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Tour on Two Wheels

From brisk urban rides to multi-day backroad adventures, pedal the world on these five remarkable cycling trips—and some have incredible edibles along the way

Two bikers ride down the dusty road of New Zealand's Great Taste Trail

New Zealand's Great Taste Trail | Photo courtesy Chocolate Dog Photography

Breweries and Biking (Victoria, British Columbia)

Get a taste of Victoria’s thriving craft beer culture on The Pedalar’s Hoppy Hour Tour—a half-day guided bike ride to urban microbreweries. Cycle to each site to learn about the history of the local beer industry from the brewmasters, as well as taste specialty brews. But save room for the most delicious part: a decadent chocolate and truffle beer pairing!

Difficulty: Easy. Cycle on low-traffic roads and bike paths.

Fitness level: Comfortable. Easily accommodates diverse abilities.

Gear required: All gear provided.

Volcano Adrenaline Ride (Maui, United States)

Mark Twain said the sunrise from the mighty Haleakalā’s summit was “the sublimest spectacle that I ever witnessed.” At 3,000 metres above sea level, watch pinkish hues erupt across the sky as day breaks. Then, grab your bike and zoom down 43 kilometres of winding road. It’s a thrilling ride along the edge of Maui’s massive volcano, passing by fruit stands, valleys, small towns and lava fields. Go with a licensed operator, who will provide equipment and transportation, as well as keep you safe.

Difficulty: Moderate. Watch for hairpin turns and traffic on a narrow road.

Fitness level: Low. It’s all downhill with very little pedalling.

Gear required: Dress in layers! The summit is very chilly at the crack of dawn, but the bottom is roasting.

Kiwi Cuisine and Coast (Nelson, New Zealand)

At the tip of New Zealand’s South Island, set out on a five-day epic excursion with the Gentle Cycling Company to explore the Great Taste Trail. It’s a 65-kilometre leisurely ride across Nelson’s stunning countryside and seashores, with sumptuous stopovers at vineyards, fish and chip shacks, quirky cafés, microbreweries, bakeries and other places to feast on Kiwi cuisine. Spend the last leg hiking or kayaking in idyllic Abel Tasman National Park, renowned for its striking natural beauty and pristine golden beaches.

Difficulty: Moderate. Mostly flat and smooth roads, with some tight corners and challenging hills.

Fitness level: Moderate. Some hills to scale, but jump in the tour van if the ride gets too strenuous.

Gear required: Wear layers to accommodate a changing coastal climate.

Hipster Hangouts (Melbourne, Australia)

Melbourne is Oz’s capital of cool, buzzing with hipster or “alternative culture” that’s best explored by bike. Pedal around artsy enclaves packed with galleries, coffee roasters, vintage clothing stores, hidden laneway eateries and street art. To really get your bearings, join Rent-A-Bike’s “Real Melbourne” tour, a guided bike ride to discover Melbourne’s trendiest streets and eats.

Difficulty: Easy. Cycle on paved streets and bike paths. The biggest challenge is sharing the road with busy downtown traffic.

Fitness level: Low. Mostly pedaling across flat roads.

Gear: Wearing a helmet is mandatory in Melbourne.

Emerald Isle Exploration (Ireland)

Famous for its rolling green hills and tranquil backroads, why not hop on a bike and cruise around Ireland’s dazzling countryside? You can independently cycle the magnificent, traffic-free Great Western Greenway—the country’s longest off-road walking and cycling trail spanning 43 kilometres along the scenic west coast. Once an old railway line, you can pedal past lush landscape, pristine beaches and sparkling ocean, resting overnight in seaside towns with cozy Irish pubs.

Difficulty: Easy. A smooth journey on a traffic-free pathway with a solid surface.

Fitness Level: Low to moderate. The road is mostly flat with gentle hills, but moderate fitness is needed to complete the entire track. Lighten the trip by riding partway and arranging a pick-up service.

Gear: Rent equipment from a local cycling company. With Ireland’s unpredictable weather, bring waterproof gear and wear layers.