visually or physically impaired. With more than 12 miles of paved, mostly flat trails, riding a bicycle is a fun, easy way to see Yosemite Valley. www.yosemite.com

Follow the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, Colorado

The Colorado Trail is one of the longest, most rewarding backpacking routes in the US. Travelling through the breathtaking Colorado Rocky Mountains amongst peaks, glacial lakes and an array of ecosystems, this challenging trail starts in the mile-high city of Denver and ends in Durango. At over 500 miles in length, this once-in-a-lifetime route flows through eight mountain ranges, six wilderness areas, five major river systems, and six National Forests – offering travellers the opportunity to see Colorado like never before. www.colorado.com 

Mind the GAP in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

A world-class path, The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) in Pittsburgh is perfect for any level of cyclist. The 150-mile rail-to-trails conversion winds through valleys, snakes around mountains and plays witness to some of the most beautiful scenery in the USA. Pittsburgh is the perfect spot for launching or concluding a journey along the GAP, with opportunities to explore the walkable city’s Downtown and South Side. www.visitpittsburgh.com

See Seattle, Washington on two wheels

With an array of waterfront bike paths, numerous bike lanes that allow for an easy commute and access to mountain bike trails just a short drive away, biking is a great way to discover the city of Seattle. From The Burke-Gilman Trail, a 19-mile bike path, running from Golden Gardens beach on Puget Sound all the way east through Ballard and the University District, to Elliot Bay Trail which starts in downtown Seattle and winds 5 miles along the waterfront and out to Magnolia Park, travellers can access any part of the city through the trails on offer. www.visitseattle.org 

Join a Bikes and Hikes tours in West Hollywood, California

While recognised as the most walkable city in California, bike tours are a great alternative to exploring West Hollywood and its surroundings. With all itineraries beginning in West Hollywood, Bikes and Hikes Tours offers guided trips that range between 2.5 hours to 5 hours. The tours combine segments of cycling and walking, with itineraries covering all the must-see attractions in the area, including popular filming locations and movie studios. Tours are public, however, guests who are travelling in groups have the option of making the tour private with a group fee of £141. Pre-booking is required. www.visitwesthollywood.com 

A man on a bicycle and behind him is a wonderful sunset
Cycle your way through sunsets and amazing landscapes

Rest of the World 

Mountain bike around Mt Daisen, Tottori Prefecture, Japan 

Go off the beaten track in the Tottori Prefecture and explore the untouched natural surroundings of Mt Daisen. Affectionately known as a little Mt Fuji, Mt Daisen offers a similar experience being rich in history and culture, but with fewer crowds. The 17km trail is best experienced with the Downhill Mountain Biking Tour where tour guides can ensure safe travels along roads with relatively little traffic, and offer insights into the culture and history of the towns along the way. The trail will also bring visitors through the Hanakairo – a flower park full of seasonal blooms, as well as Mt. Daisen’s Daisenji Temple – where cyclists can stop and immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the environment. www.japan.travel/en/uk 

Cycle through the historic centre of Valencia, Spain

Belonging to the Network of Cycling Cities, Valencia is a bike-friendly city with over 156 kilometres of cycle paths that are suitable for all ability levels. The flatness of the city and the limit in the historical centre of 30 kilometres per hour for vehicles means visitors can take in all the sites at a leisurely pace. Explore the city from east to west by starting off at Parque de Cabecera, on the west side of the old Turia riverbed. Pedal past historical sites including Torres de Serranos, one of the town’s two old gates that are still standing and the Basilica of the Virgin, the Cathedral and its famous bell tower. For more modern sites head east and admire the spectacular Oceanographic then onwards toward the seafront to enjoy the vast promenade. www.visitvalencia.com/en

Journey through picturesque countryside in New South Wales, Australia

There are few journeys that offer the opportunity to travel from the highest point of the country to the lowest, through vast alpine landscapes, quiet country roads and peaceful forests. Beginning from the swish alpine village of Thredbo or the highest road at Charlotte Pass, the journey starts with an ascent on foot to the top of Australia, Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 metres), followed by a mostly downhill cycle to the shores of Lake Jindabyne. Passing through some of the prettiest towns in NSW and an incredible diversity of scenery, this is an epic cycle route you’ll remember for years to come. En route to the Sapphire coast, your journey takes you through the Monaro region and the Snowy Mountains National Park. At night stay in rural retreats, a first-class B&B, heritage properties and alpine and beachside accommodations where your hosts are friendly and willing to impart their vast knowledge of the region. Diving into the ocean at Tathra is a fitting conclusion to this ultimate cycle experience. See prices and itineraries herewww.sydney.com

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