Following the popularity of long-distance hiking and cycling paths; and the worlds increasing concern for climate change. Could there be the potential for an around the world bicycle trail? Where career break and gap year travellers could cross the globe, fulfil their bucket list dreams and be carbon neutral.
A world circle path may sound like a mad idea; however, these already plenty of willing adventurers rising to the challenge of crossing great continent trails. Such as the Pacific crest, Great Divide, and Appalachian trails in the US, the trans-Canada trail in Canada and the collection of Eurovelo cycle paths in Europe. Therefore this post will look at the potential route for an around the world bicycle trail?
Before discussing the route, we need to lay out some ground rules.
1. The Guinness World Record considers a world cycle attempt should cover at least 18,000 miles and that the journey needs to be continuous and in one direction. However, for safety and motivation reasons, we think travellers should be able to cheat and catch a train all two. As long as they have cycled over 18,000 miles, we consider it a successful attempt.
- The World trail will follow euro Velo’s example of using dedicated cycle paths and minor roads that see very little traffic. However, using the cycle planning site of Kamoot, it was sometimes hard to identify how busy and how safe a particular road is? All if it matches the eurovelo’s criteria.
- The route below does not account for any political restrictions all rising conflicts. For example, we haven’t accounted for the difficulty cyclist have in obtaining a Chinese visa all the increasing clashes in Myanmar and on the Indian/china’s border.
Travellers will enjoy plenty of easy day’s cycling across eurovelo’s cycling network. From the English channel to Athens these well-directed trails, long flat terrain, scenic countryside, good cuisine and an abundance of campsites.
Cyclists even have a choice of two major routes down to Athens. The shorter, easier option is to take Eurovelo 5 that starts in Calais and finishes in Bari, Italy, where travellers can catch a ferry to Athens.
The second option begins in Rotterdam and involves cycling on eurovelo’s route 15, following the famous Rhine river down to Switzerland. From Route 15, travellers will have to join Eurovelo 5 down to Milan before joining Eurovelo 8, where the journey continues eastwards across the Adriatic coast of Croatia, Slovenia Bosna, Albania, and Greece.
Eurovelo EV 5
Cycle Distance = 1,420 miles
Cycling time required = 145 hours
Elevation = 68,075 ft up 68,050 ft down
Eurovelo EV 15, Ev5, EV8
Cycle Distance = 2,332 miles
Cycling time required = 236 hours
Elevation = 96,975 ft up, 96,700 ft down
Crossing Aegean Sea
From Athens, cyclists can access Greece’s excessive ferry network to cross the Aegean sea to Turkey. Most travellers moving eastwards proceed straight to Istanbul and miss out on some amazing Greek island hopping.
The islands of Santorini, Kos, and Mykonos are the perfect places to relax and once finished: travellers can easier continue their journey eastwards by catching a ferry to the Turkish towns of Izmir all Bodrum.
Where If so desired, it is possible to catch a coach to Istanbul before cycling eastwards towards Georgia.
Turkey has been voted the best country globally for cycle touring due to a wide mixture of diverse landscapes, quiet roads, idyllic towns, and sunny beaches.
From the port towns of Izmir/Bodrum cyclist, have an option for a short break in Istanbul before continuing eastwards towards the thermal pools of Pamukkale, the ruins of Termessos and the balloons of Cappadocia.
From turkey’s heart, it’s a long ride northeast to Georgia, crossing the rural countryside, and mountainous terrain
Cycle Distance = 1,309 miles
Cycling time required = 156 hours
Elevation = 89,175 ft up, 89,500 ft down
Europe’s last leg of the world trail starts in Georgia’s coastal town of Batumi and crosses the Caucasus mountains towards Tbilisi and Baku.
Due to busy main roads that are notorious for accidents. Cyclists recommend taking the quiet mountain roads that bend across rural villages, grasslands and castles.
From Tbilisi, the landscape suddenly changes from forests to deserts to plains.
Cycling distance = 618 miles
Cycling time required = 77 hours
Elevation = 46,300 ft up, 46,350 ft down
Cyclists may want to cheat and catch the train to cross a significant part of Turkmenistan. Much of the country is covered by a un-scenic long flat desert. Whereby most travellers are known to rush across in order to obtain a five-day transit visa.
Travelling conditions for cyclists don’t improve once in Uzbekistan, as motorists are notoriously known for their aggressive driving style and currently, these no major cycle path.
However, the 500km from the Turkmenistan border (Farap) to Samarqand does follow the silk road and passes through UNESCO world heritage sites of Bukhara and the Registan. From Samarqand, Tajikistan is a short cycle away
Cycle Distance = 1,160 miles
Cycling time required = 109 hours
Elevation = 22,900 ft up 20,350 down
Tajikistan is a favourite country for cycle touring, although it is notoriously challenging to cycle across.
From the capital of Dushanbe, cyclists will have the challenge of cycling across the second highest highway in the road, the Pamir Highway (m41). Where they will experience high attitudes, harsh terrains, steep climbs, drastic temperature changes, bad cuisine and remote communities.
Cycle Distance = 549 miles
Cycling time required = 65 hours
Elevation = 52,275 ft up, 42,950 down
Pamir Highway to India
From Murghab, halfway through the Pamir Highway, it is now possible to continue eastwards to Qoima in China. Following travellers should head southwards along the Chinese/ Pakistan border and the western Himalayas.
Until reaching the 350-mile mark where the trail makes a 90-degree turn and a bee-line for the northern tip of India.
The next challenge would be to overcome the Himalayas’ peaks and arrive in the little touristy town of Leh. Before tackling another popular cycling route down to Manali.
