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What Makes a Country Good for Bicycle Travel

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“In your experience, what are the best countries that you know of for bicycle travel? What factors make a place good for traveling by bicycle?”

I have cycled through 20 countries in various parts of the world, and I can report that every one of them so far has been a fantastic experience. I am yet to encounter a country that I would recommend someone against travelling through by bicycle. You can ensure you enjoy the countries you cycle through by keeping the following 3 factors in mind when selecting your route.

Photo from Luke's ride in New Zealand

Photo from Luke's ride in New Zealand

The first factor that comes to mind is the weather. Compared to other travellers, a bicycle rider is far more exposed to the elements than someone in the cocoon of a bus. Unless you believe enduring extreme temperatures is just part of the experience, choose a route that is likely to experience weather that you are comfortable dealing with.

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The next factor that comes to mind is the terrain. A country devoid of mountains or hills might seem to be the best choice, but mountains bring scenery and this often makes for challenging yet rewarding riding. I recently paid a disgusting amount of money to jump out of a plane, and afterwards I had the realization that the mountain decent to the airfield on the bike actually gave me a better adrenaline rush than the paid free fall that was to follow.

Funny bike that Luke began riding in New Zealand

Funny bike that Luke began riding in New Zealand (it broke en route)

Finally, the distance between towns also plays an important role in bicycle travel. To travel around Australia you need to be prepared for at least three days of riding before passing a small town to replenish food and water, whereas Europe or Asia often sees a cyclist passing 3 towns in the one day.

Luke travels by bicycle around the world

Luke Sorensen is Vagabond Journey’s bicycle travel correspondent. He has so far traveled over 15,000 km on the back of a bicycle through 20 countries in Eastern Europe, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. His next big trip is a proposed 5 year journey that will take him around the world.

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