Celebrating 30 Years with our Top 30 Cycling Experiences 

30 Best cycling experiences with KE

We can still remember taking the very first Muddy Fox Courier mountain bikes to Pakistan's Karakoram Mountains in 1986. We transported them on top of a jeep from Rawlpindi to Hushe Village in the far north of Baltistan; it took 5 days to get there! Then the idea was to cycle back, most of the villages had never seen bikes before and when we rode through with helmet and sunglasses on they ran away in fright as if Martians had landed. The ride from Hushe never became popular but the descent of the Karakoram Highway from the top of the Kunjerab Pass became a classic until political problems closed the ride.

During the 90's, KE went on to establish some of the greatest ultra cycling holidays on the planet, with rides such as Leh to Manali - across the Indian Himalaya, Lhasa to Kathmandu - across the Tibetan Plateau, Peru's Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu ride and Vic Fall to Cape Town though southern Africa. Looking back across 3 decades of KE biking we have encountered a lifetime of cycling experiences and these are our top 30... in no particular order!

Bangkok to Phuket
 Vietnam

 Mountain Biking in Moab, USA

 Geneva to Nice Road Cycling

  Dead to Red Mountain Biking in Jordan

 Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Biking Tour

 Peru Mountain Biking Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu

 Leh to Manali Mountain Biking - Khardung La

 Annapurna Circuit Mountain Biking Nepal

 Mountain Biking Around Kilimanjaro

 Pyrenees Raid Classic Road Cycling Tour

 Pokhara to Kathmandu Mountain biking leader Pramod

 Guatemala Mountain Biking Holiday

 Road Cycling Tour of Gran Canaria

 Bhutan Thunder Dragon Mountain Bike Ride

 Cycle the Cheeky Cols of the Costa Blanca

 Mountain Bike tour of Mont Blanc

 Vuelta de Mallorca Road Cycling Tour

 Road Cycle Circuit of Toubkal Morocco

 Victoria Falls to Cape Town Bike Tour

 Turkey Mountain Biking

1) The best food...

Has to be Thailand and our Bangkok to Phuket route which follows backroads never visited by other tourists. Each day's stop at a roadside seafood shack provides a mouth-watering delight never to be forgotten.
>> Bangkok to Phuket Road Cycling Tour - 11 days
 

2) Friendliest dogs...

Wherever you cycle in the world, especially on a mountain bike, you are always wary of encountering the odd mad dog. But, Bhutan is so calm and hospitable that the dogs don't even bark, they just wave their tails at you.
>> Bhutan Thunder Dragon Ride - 12 days

3) Best for singletrack...

It is hard to beat Chamonix to Zermatt, the ‘Haute Route'. This classic Alpine route involves 6 days of challenging climbs, some pushing and cable car assistance, as well as the best off-road descents in Europe.
>> Chamonix to Zermatt Mountain Biking - 8 days

4) Art and cycling...

Salvador Dali loved northern Spain and on our Costal Roads and Cols of Catalonia holiday we stop off at his birthplace in Figueres and have time to look around his fantastic Theatrical-Museum.
>> Coastal Roads & Cols of Catalonia - 8 days

5) Highest Pass in Vietnam...

Our Hanoi to Laos journey is definitely epic in scale, as we bike from Sapa to Luang Prabang, with the crux of the journey being the crossing of the Tram Ton Pass (2000m), Vietnam's highest road.
>> Hanoi to Laos Mountain Bike Epic - 14 days

6) Steepest Climb...

Lots of debate about this especially as (here in the English Lake District) we have some very steep climbs on our doorstep. However, we have to point to the famous playground of Slickrock above Moab where some sections are near-vertical.
>> Mythical Parks of the American West - 14 days

7) Highest paved road pass in Europe...

The superb Geneva to Nice road cycling route crosses dozens of Tour de France cols, but the highest climb and one of the most enjoyable is from Jausiers over the Cime de la Bonette, at 2802 metres elevation.
>> Geneva to Nice Road Cycle Tour - Best of the Alps - 9 days

8) Lowest point we cycle...

Biking from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea in Jordan takes us down to an incredible 400 metres below sea level (the lowest point on Earth). And, from there, it's a challenging 1300 metre climb up to the crusader fortress at Karak.
>> Dead 2 Red Jordan Mountain Biking - 9 days

9) Longest descent...

Where else but from the Tibetan Plateau to the Nepalese lowlands. Crossing the Thang La (5132m) on our Lhasa to Kathmandu ride, it takes 2 days to descend the 4232 metres to the Bhote Khosi River.
>> Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Bike Traverse - 22 days

10) Guinea pig for dinner...

A cuddly companion for most children, the Guinea pig is an important source of protein in rural Peru. It is also a mainstay of Andean folk medicine and commonly used as a religious sacrifice. You can try Guinea pig on our Titicaca to Machu Picchu ride.
>> Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu Mountain Bike Tour - 12 days

11) Highest road pass...

When acclimatising at Leh, the capital of Ladakh in Northern India, we have a day ride up to the Khardung La, at 5380 metres a contender for the highest road pass in the world. See our Leh to Manali traverse.
>> The Classic Leh to Manali Mountain Bike Traverse - 15 days

12) Hardest journey...

We had to discuss this one a bit. But, on account of the altitude and the final push and carry up to the Thorung La (5416 metres) from our tea house accommodation, we reckon the classic Annapurna Circuit takes some beating in the toughness stakes.
>> Mountain Bike the Annapurna Circuit - 15 days

13) Most famous mountain bike town...

