Extreme cycling routes
Want to ride on the wild side? For daredevils and extreme bikers who are also struck with wanderlust, the world offers countless opportunities to take on some unforgettable routes.
From backdrops of mountains and rolling hills to thick forests and punishing climbs, there are certain paths that are notorious among cycling enthusiasts who aim to battle through some harsh conditions to reach the end, whether it’s physical or psychological.
From Bolivia’s Death Road to the Alpine route of Passo di Gavia, the Flexicover team has found five difficult routes to get the blood pumping – even before you’ve settled onto the saddle.
Even superfit cyclists have to train to take on the Paro-Punakha Gangtey traverse, but the rewards are so plentiful that this route is gaining popularity through word of mouth. Nestled between Tibet, India and Nepal, the mountainous scenery is just one of the views from the single road that runs from east to west Bhutan, lending itself perfectly for a group cycle. In addition to forests, pastures, meadows and valleys, throughout the nine days, mountain bikers encounter passes that total 15,500 metres of ascent and 18,200 metres of descent. In a place as vibrant as Bhutan, it’s not only the rugged scenery that invigorates; the simple yet colourful Bhutanese way of life is just waiting to be discovered too.
El Camino de la Muerte, Bolivia
If you’re into daredevil adventures, chances are you’ve heard about El Camino de la Muerte, or its not-so-delicate English translation of Death Road. The narrow road is cut treacherously into the side of imposing mountains between the Amazonian rainforest and Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. But it’s now closed to most drivers, leaving adrenalin-seeking bikers as the main source of traffic. While some of the journey is paved, much is dirt track and calls for fast riders to increase stability - but try doing that while passing a graveyard of cars and buses below the sheer drop. Despite becoming a bucket list tourist attraction, it holds very real dangers, with loose rocks, waterfalls and oncoming traffic, so it’s certainly not one for the faint-hearted.
Passo di Gavia, Italy
Why follow in the tyre marks of the whole Giro d’Italia when you can just do the hardest bit? If that sounds like a bright idea, Passo di Gavia is for you. One of the hardest climbs in Europe, it’s a 26km ride during which cyclists ascend an impressive 2,621m at a relatively stable gradient, though the seventh kilometre is the hardest with a 9% climb. Located in the beauty of the Italian Alps, the narrow road is closed during winter and adverse conditions in the summer but plan well and this adventure is yours to remember.
L’Etape du Tour, France
Translated as ‘stage of the Tour’, this organised race takes place on a section of the Tour de France that’s open to amateurs during a rest day for the pros. While the location itself changes, what’s consistent is the mass interest it attracts. Over 15,000 cyclists, many from abroad, step into the place of the main riders and bike to the finish line on closed roads that come complete with refreshment stations. In last year’s shortened 122km route, Tao Quemere came in first with a time of three and a half hours – fancy taking on the challenge this year?
Alto de L'Angliru, Spain
What a shame that the breathtaking views of northern Spain can’t be fully enjoyed by those taking on the Alto de L’Angliru, for this is one of the most demanding cycling routes in Europe that requires full focus. While it begins challenging enough, the second half is where even the mightiest can fall by the wayside. The steepest part is a 23.6 per cent rise of pure torture known as Cueña les Cabres. It’s found three kilometres near the end, but there’s no winding down after that – the road then eases to the 20 per cent mark until the finish line. That’s when cyclists are free to fall on the ground and catch their breath, saddle sore but proud.
As with all sports and activities that you plan to take part in while you’re away, it’s best to check what your policy does and doesn’t cover. Flexicover policies include over 100 activities for free but it may be the case that to cover some of the more risky sports, an additional premium may be payable. To find out more take a look at our policy wording or to speak to one of our team on 0800 093 9495
So wherever you’re travelling to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.