Cycle Distance = 647 miles
Cycling time required 72 hours
Elevation 45,550 ft down – 45,900ft up
India and Nepal
From the Himalaya peaks of Manali, cyclists will continue heading eastwards towards Nepal and Kathmandu.
Following TDA’s Trans-Himalaya route, cyclists will enjoy long descents, quiet roads, turquoise rivers, and national parks. Where these plenty of opportunity to spot exotic wildlife, such as snow leopards, tigers, rhinos and elephants.
Halfway through the leg is Bareilly, where cyclists have an option of a short break to experience some of India’s iconic locations of Taj Mahal and Jaipur.
Cycle Distance = 1,266 miles
Cycling time required =128 hours
Elevation = 66, 275ft up, 73,450ft up
India to Myanmar
From Kathmandu, the trail begins to head away from the Himalayan peaks and towards northeastern India. Cycling through remote regions, rural towns, valleys, and untouched ecosystems, travellers will experience authentic India.
If that’s not enough, travellers could make a detour to Darjeerling and/all the Tiger’s nest in Bhutan before proceeding towards the last Indian town of Imphal.
Once in Myanmar, the trail heads south towards the iconic ancient town of Bagan and then eastwards to Mandalay.
Cycle Distance = 2,023 miles
Cycling time required = 198 hours
Elevation = 80,625ft up, 84,225ft down
From the scenic town of Mandalay, the trail proceeds southwards to Myanmar’s iconic Inle lake before heading eastwards across the shan hills and into northern Thailand.
Finally, after some hard days, sweating, overcoming steep hills and a tropical climate, cyclists can take a break in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Once in Laos, travellers will cycle alongside the Mekong River and have the opportunity to visit Kuangsi Falls and Wat Xiengthong temple.
Then, the tropical forests and steep terrain proceed once again after Luang Prabang until entering Vietnam, where Rice fields and steep cliffside mountains dominate the scenery.
Cycle Distance = 1,185 miles
Cycling time required = 150 hours
Elevation = 105,650ft up, 106,300ft down
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand
Cyclists now have the joy of cycling down the coast of Vietnam, from Halong bay to Hue and Hoi Ann. Before heading inland towards Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), passing through rural landscapes, paddy fields, and remote villages.
From Vietnams southern capital, the trail heads westwards for the first time, crossing the Mekong river into Phnom Penh, where these an opportunity to visit some of Cambodia’s exotic islands. Before continuing the journey westwards along the Tonie Sap lake to the famous temples of Angkor Wat.
Bangkok is the trail’s last destination in Asia. It’s a perfect place to celebrate the fantastic achievement of crossing the biggest continent on two wheels.
Cycle Distance = 3,032 miles
Cycling time required = 296 hours
Elevation = 66,500ft up, 66,550 ft down
The beginning of the Australia leg starts in Perth. However, time permitting, I would highly recommend starting in Broome and exploring Australia’s vast western coast.
Otherwise, travellers should procced by cycling the 1100km long Munda Biddi trail from Mandaring in Perth to Albany. The narrow trail explores the deserts and forests of Australia’s southwestern tip, until hitting the pacific coast.
From Albany, cyclists can proceed on the South coastal trail to Esperance. Where bikepackers will have to join Highway 1 to continue their journey eastwards across Australia’s Southern Bite into Adelaide.
Continuing southwards, the trail follows the unmissable Great Ocean Road, passing the 12 apostles before entering Melbourne.
Cycle Distance = 3,032 miles
Cycling time required = 296 hours
Elevation = 66,500ft up, 66,550 ft down
Coming from Australia, the trail starts on the south island in Queenstown and follows the length of New Zealand until arriving at Cape Reinga, the northern tip of the north island.
There are no notable long-distance paths in New Zealand but rather a collection of small cycle trails that pass through some of the country’s iconic locations.
Therefore travellers will have their motivation tested at times by unpredictable weather and busy north island roads. However, riders will be rewarded by thermal springs and volcanic landscapes in the north and glacier-filled mountains in the south.
Cycle Distance = 1,219 miles
Cycling time required = 132 hours
Elevation = 55,700 ft up 53,500 ft down
With plenty of trails and infrastructure developed for long-distance bicycle rides, the United States and Canada have been voted one of the best countries in the world for bike touring.
Therefore cyclist are spoilt for choice when deciding upon a safe cycle route to cross the span of theNorth America continent.
The official world trail starts in Los Angeles and begins by following the pacific cycle trail to San Francisco before heading inwards towards some of the USA’s most iconic national parks, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce and Moab.
From Denver, the trail joins the Trans America cycle trail heading eastwards across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio before entering Washington DC and New York.
Cycle Distance = 4,354 miles
Cycling time required = 480 hours
Elevation = 187,175ft up, 187,450ft down
The last part of the trail follows eurovelo 1 through Portugal, Spain and France. Starting in Lisbon, cyclists head south along the Atlantic coast to Faro and Sevilla. Before commencing their journey north across Spain, The Pyrenes and The Bay of Biscay. Bordeaux is the next destination and the last major city before finishing the trail in Roscoff.
Cycle Distance = 1,463 miles
Cycling time required = 152 hours
Elevation = 53,875 ft up, 53,950 down
How far and how Long?
Cycle Distance = 21,777-22,689 miles
Cycling time required = 2,313 -2404 hours
By implementing Kamoot’s cycling statistics, the blog can estimate how long the trail will take to complete. According to the numbers, a traveller in good shape, cycling 8 hours a day for five days a week will take 57-58 weeks to complete.