This has to be Moab the Mecca of off-road mountain biking. Situated in the North American state of Utah next door to Arches National Park, this mountain bike heaven has to be seen to be believed.
>> Mythical Parks of the American West - 14 days

14) Most dangerous wildlife...

Our circuit of Mount Kilimanjaro takes us through some of the largest national parks in Africa and there are no fences! KE groups have met cheetahs on the trail and are reminded (despite the heat) to zip the tent up at night - hyenas are regular nocturnal visitors.
>> Mountain Biking Around Kilimanjaro - 10 days

15) Toughest road route...

We run quite a few classics but nothing beats the full cycle traverse - The Pyrenees Raid - from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. With a total of around 18,000 metres of ascent and descent, this is not a holiday for the faint hearted.
>> Pyrenees Raid Classic Road Bike Tour - 9 days

16) Mountain biking's new frontier...

Montenegro is a country that seems purpose-made for mountain biking and has a bike friendly tourism department that has created a network of excellent cross-country trails, following ancient pathways and drovers' tracks.
>> The Balkans Bash in Montenegro - 8 days

17) Best local guide...

Wherever we bike, we try to employ local riders to guide us on the best routes. From amongst our unique international network of talented guides, this is an extremely hard decision - but after leading 20+ trips across Tibet it has to be Nepal's Pramod Shrestha.
>> Pokhara to Kathmandu Mountain Bike - 12 days

18) Best chill out hotel...

No one ever wants to leave Casa del Mundo our charming hotel in Guatemala that overlooks Lake Atitlan, surely a contender for the most beautiful lake in the world, with its towering volcanoes, azure water and Mayan inhabitants.
>> The route of the Conquistadores - 15 days

19) Cycling Shangri La...

Tim and Glenn have cycled the Thunder Dragon traverse of Bhutan 3 times each and there has to be a good reason they keep returning. It is all down to the people and the spectacular single track road that runs west to east across the country.
>> Bhutan Thunder Dragon Ride - 12 days

20) Best coastal section...

The island of Gran Canaria wins with the ride along the Dragon's Tail; a magnificent stretch of rugged coastal road, with snaking climbs and switchbacks above 300 metre drop-offs for most of the way.
>>Tour of Gran Canaria Road Bike - 8 days

21) Best road sign...

India and Bhutan are the best places in the world to find outrageous road signs, usually offering precautionary advice to motorists. ‘After Whisky Driving Risky' and ‘This is not a Race nor a Rally - Go Slow and Enjoy the Valley' are 2 that spring to mind. But, we particularly like this one spotted in Bhutan ‘Be Gentle on My Curves'.
>> Bhutan Thunder Dragon Ride - 12 days

22) Best winter training ground...

Flight prices to the Costa Blanca can be unmissable during the winter months - but it's not Benidorm that attracts us. Rather, the 300 days of sunshine and the ‘Cheeky Cols' of the deserted mountain roads that lie inland from the coastal strip.
>> Cycle Cheeky Cols of Costa Blanca - 8 days

23) Best bike hire...

Zero G in Chamonix provide hire bikes for a range of KE road cycling and mountain biking holidays with no fuss. They have Specialized Stumpjumper 29'ers if you're signing up for the Tour of Mont Blanc off-road ride, or Specialized Roubaix or Cannondale Synapse bikes if you're on the Geneva to Nice road cycling tour.
>> Tour of Mont Blanc Mountain Biking - 8 days

24) Best bike shop...

Many parts of the world we visit have very little in the way of bike shops, so it's great to find just what you need when you need it. Coming immediately after the descents of the Aubisque, Tourmalet and Peyresourde cols, on Day 5 of the Pyrenees Raid, Luchon Mountain Bikes does a roaring trade in brake pads.
>> Pyrenees Raid Classic Road Bike Tour - 9 days

25) Top road climb...

Rising sinuously from the beach to a height of 668 metres and regularly used as a training-ride test-piece by the pro teams - Sa Calobra is one of the most feared ascents on the island of Mallorca. You've got to ride it?
>> Vuelta de Mallorca Road Biking - 8 days

26) Best circuit ride...

Five years ago, when we set up the Road Cycle Tour of Toubkal we knew we were onto a winner. Twice crossing the Atlas Mountains on quiet desert roads and with an interesting mix of landscapes and cultures, everyone wants to ride this great loop.
>> Road Cycle Tour of Toubkal - 9 days

27) Remotest ride...

Heading south from Zambia, through Botswana and Namibia to South Africa, the Vic Falls to Cape Town ride includes some pretty wild and remote sections of dirt road, through the Kalahari and Namib deserts.
>> Victoria Falls to Cape Town Mountain Bike Epic - 21 days

28) Coolest local operator...

We have a lot of great people looking after our bike trips in-country, with most of them being die-hard cyclists. One who stands out, however, is Mehmet Nuri Ozden, who has coordinated and led our Turkish Delight mountain bike trips for a decade.
>> Turkish Mountain Bike Delight - 9 days

29) Best beach...

Towards the end of our very leisurely Backroads of Cambodia cycling holiday, we take a boat ride to an island in the Gulf of Thailand for a spot of beach R&R.
>> Biking the Backroads of Cambodia - 14 days

30) Serenity...

Inland of Puerto Mogan, en route to Gran Canaria's high point, a long series of recently surfaced hairpins climbs through open forest to a viewpoint at 950 metres - uphill or downhill, it's one of the smoothest road cycling experiences out there. They don't call it ‘Serenity' for nothing.
>> Tour of Gran Canaria Road Bike - 8 days

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