Polar Circle Marathon Fundraiser

Polar Circle Marathon Fundraiser

Well I can’t believe it’s over and I actually survived.

I’m not going to lie, in the week leading up to the run I was extremely nervous.

My training had not really gone to plan, and even my work mate kept telling me she was concerned for my safety (yes, Cat, I’m referring to you).

In all honesty, I hate the cold. I’m not sure why I keep ending up in these cold situations. First riding in snow in Canada, then the polar run/s, even the boiler in our flat just stopped working.

I guess there is something about the cold I must be drawn to – perhaps the ‘not-knowing-if-I-will-survive’ feeling. I can just imagine my Dad’s response to that last comment – don’t worry Dad, as usual I won’t tell you about it until I’ve survived it.

The Full Polar Marathon Route
The Full Polar Marathon Route

The Polar Challenge

Originally I had signed up to just the full marathon. However, once I met a couple of the other runners, and discovered they were signed up to do the Polar Challenge (running both the half marathon and the full marathon), I decided I had better just sign up too. Screw the lack of training and fear of the cold! The finisher t-shirt was in my colour, so what’s it matter if I lose a couple of toes in the process?

medals polar marathon
With my medals and wearing the Polar Challenge t-shirt (it doesn’t take much to convince me to do something lol).

Due to some hurricane winds and wet weather the race days got moved. This is probably a good thing, seeing as on the original race day, our arctic bus (built like a bloody tank) almost slid off a bridge into some freezing water. Perhaps that story is for another day – my biggest fan (aka. my Dad) can only take so much news at once. Nonetheless, if we had the race day on the original day, there probably would have been far more injuries.

I took it pretty easy in the Half Marathon. We drove an hour to the start in a freezing cold bus. I had about 5 layers on and could not feel my toes at the starting line. At this stage I thought I was going to lose a couple of toes to frost bite, before even starting the race. You don’t really need toes anyway, do you? Just extra weight.

10 minutes into the run, and I was sweating more than running in a Perth summer. I was sweating to the point that I was actually scared of running. I knew that as soon as I hit the Ice Cap I would instantly freeze.

So the first 6km didn’t really go very smoothly. I was dropping things, sweating, tripping over my own feet… I ended up just walking most of it and taking photos.

polar marathon race
On the way to the Ice Cap.

Then I hit the Ice Cap.

Running on the Ice Cap was by far my favourite part of the run. My heavy-duty spikes were awesome! Apart from getting a bit carried away and running the complete wrong direction, it couldn’t have gone much better. I also managed not to freeze – so that was a bit of a bonus.

running on the ice cap
Running on the Ice Cap!

The rest of the run was amazing. The course went past several frozen lakes and glaciers, and over several step gravelly hills. Eventually I finished the half as a PW (personal worst) time, however I really enjoyed it and was much more prepared for the full.

I’m now feeling conscious that I have never wrote about a run before, and this may turn out to be the longest and most boring blog post I’ve ever written… So I’m going to summarise the rest of my time in Greenland in bullet point form.

Greenland: icy, cold winds, lots of meat (unfortunately for me), lots of emptiness, dancing Northern Lights, the smallest cities in the world, bloody expensive beers (though there are two craft breweries – hooray).

Marathons: amazing, cold (though I still managed to sweat buckets), hilly, icy, quiet.

Runners: probably my favourite part of the run and the whole trip was the runners. This was the first run(s) where I never listened to any music, and spent half of the time chatting to other runners. There may have only been 120+ of us, but I felt less alone than the ‘40,000+ runners’ events I’ve done. Such an inspiring bunch that have given me plenty of ideas for future challenges.

Placing (out of the females):

  • Half marathon: 14th
  • Full Marathon: 5th
  • Polar Challenge: 7th
polar marathon finishline nicaragua
At the finish line of the Polar Marathon!

Next Challenge

When an event has constantly been on your mind for what seems like forever, it’s an odd feeling when it’s suddenly over and done with. There is a mixture of relief, happiness… and emptiness.

