Polly Nightingale

A few weeks ago I dusted the cobwebs off my bike, ready to trust to pedal power again. I have to say this spring’s weather has hardly been encouraging and that got me to thinking where else, preferably warmer, I can take to my bike. Not a full-blown Giro affair, just a gentle back lane pootle, a lazy afternoon in the saddle earning me a gorgeous, guilt-free dinner. Well, here are some musings. Not necessarily places you’d associate with cycling, but none the worse for that.

Malawi – immediately you think lake, but think again! It has dry land, too, and one of the best ways to explore is to get on your bike. There are paved roads as well as miles of mountain bike trails. The south of the country tends to be flatter, while the hills in the north provide a challenge, if that’s what you’re after. Wherever you are you’ll find wonderful scenery and interesting villages.  Chintheche Inn is one of the many hotels that offer cycling.

Mauritius – all beach and ocean, right? Wrong! Venture inland and you’ll find a whole new world of lush forests, valleys and dramatic waterfalls. It’s ideal cycling territory. Stay at lovely Lakaz Chamarel in the heart of this tranquil landscape, the local owners will happily lend you a bike and advise you on their favourite routes.

India – monuments, tigers, beaches and bikes? Well, if it was good enough for Gandhi… Anyway, away from the cities (cycling there really would be hard core), hopping on your bike is a great way to get out and about. I have cycled round lakes, pedalled through tiny villages and stopped to be feted by schoolchildren. One area perfect for cycling is Kerala, with its paddy fields, shrines and of course glorious coastline. There are bike routes to make life easy. You’re sure to make plenty of friends, too, as the locals need no encouragement to strike up a conversation. Neeleshwar Hermitage is a perfect base for your Malabar getaway.

Peru – good for trekking, so why not for biking too. OK, I’m not talking Inca Trail, but if you’re lucky enough to be staying at Colca Lodge you can hire a bike for the afternoon and head off into the countryside for some gentle perambulation. Feeling more adventurous? There are some wonderful circuits in the Colca Valley, taking in villages and rewarding your hard work with superb views. If you’ve overdone it, back at the lodge you can ease aching muscles in the thermal springs and enjoy a massage at the spa.

Peru mountain biking

Jordan – Petra, of course, but there’s more. Away from the main sites Jordan you’ll find beautiful and varied scenery and welcoming locals. From Feynan Lodge you can ride off into the desert, discover ancient archaeological sites, explore local villages and see some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the country. If you’re making a day of it the lodge will equip you with a tasty packed lunch.

These are just a examples. In fact, there aren’t many places where you can’t get on a bike and pedal away. You’ll find many more on our website, or give us a call for more ideas