5 of the world's most epic road cycling adventures
The call of an adventure is hard to resist, but have you got what it takes to tackle one of these monumental challenges?
No matter where you live, there’s a cycling adventure to be had straight out of your front door. But if you’re looking for an adventure of more epic proportions, we’ve got a list that only a crazy few would dare try.
1. The Transcontinental
The Transcontinental is an unsupported 2,600-mile adventure race which takes riders right across Europe. You have to hit four checkpoints along the way, but apart from that, the route is up to you. If you’re crazy enough to try and go for the win, you’ll need to be finishing in less than 10 days. For the rest of us that don’t fancy over 260 miles per day, anything under three weeks is still pretty impressive.
2. London – Edinburgh – London
Taking place every four years, London – Edinburgh – London is, as you’d expect, a big old bike ride from one capital city to the other and back again. That’s 1,433km and 11,128 metres of climbing, which needs to be finished in five days. The route is provided for you and there are support stations along the way with food, hot showers, beds and even mechanics to keep your steed on the road. The event is taking place this year (2017), so best get those entries in quick.
3. Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme
Tour de France riders regularly compete in stages well over 200km, and there’s no doubt that’s a long way. But for competitors of the Trans-Siberian Extreme, 200km is just a warm up, as the longest stage tops out at 1,400km. The full distance is equally epic, with 9,287km to cover in 14 days. As you can imagine, that kind of distance in that many days isn’t easy, and will push even the most hardened riders to the limit.
4. Tuscan Trail
Although 65% of this adventure takes place on unpaved roads, the Tuscan Trail is an amazing event for anyone considering a tough, but beautiful, adventure. The route is 540km and how long you take is totally up to you. We suspect many riders forgo sleep and creature comforts to complete this challenge in one go, but if you decide to take in the incredible Tuscan scenery you’ll be riding through, a more leisurely pace would be no bad thing.
5. Race Across America
Is the Race Across America the toughest, most epic road adventure on the planet? If you look at the stats it would be hard to say no. 3,020 miles from west to east across America; there are no rest days and the clock only stops when you finish at the end. This means the front-runners end up pushing their bodies into unimaginable states of exhaustion and sleep deprivation in order to finish the race in well under eight days. Yes, you heard it right, less than eight days. The current solo record holder is Austrian Christoph Strasser, who finished the race in 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes, averaging 16.42mph. If you fancy challenging Christoph for the record, that’s over 375 miles per day. It doesn’t get more epic than that.