So I’m now in search of the next challenge. I honestly need some ideas, so if you have any let me know 🙂

Fundraising for Ometepe Bilingual School

Since the France to China by bike fundraiser, I hadn’t planned to take part in another event fundraiser (mainly to save my friends and family from the constant spamming of requests for donations).

However, a few months ago I received a newsletter from Ometepe Bilingual School, which read;

“Our small hotel profits are essential to covering the costs of operating Ometepe Bilingual School…

Unfortunately, the riots that started on April 19th have worsened, and are seriously impacting the hotel’s ability to support the school.  Reservations were cancelled including high school and college groups, tour operators, and independent travelers.”

Michael and I visited the hotel and school last year while cycling through the country, so I already had admiration for the project. I was also fortunate enough to witness the positive impact the school had had on the children, the local community and the environment.

I decided the Polar Marathon was a good opportunity to fundraise for the school.

All donations will be going directly to the school (minus the site’s fundraising fees) and you can visit the donation page here. I’ve discovered the site doesn’t work on all browsers (including Explorer), however it does work on Chrome and Safari. If you are having any issues making a donation, please get in touch.

The Polar Marathon fundraising campaign is open until the end of November 2018, however you are still able to donate after this date, if you wish.

The children also sent me this cute video, which I thought I would include in the post. Muchas gracias los ninos! 

About the School and Current Situation

Nicaragua is involved in a difficult political crisis with government corruption resulting in extreme poverty for the hardworking people of Nicaragua.

Countries have issued travel warnings advising people not to visit the country. This is having a drastic impact on a country whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

The hotel, Hacienda Merida has dedicated it´s profits during the past 10 years to educating the children of Nicaragua, conserving our natural environment, and developing effective solutions to decrease poverty and food insecurity.

Unfortunately the hotel is no longer receiving any visitors, income or any profits for the school. The school and the children are at risk are sadly at risk.

An independent National survey publish by the International Foundation for the Global Economic Challenge (FIDEG in Spanish) found that in 2017, 41.2% of the Nicaraguan people are living at the poverty rate of $2.33 U.S. dollars per day, with an additional 7.7% in extreme poverty earning only $1.15 per day.

In addition, because of political mismanagement, many Nicaraguan’s have limited access to food and other goods, services, and health care. As the purchasing power of the average Nicaraguan continues to drop, the number of people in poverty increases. The current projections for 2018 indicate that by the end of this year, 57.3% of Nicaraguans will be in poverty.

The current crisis is taking an especially high toll on the beautiful children of Nicaragua. In rural areas, children have very limited access to education resulting in high rates of illiteracy. 21.8% of Nicaraguan rural children over the age of 10 are illiterate.

Any help is greatly appreciated – We all live in this world together and share the same planet. Political instability, poverty, and food insecurity do not recognize borders and have the potential to harm all of us.

Muchas Gracias! Thank you! Xx

3 Bike-Friendly Cities to Visit

Bicycle friendly cities to visit

Many of you know all about our long distance bike trip (how has it been a year since we finished?) and you’ve probably guessed from the blog name that we’re all about the two wheels. So, we think we’re pretty knowledgeable when it comes to what makes a city bike-friendly!

For example, a place with accessible public transport is a bonus, so it pays to do your research before booking somewhere. A lot of places will be able to tell you if they have anything in place for those in wheelchairs, so this should give you some idea of how easy it will be to wheel your bike around.

Seeing the world or a new city via bike is such a great option, as it keeps you active and reduces your carbon footprint. Here are three of the best cities to do this in.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Often considered the most bike-friendly city in the world, there are around 242 miles of bike lanes around the city, as well as a Cycle Super Highway which runs from Copenhagen to Albertslund. Just like a car highway, has amenities on the route such as air pumps, as well as specialised traffic lights that are geared up to the average cycling speed.

