National Geographic: Top 10 Cycle Routes


From the National Geographic book Journeys of a Lifetime

La Route Verte, Canada
The newly completed Route Verte (Green Route) crosses the province of Quebec from east to west, running for more than 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) along carefully selected rights-of-way and rural roads. Well signed, it’s easy to follow and includes directions to interesting sites. The terrain and vistas vary immensely, from calm stretches along the St. Lawrence River to mountain views in the Laurentides.

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Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, U.S.A./Canada
The Adventure Cycling Association developed this route from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario, to honor the bravery of slaves trying to reach freedom and those who helped them. There are five segments, adding up to a total distance of 2,057 miles (3,310 kilometers). Sites along the way highlight the route’s history, from former slave markets to museums dedicated to African-American history. www.adv-cycling.org

Ruta Austral, Chile
Mostly surfaced with graded but unpaved gravel, the route runs for more than 810 miles (1,300 kilometers) from Puerto Montt in central Chile, south through Caleta Yungay to Villa O’Higgins in northern Patagonia, with numerous ferryboat transfers along the way. You pass through wild and beautiful landscapes, including Queulat and Cerro Castillo national parks. Large stretches of native forest and enormous ferns surround Puyuhuapi Hot Springs, near Queulat. www.gochile.cl

Munda Biddi Trail, Western Australia
In the Noongar Aboriginal language, Munda Biddi means “path through the forest.” This cycling trail runs through miles of “jarrah forest”—from the local name for eucalyptus trees. The 206-mile (332-kilometer) section from Mundaring to Collie opened in July 2004, and two extensions will take it to Albany. You may encounter forest natives like western brush wallaby, western gray kangaroos, and brushtail possum. www.mundabiddi.org.au

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
If bikes and beaches mix well for you, Vietnam combines them on this 746-mile (1,200-kilometer) route between the country’s two biggest cities, taking you along vast stretches of sandy coastline. But it’s no picnic, as road surfaces vary considerably and there are many natural obstacles like the Hai Van Pass, the historical division point between North and South Vietnam.

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