On our recent Dad and Daughter Adventure to Cambodia we went on a bike ride around the coast near the small village of Kep. We had such a lovely time – even if we had to stop quite a few times because locals wanted to take a photo of my daughter (they loved her long blonde hair and blue eyes). We skirted the coast along a virtually deserted road, stopping to watch crab fishermen haul in their catch and even lazed on a beach for a bit. I do try get on a bicycle as much as I can when I travel. It is a great way to get a feel for a city or just a pleasant way to amble through the countryside. I haven’t done any serious bicycle journeys (and I would like to one day), but these are my top 10 bike rides from my travels:
I lost my city map in the first 15 minutes then spent a wonderful day riding around the Forbidden City, discovering hidden back streets, stopping for delicious Peking duck and getting completely and utterly lost.
My 73 year old father and I rode around this tiny, barren island looking for the remaining four ‘locals’ who live there (we found all of them plus a donkey). The good thing about the small population is that we just about had the beautiful island to ourselves.
Santa Fe, USA
This was my first serious attempt at ‘proper’ mountain biking. Beginning at around 2,500 metres I rode over boulders, jumped logs, shot down steep embankments and negotiated narrow tracks along precarious ridges. Well, I actually wasn’t that good at negotiating the precarious ridges and I ended up getting thrown over the handlebars and tore my knees to shreds.
Lauterbrunnen to Bönigen, Switzerland
The 20 km easy ride was pretty much all downhill through a stunning Alpine landscape. We rode by a raging river, through fields of snow (and cow poo), past ever-so-cute villages, through the charming town of Interlaken (to pick up some grilled chickens and some wine) then finished in the town of Bönigen with a picnic on the shore of Lake Brienz.
Besides the incessant honking of car horns, riding around Mandalay was a relaxing way of seeing the town and its many and amazing sites. Oh, except at night when the streets were pitch black and you couldn’t see the road in front of you.
Root River, USA
This was my first go on a tandem bike (with my girlfriend Beth sitting at the back) and it was great fun (although I had my suspicions that Beth was just pretending to peddle – although she might say that I was doing the same!). The Root River (no sniggering, please) Bike Trail is in southern Minnesota and is built on a former train line. We rode through forests and farmland and past cutsie little towns and stopped for lunch at a cutsie little restaurant overlooking Root River (now, now!)
Hoi An, Vietnam
I hired a bike from a 12 year old boy and spent the day trundling around the countryside, through villages, past rice paddies and along the coast. And the whole time – because the bike was so small – I looked like Kermit the Frog.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
When in Rome… Or when in Amsterdam it’s great fun to cruise around the city and along the canals on one of those clunky, cumbersome Dutch bicycles. I’ve done it many times, but my favourite is on a warm sunny day cruising around Vondel Park watching the locals sun themselves (okay, and Dutch girls don’t look half bad in bikinis).
I spent a whole day cycling around the valley from amazing waterfall to amazing waterfall, being befriended by gophers, chasing raccoons and looking out for hungry bears.
I went on a ‘Bangkok Back streets Bicycle Tour’ only a couple of months back and, although I had been to Bangkok a number of times, I got to see many ‘hidden gems’ amongst the back streets and canals (although I did fall off twice and took out a fence).