There is so much to see and do in Copenhagen, from The Little Mermaid sculpture to Tivoli Gardens theme park, and Amalienborg, the Queen’s winter residence. You will want to bike between them all to make the most of this fantastic city.

I’ll be in Copenhagen in a couple of weeks, before heading off to Greenland to run the Polar Marathon. I’ll be sure to pop on a bike while I’m there, and explore the city.

cycling in cities
Amsterdam: Source

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

One of the iconic things about Amsterdam is the number of bikes that are whizzing around the city at any one time. Almost 60% of the population cycle every single day, and cyclists have a free-for-all in this city, in that they are able to ride almost anywhere.

There aren’t any special infrastructures for cycling as there are in Copenhagen, so things are a little rougher and harder to keep up with if you are a novice tourist rider. However, Vondelpark is a beautiful place to cycle around and get your bearings until you feel a bit braver and want to cycle across the city.

It’s true what they say, bikes in Amsterdam will stop for no one, so it’s important to be really aware of others around you, whether you’re a cyclist or a pedestrian.

Top Gadgets a Cyclist needs, brodie green bicycle circuit
My sexy green bike!

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Another win for The Netherlands. Utrecht has been working particularly hard over the past few years as part of a project called “Utrecht Attractive and Accessible”. This flagship project boasts an incredible 12,500 bike parking facility which is the largest in the world, and by 2020 the government hopes to have doubled the capacity.

Again, they are placing infrastructure specific to cyclists across the city in a bid to encourage more locals to choose a bike as their preferred form of transportation, but it’s clearly working as the numbers are soaring!

There are so many cities that are good for bike-riders, but these are three of the best, worked out by the Copenhagenize Design Company index. Each city is judged on 14 different categories and they can earn between 0-4 points in each of them, as well as a bonus of up to 12 points if there is anything a city has done that is particularly impressive.

The index is updated every year which is interesting as it allows cities to see whether they have moved up or down — for example, this year Utrecht has overtaken Amsterdam for the number two spot, so Copenhagen should keep working hard to stay at the top!

Have you been to any of these cities? What do you think about their bike-friendliness? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

New Challenges: Running the Polar Circle Marathon for the kids… and fun (I guess)

polar circle marathon fundraiser

A handful of people know that I’m running the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland this Autumn. I haven’t told too many people about it – why Because, frankly, I have no idea whether I’m actually going to make it to the end. It’s going to be up there with one of the most extreme ‘whatthefuckwasIthinking’ challenges of my life.

Ometepe Bilingual School Fundraiser

I hadn’t planned on making this event a charity fundraiser, however when I recently received an email from the Ometepe Bilingual School in Nicaragua, explaining how the recent riots have had such a negative impact on their school and the children, I thought it was an opportunity to help out. Hey, if I’m risking losing an ear or nose to frost bite, I may as well do it for a good cause!

For those that don’t know, I visited the school last year while Michael and I were cycling through Nicaragua. We had the pleasure of staying at Hacienda Merida – an eco-friendly hotel on the stunning Ometepe Island. The hotel is the main source of funding for the school.

What makes Ometepe Bilingual school so special? The school is made out of rubbish – literally. Thousands of plastic bottles filled with rubbish can be found within the walls of the school. The school has a strong focus on sustainable practices, ecotourism (not greenwashing), reducing, reusing and recycling. If you want to read more about the sustainability of the school – I wrote an article on it last year.

eco brick table ecotourism in nicaragua
Eco-bricks being used to make some tables and chairs for the school

It is also one of the few (if not only) schools in Nicaragua that teaches the importance of sustainability, as well as teaching both English and Spanish. The school recognises that becoming bilingual, and having an understanding of the importance of sustainability and environmentalism is a stepping-stone for the children on the island to empower themselves, and have a positive impact on their community. I should also mention that the school provides the education to children for free. The children that attend the school, predominately come from poor families. The school has been providing a great opportunity for these children.

school eco bricks
You can still see the eco-bricks in the wall of the school.

