Roundup: Long-Distance Bike Tours

As borders reopen, long-distance cycling has become more popular than ever. It’s low cost, eco-friendly, and allows you to go almost anywhere — even Antarctica.

ExplorersWeb has rounded up six exciting long-distance bike tours happening right now. Some of the cyclists are athletes. Others are relatively new to life on two wheels. Their expeditions range from round-the-world marathons to extreme Arctic adventures.

 

Photo: Omar Di Felice

Arctic World Tour

Italian cyclist Omar Di Felice started his journey on February 2. He is cycling 4,000km through eight arctic regions. Di Felice began with the first winter bike crossing of Kamchatka, the wild peninsula in the Russian Far East. He covered that 740km in five days.

Next, he is cycling 1,200km from Murmansk, Russia through Finland and Sweden to Tromsø in northern Norway. That section is already underway. On February 14, he crossed into Finland.

From Tromsø, he will cycle short sections in Iceland and Greenland before shifting to Western Canada. From there, he will cycle to Alaska.

Siberia 105°

Stefano Gregoretti and Dino Lanzaretti began a 2,000km expedition through Siberia on January 13. First up, an ambitious 1,200km ride from Oymyakon to Verkhoyansk. These two villages are the two coldest settlements in the world.

But after just 620km, they aborted on February 4. The duo had struggled from the start. In the first few days, they had problems with the gearboxes on the bikes. Then strong winds forced them to push their bikes, even downhill. It’s unclear whether that was because of the strength of the wind or the ungodly wind chill.

Their only options were to abort or to wait out the weather, but their one-month Russian visas would expire before they could complete a postponed expedition. They chose to abort.

Photo: Stefano Gregoretti

 

Chains and Chords

Louisa Hamelbeck of Germany and her American boyfriend Tobi Nickel are making their way “around the world with bikes and a guitar”.

They left Salzberg, Austria last June and plan to cycle for the next two to three years. Since setting off, they have pedaled through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. From Turkey, they flew to Florida and have now reached New Mexico.

Photo: Chainsandchords.com

 

It took them 82 days to travel the 3,250km to their first big milestone: Artemida, near Athens, where Tobi’s father lives. Here, they spent six weeks seeing friends, researching the next few sections of their route, and servicing their bikes.

They wanted to go to the U.S. by boat but they are traveling on the cheap. They found it impossible to find an affordable ship that would take their bikes. In the end, they cycled to Turkey and flew to Miami on December 9.

Explore for Huntington

Dimitri Poffé is biking 15,000km across Central and South America. As the title of his project suggests, he is doing this to raise awareness of Huntington’s disease, for which he tested positive three years ago. Unfortunately, the disease runs in Poffé’s family: His sister has had it for eight years, and he lost his father to it 15 years ago.

Currently, he is asymptomatic but he knows that he will develop symptoms between 35 and 40. The diagnosis “was a trigger to realize a dream: to go around the world.” He has chosen Central and South America because the disease most affects that region of the world.

Photo: ExploreforHuntington

 

Poffé set off on October 3 from Mexico City. He plans to pass through Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama before cycling through South America.

He reached Guatemala on January 20 and has spent a month exploring the country on two wheels. His next stop is El Salvador.

Migratory Bikes

Camille Pages and Antoine Jouvenel are cycling from the south of France to Nepal. Carrying 40kg each, the French duo will cross 19 countries and cover 20,000km.

Both were relatively new to cycling when they started planning their expedition. They quickly realized that they had a lot to learn.

Photo: Migratory Bikes

 

After a COVID delay, they began their “cyclo-nomadic adventure” in July 2021. Nine days later, they reached Italy. Here the inexperienced pair faced some of their most challenging routes, including Izoard Pass (made famous by the Tour de France) and the Dolomites.

So far they have cycled through France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania.

Voies Recyclables

Brewenn Helary and Lea Schiettecatte want to complete a zero waste, zero carbon, trip around Europe. Voies recyclables translates to ‘recyclable paths’.

Their circumnavigation of Europe will cover 15,000km. They set off on February 12 from their hometown of Iffendic, in France. Their round-Europe trip will take them through 20 countries.

Photo: Voies Recyclables

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK. She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans. Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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