Popular Long Distance Cycling Routes

While you may decide to bicycle tour pretty much anywhere except on multi-lane highways there are popular long distance cycling routes that make it easy to plan a journey. This is not a complete list but some routes to consider on when picking your next destination.

Long Distance Bicycle routes in Canada

In Atlantic Canada the most popular bicycle touring route is the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. This is a circle bicycle route around the outer edge of Cape Breton Island offering splendid views of the Atlantic coastline while cycling over very hilly terrain. Meeting the warm and friendly people of Celtic descent are often mentioned as a highlight.

Another bicycle route is the Confederation Trail crossing Prince Edward Island for 270 flat to gently rolling kilometers with some additional side trails. If you like red sand beaches, excellent seafood and Anne of Green Gables you should enjoy this route.

Quebec offers the Route Verte (Green Route) with over 4,000 km of signed bicycle routes, the most in North America. Many cyclists enjoy bicycle touring between urban Montreal and traveling along the St. Lawrence to historic Quebec City.

You can head west from Montreal along the waterfront trail through Ontario and Toronto all the way to Niagara along a mostly signed route viewing the St. Lawrence, historic forts in Kingston & Niagara-on-the Lake, fruit farms and vineyards.

Western Canada immediately brings to mind the spectacular scenery while bicycle touring along the Icefields Highway between Banff and Jasper National Park. This is not a signed bicycle touring route but rather there is a paved shoulder the entire journey. You see the Canadian Rockies in all there majesty, the Colombia Icefield, waterfalls, wildlife including Elk and Big Horn Sheep.

Long Distance Bicycle routes in the U.S.

New England, particularly Maine and Vermont are famous for bicycle touring with quaint towns surrounding a park with a gazebo or band shell a common feature. You can connect New England with Key West, Florida by bicycle touring along the East Coast Greenway for 3,000 miles, with about one-quarter on traffic free bicycle paths.

In the south there is the scenic 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway which winds through North Carolina and Virginia.  The local tourist office promotes this popular route to people bicycle touring due to the lower traffic levels.

Also starting in the south is the Mississippi River Trail a 3,000 mile bicycle route of quiet roads and multi-use pathways from the headwaters at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to Louisiana. You may also choose to head on the Trans America Bike Route for 4200 miles from Virginia to Oregon, one of two original U.S. Bicycle routes. And of course there is the Pacific Coastal route from Washington State through Oregon and California.

Long Distance European Bicycle routes

In Europe you have the Velo Europe routes crossing several countries with the North Sea Route being the longest in the world. Many countries also have their national and regional routes.

Some of the more popular bicycle touring areas of Europe include the Loire Valley, Provence and Dordogne regions in France. In Germany the bicycle tour along the Rhine and Danube are favorites with the Danube Bike Route continuing through Austria to Budapest in Hungary.

Everyone wants to go bicycle touring in Tuscany for a good reason; great food and wine, wonderful scenery including ancient stone villages and fine historic cities such as Florence and Siena. Austria and Switzerland have a number of well signed national bicycle routes crossing those countries.

Local laws vary along these routes and may include requirements for bicycle helmets, a bell and lights.

These are just a few of the popular long distance cycling routes to consider on your next adventure.

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