Nicaraguan Riots

These riots have impacted on the school in a number of ways. The riots have decreased tourism to the area. The school runs of profits from the hotel. The riots have resulted in many cancellations of bookings, and very few people visiting the island or the hotel. The riots have also resulted in roadblocks, resources not reaching where they are most needed and the government withdrawing funding to schools to cover the cost of lunches, which were previously provided.

I haven’t found that the riots have been covered that much in the media in the UK, but to give you an idea of what has been happening in the country, I have included a couple of news articles worth checking out.

Hundreds of people have already died in these protests, which started in April, and sadly they don’t seem to be ending anytime soon. To think the riots started in response to a peaceful protest against pension reforms.

Sadly, if the riots don’t cease soon, and/or the school doesn’t find another source of income, then it’s likely it will close.

Please sponsor me in my Arctic run, and help keep the school open!

Being the eco-minded person I am, I fell in love with the school, as well as the hotel. As well as writing an article about the school, I even included it in our Nicaragua Cycle Video.

This may not be a challenge by bicycle, but it’s a human-powered, challenge nonetheless, and one, which I hope, will raise some funds for this amazing school, as well as raise some awareness about the issues currently taking place in Nicaragua.

If you have any questions about the marathon, the school, the hotel, Nicaragua or anything at all – please drop me a line.

Thank you for taking the time for reading. If you are in the position to sponsor me – thank you! If you are not in the position, please spend a minute and share this page with your friends and family.

Muchas gracias mi amigos!

marathon run
I felt like I needed to include a photo of me running, and this is the only photo I could find!

We are still alive! A year since we ended the long distance bike trip.

gower bikepacking

It’s been over a year since we ended the long distance bike trip… yes, I know I haven’t blogged in ages – sorry! We are still alive, still cycling (though slightly shorter distances) and still running Cycletrekkers.

Though Michael and I are no longer cycle touring and have embarked on a somewhat normal-ish life, we have started experimenting with the exciting world of bikepacking.

So far, it’s been fab! We spent a few days bikepacking in the stunning Gower Pennisula in Wales, and almost a week cycling in the very challenging (for me) Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Only a few cuts and bruises, and I definitely need to build on my riding skill, that said we already have been chatting about heading off on a few more trips.

Next on the cards, we have potentially Slovenia, potentially Spain and potentially Georgia. If you have any recommendations on great places to bikepack – let us know!

Apart from bikepacking, we have spent time settling into our new home in Bristol, England – absolutely awesome city!! We had a few false starts when we first moved to England, but we are finally a bit more settled now.

As we are living just off the Bath to Bristol bike path, it hopefully will be ideal for hosting and meeting some other Warmshowers cyclists – so let us know if you do happen to be in the area.

Readjusting to… normality

Like most people that have just finished a cycle trip – readjusting took sometime. I was more prepared for it this time around – after the France to China by trip, the feelings of being disconnected from society and the overall cultural shock took me by surprise. This time, though I was more prepared, there were still the emotional challenges.

It was hard readjusting my mindset to a life where people (ie. me) didn’t have to worry about whether I had enough water to get through the next 24 hours, or where I was going to sleep tonight or tomorrow night, or whether my tent was going to leak, or a tornado was going to randomly pass through during the night. It is an odd feeling – going from worrying about life essentials/ survival, to worrying about, well things that don’t really matter.

Michael and I are still appreciating the little things in life, like having access to an oven, running water, hot showers, a good range of food, not living on an extreme budget, owning more than 5 pairs of clothes (I could go on and on). Though, still at times I feel very disconnected from society, especially when discussing anything about celebs, pop culture, or what’s on TV (I haven’t even bothered to buy a TV). These things didn’t matter in my life for 5 years – and though it’s common knowledge to some, for me, it’s not. It has lead to a few awkward conversations, including one where I wasn’t even sure whether Cher was still alive.

At times I miss the simplicity of life on the bike, but I am still happy with our decision – I think it was the right one; and I am are enjoying where we are right now.

Next on the agenda…

Other than readjusting, I’ve been training for an icy run I’m taking part in this Autumn – more about that in my next post. And, though I feel like I have rarely had a free minute, I cannot think of what else Michael and I have been up to this past year. Riding, working, eating, running, sleeping, cooking, hiking…

I DO plan to clear out, update and post more on our website over the next few months. So watch this space!

Five Things to Consider Before Your Bike Trip

Five Things to Consider Before Your Bike Trip

Whether you would like to spend a few relaxing or challenging days at a new destination, it is important that you plan your trip in advance. You need to make sure that you are ready for the trip, and you have everything covered, from accommodation to protein bars and transport. The following tips will help you get your priorities right and book the perfect getaway that will make you feel satisfied and accomplished.

The Weather

Rain or shine, you’ll be outside biking in it, so the weather will have a huge impact on your trip, and is something you need to plan for. Just keep in mind that old saying, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing!” It is important that you check out the weather forecast and get plenty of waterproof items in your backpack. If you are planning a tropical trip, ensure that you have adequate sun protection, and have the ability to carry sufficient water. You may even want to plan your day accordingly, resting during the hottest part of the day, so to avoid the heat and potential dehydration, or even sunstroke. A perfect excuse for a siesta!

The Accommodation Options

You might want to find a hotel or guesthouse that is conveniently located close to all the routes you would like to complete. Or, you might prefer pitching a tent, under the stars, in an unplanned location. Whatever you preference, you need to consider this before the start of your trip. If you are heading to a big beautiful city, such as Panama, you might want to splurge on a hotel like the Marriott Executive Apartments Panama City. However, if you are budget conscious you could always try finding a host through the amazingly useful Warmshowers website; a website dedicated to cycle touring, and finding hosts for travelling cyclists.

Rentals and Repair Availability

Before your trip, you may need to check whether there are recommended and affordable bike rental places. Sometimes renting a bicycle locally is more economical, as well as efficient, compare to bringing your own bicycle with you. If cycling in the summer month in Europe, and considering local bicycle rental, it is recommended booking your bicycle in advance, to ensure you secure the best bike at the best price. Arguable even more important to this, is researching bike repair stores along your route.

Travel Insurance

When going on a cycle trip, no matter the length or location, you will need to get adequate insurance. If you suffer an accident or fall ill, you might not be covered for medical treatment. If your bicycle is stolen or damaged, you also might not be covered. Compare the prices online before your trip, and make sure you ask the relevant questions. Some insurance companies consider cycling a dangerous sport, and will not cover you for long distance cycling. When it comes to travel insurance for cycle trips, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Local Guides and Groups

bike trip
Planning a bike and hike trip! Image via Matt Heaton

There are two main options when going on a bicycle tour;

1) Independently, arranging your own transport, accommodation and route. This option suits those who love the adventure and freedom of making their choices and not having to follow a set plan.

2) Joining an organised hiking and biking trip, with a tour company. This option is great for those first time cycle tourists, or those that love touring in groups. Leave the planning and stress to someone else, and just enjoy the ride!

Whether you are looking to cycle across Europe, or bike and hike across the Scottish highlands, and cycle trip will involve a level of preparation and planning. Treat this planning as part of the journey, and use it as a way to build up the excitement for your up and coming trip. Safe bike trails!

Is it possible to cycle across Nevada?

cycle across Nevada

You’d be forgiven for thinking that one of America’s desert states would be off limits when it comes to exploring by road bike. However, cycle tours across Nevada are some of the most spectacular you’ll find. With stunning open valleys and breathtaking small mountain ranges to the north of the state, there are numerous scenic rides available with comfortable summer temperatures. However, you might be surprised, but Las Vegas is an excellent starting point.

You can fly into Sin City and explore the Mojave Desert by road bike, taking in everything from the Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire to Redrock Canyon and Cottonwood Valley. The River Mountains Loop Trail is another notorious cycle trip. This 35-mile ride loops around the River Mountains, overlooking Sin City and nearby Henderson. The trail is paved throughout, making it suitable for first-time tourers and veteran cyclists alike. The route is also connected to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

As with most cycle tours, you’ll often be seeing the world on a tight budget. Fortunately, your Las Vegas experience can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. When you’re enjoying some downtime, most restaurants and buffets situated within Las Vegas Boulevard and Downtown will have special off-peak offers to allow you sample a cut-price rib-eye steak, which is fine if you’re prepared to enjoy a sit-down meal mid-afternoon.

Once you’ve had your fill of the bright lights of Vegas, the next best area to start exploring is to the northwest in Reno. In fact, a very popular Nevada cycle route begins in Reno and meanders slowly into Utah and Salt Lake City. It’s not a tour for the feint-of-heart, given that it spans 650 miles and requires 30,000 feet of climbing along the way. The journey takes you along US 50, which is regarded as ‘The Loneliest Road’ in the state. Although you might be concerned about the lack of shelter from the sun or services en route, the longest you have to go without a stopover is 85 miles. The most challenging stretch is the 110-mile journey between Fallon and Austin, which also features a 4,700ft climb.

There are plenty of opportunities to sample life in Utah as you make your way across the border. You will encounter small communities, such as Delta and Payson, on the southern side of Utah Lake. The final leg of the journey to Salt Lake City is a gentle 60-mile ride along the urban highway, although the climb towards the city’s basin is the last grueling physical test you’ll encounter.

What’s great about cycling in Nevada is that you can pitch a tent or spend the night in a yurt in any of the state’s 23 parks, if you prefer not to use motels and hotels along the way. Nevada State Parks lists its restrictions and limitations within its FAQs. In terms of what to carry with you en route, personal identification is essential if you need to verify your age to play games, drink or enter watering holes, as well as when paying using credit cards. English is the most commonly-spoken language in the state, although Spanish is also spoken in some Hispanic communities. In areas where Filipino communities live, Tagalog is also spoken. So, if you’re fluent in either Spanish or Tagalog (unlikely, we know!), that is a bonus on your travels.

What’s truly fascinating about cycling in Nevada is its diverse landscape, which can be explored at a pace that allows it to be truly appreciated. From flat, pastoral views to expansive climbs beyond small mountains and eerie rock formations that resemble something from a Western movie, Nevada is not the one-dimensional gaming state that some would have you believe.

Photo credit: Dip in road at Valley of Fire State Park by A Train / CC BY-ND 

5 Best places to ride a bike in 2018

Best places to ride a bike

As soon as you leave the bike racks in Gas Works Park, it becomes clear that the Seattle Urban Loop is one of the best places to ride a bike in 2018, but there are many more, from Arizona to Maine, and all the way down to Florida. In fact, the United States is home to some of the most incredible biking routes anywhere in the world, and the following are the 5 best places to ride a bike in 2018:

The Seattle Urban Loop

The Seattle Urban loop in Washington is the ultimate place to ride your bike, from the stunning vistas across Puget Sound and Seattle seafront, to the perfectly maintained trails and cultural encounters.

Pleasant scenery and easy riding ensue once you depart from the bike racks in Gas Works Park, and cycle onward to Magnolia Boulevard. The Seattle Urban Loop eventually reaches Lake Washington, before passing the University of Washington and returning to the original starting point in Gas Works Park.

However, it is only upon reaching the ocean at Alaskan Way, when the appealing nature of the route is clear. Fishing boats, and cruise ships take to the open seas while the sun reflects from the incoming waves, and cycling along the Seattle waterfront is suddenly a cultural experience, as well as being a most enjoyable adventure into the outdoors.

The Cadillac Challenge Loop, Acadia National Park, Maine

Rugged cliffs form a natural barrier against the marauding Atlantic Ocean in Acadia National Park, home to the best cycling route in Maine, and one of the most scenic regions on the west coast of the United States. The Cadillac Challenge Loop is a 27 mile route with a seemingly never ending series of bends that wind their way past soaring ocean views, isolated coves, luscious landscapes and romantic lighthouses.

However, the real attraction of cycling in Acadia National Park, is the Bike in Acadia month, a government initiative in which the roads at the park are closed. There is simply no better place to see the sun rising, or going down, in Maine and the opportunity to cycle in pleasant surroundings without the distraction of traffic, makes Acadia one of the best places to ride a bike in 2018.

Moab Mountain Biking, Utah

Experience the splendor of Moab by bike, an unforgettable mountain bike route with stunning views through magnificent canyons, and a series of trails for all levels of experience.

Moab has some truly awe inspiring scenery, from the Amassa Back Trail which climbs to the top of a giant mesa perched out over the Colorado River, to the immense sandstone walls which tower high on the Arizona skyline.

Another highlight is the varying levels of experience required to visit Moab on a bike, the Slickrock rock trail is a world famous and highly technical route, whereas the Bar-M Loop Trail has a much easier terrain, while still offering the same incredible views of the other routes. A proper bike rack for SUV or car will allow you to carry multiple bikes and secure them properly until the destination.

Miami to Key West, Florida

While it may be a distance for more experienced riders, the 160 mile stretch between Miami and Key West is a highly rewarding cycle route with tropical landscapes, wildlife and a relatively flat terrain.

Few places in the world can boast the views between Miami and Florida, with palm trees lining both sides of the road, and sweeping ocean views providing an unforgettable backdrop. The route is also known for having a reasonably flat terrain and a refreshing tail wind which only adds to the enjoyment, and allows for the possibility of completing the 160 miles in a single day.

Unique and treacherous, the variety of experiences is obvious when you must keep a look out for alligators and snakes, which often take to the roadside for the heat of the pavement. Regardless of the obstacles, cycling from Miami to Key West is one of the most entertaining cycle routes, and a ride with a wide variety of things to see.

Black Canyon Trail, Arizona

While not as famous as the Moab, the Black Canyon Trail is another mountain bike trail in Arizona which makes this list with no apologies. The trail stretches for more than 60 miles through desert, cacti and sandstone canyons with thrilling downhill’s and challenging riding.

Beginning in the overgrown Prescott Forest, Black Canyon is mostly a descending trail which leads across dramatic views of giant mesas, past the Bradshaw Mountains, and through a series of inspiring canyons.

Even though this trail was purpose built a number of years ago, the surroundings are entirely natural and a day spent in the depths of the Arizona wilderness, offers an isolated adventure which is every bit as enjoyable as the more popular trail in Moab. Do not forget that choosing the best hitch mount bike rack is the key to safely transport your bikes to the destination and keep them intact.

 

Gorgeous Mountain Trails in the US to do on a Bike

make money while cycle touring, cycling to the Canadian Rockies

So, you now have a bike and can’t wait to ride in on a unique mountain trail? It’s really hard deciding on a good enough trail, though, isn’t it? Well, if you need awesome research fast, we’re here to help you with 5 best picks of breathtakingly gorgeous mountain scenery you can enjoy while cycling.

1. The Whole Enchilada, Utah

This is definitely a five-star ride, encompassing 26 miles on various side trails which will take you in the ballpark of 5 hours total. The level of difficulty is an intermediate one, so chances are most people can do it. We love the landscape most of all, it looks pretty rugged and has plenty of views you’ll want to stop and admire for longer.

You’ll already going to start at quite an elevation of about 10,000 feet, which means you’ll be cycling very near the edgy peaks. You even have to gain some 1,400 feet more up to the narrow Burro Pass, but that’s nothing compared to the descent.

So get the best high-power binoculars because you won’t want to miss a detail. The aspen forests are imposing, and the old pines look like giant soldiers that guard the entrance to the prairie. The fast flowing creeks and slippery tracks of Hazard County explain why this portion of the trail has this particular name.

Then, the Porcupine sections are a challenge as well, but the view when you get to the Colorado River is totally worth it. The terrain is very diverse, you’ll get to try different technical skills from thru to single track, so that’s why it won the gold medal.

2. Trail 401, Colorado

If you’re a real mountain biking fan, you must visit the place where it all began. And that will prove very insightful because Crested Butte in Colorado offers plenty of trails to enjoy taking you through some of the most enchanting alpine landscape you have ever seen. The trails that wax and wane here are all nearby bucolic mountain towns too.

Among the 750 miles of trails, one still stands out. Trail 401 is another intermediate ride stretching of about 14 miles at an elevation of about 9,700 feet. The ascent starts on Gothic Toad to what is called Schofield Pass. The views are outstanding and the faraway Maroon Bells look spectacular.

This will mostly be a singletrack, which explains the intermediate level. However, there are whole green fields that stretch before your eyes and patches of aspen forests to roam through, so this trail looks amazing even during the fall.

3. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, California

You might think we’ve selected this trail purely based on its peculiar name, but you’d be wrong. Lake Tahoe is an amazing area, it’s a huge alpine lake with crystal clear waters and plenty of interesting biking trails around it. So while this is an already popular destination, its southern part is what’s considered the cherry on the cake.

That’s exactly where you’ll find the Mr. Toad’s Ride, which is indeed very wild since it encompasses 20 miles of advanced single tracking at an elevation of about 6,300 feet. That’s what makes it very technical, therefore more appropriate for experts.

You’ll feel a real adrenaline rush coursing through your veins as you’ll be going downhill as well. Granted, you have to do quite a bit of vertical climbing before that, but once you get to Tucker flat you’re in for a real roller coaster ride. There’s also the Saxon Creek portion with its quite challenging singletrack descent.

All that takes place among the most breathtaking vistas of forested areas and through plenty of meadows. The overall distance is 20 miles, so make sure you get enough water and snacks for the ride.

4. Cache Creek – Game Creek, Wyoming, and Idaho

Traditionally called the Wydaho area, this is where the Jackson area is located. Jackson Hole is remarkable among the nearby Teton Mountains, so that’s another great place if you’re into the thrill of the downhill ride. That’s because these mountains have very abrupt walls, and they’re really huge.

Biking around here is a thing just as of late, though, so the trails are very new and look well and they’re quite diverse from downhill to cross country, to single track. So you can choose your poison, but the trail between Cache Creek and Game Creek is really a game changer.

Apart from the fact that it looks incredible, with amazing views of the massifs, this intermediate 10-mile loop ride runs through a semi-wilderness of immense valleys, and you’ll get to experience an isolated cross-country run.

5. Hangover Trail, Arizona

Located in Sedona, which doesn’t boast as many trails as other regions, the Hangover Trail is one of the few precious gems in this area. That’s because it combines an accessible and technically difficult terrain with its heart-throbbing landscapes with red rocks that will make you think your cycling on Mars.

The vortexes in Sedona look quite eerie too, and the single track trail that stretches on 3 miles can nevertheless be considered for experts only. At 4,400 feet, the Hangover trail is very technical but also very dangerous because of its abrupt rocks and rolling terrain, combined with narrow trails and a massive exposure.

But the views are indeed amazing, considering you’ll go up on a saddle-like formation and then keep riding about 200 feet on the rim of the abrupt canyon. You’ll ride on slick rock for the most part, but there are different sections too like dirt trails, step-ups, roll-off portions and the treacherous off cambers.

The ride of your life

With so many thrilling mountain trails to do on your bike, we’re curious where you’ll be heading next. What trails have you tried so far? What did you love? What did you hate? Leave us a comment and share your story.