Five of the Best Spring Cycling Destinations
Spring is a time of rejuvenation across the northern hemisphere, and it serves as one of the best times to get on your bike.
Whether you want to sun it up in the Mediterranean or go venturing into the mystical hills of northern Europe, we’re sure you’ll find a place to fall in love with this spring.
We threw down five of our favourites… do they match up with your own dream spring cycling escape destinations?
The Algarve - Portugal
If warmth is what you’re looking for after months of layering up, then there is no better place to go than the sunny Algarve region in Portugal. A popular choice among professionals and amateurs alike, the region is commonly used as an early season base camp by cyclists from around the world.
There are a variety of routes that have been designed by the local authorities for both road and MTB specialists, all of which take in the picturesque coastal surroundings and tough climbs towards the centre of the region.
One of our favourite routes is the 214km long Ecovia do Litoral that takes riders along the length of the Algarve coast alongside some of the stunning natural parks found in the region. As you make your way to the famous Cape of St. Vincent you can stop for coffee in one of the many seaside towns including Lagos and Albufeira. If something stronger is on the menu, then you could double back and spend the night celebrating your achievement in Faro.
Stavanger - Norway
The coastal city of Stavanger may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about a cycling trip, but this artsy 12th century settlement is a brilliant place to take in some relaxed training rides as you begin to prepare for your annual objectives.
There are plenty of interesting bike tours available within the city that allow you to explore the nearby Fjords with your family and keep up your training at the same time! You can even combine your ride with a voyage on a kayak to get a sense of what the Fjords feel like from land and on the water.
By the middle of spring, the temperatures in Norway should have risen to a more comfortable level, giving your rides a similar feel to those in the north of the UK at this time of year.
For those wanting to get stuck into some cycling history, Stavanger is the birthplace of Norwegian cyclist for FDJ-Suez, Stine Borgli, comes from just down the road in Sandnes.
The Peak District - United Kingdom
If you haven’t got the time to stray farther than our own shores this spring then there are still plenty of great places to take your bike. One of our favourite places to explore is the wonderful Peak District in the heart of the UK.
The region is the ideal destination for families that want to reconnect with the outside world after its winter hibernation as the national park features routes for riders of all abilities. For those that want a gentle cruise around the blossoming countryside, the Monsal Trail will take you around some of the easier sections of riding in the area and is mostly free of traffic. The trail begins just outside the quiet town of Bakewell in Derbyshire and encompasses large parts of the former Midland Railway line, giving it a smooth surface that is ideal for cycling.
If a challenge is what you’re after then perhaps you could take on some of the MTB trails that wend their way around some of the most testing peaks anywhere in the UK.
Tuscany - Italy
A location that has sprung to prominence in the cycling world over the past decade or two, Tuscany is as beautiful as it is scary for those on two wheels. Home to the famous ‘white roads’ of the professional bike race, Strade Bianche, Tuscany can lay claim to being truly unique in its challenge for us cyclists. In the early part of the season you can venture over to the city of Sienna to witness the professionals take on the gravel before dragging yourself over the rugged terrain the following day.
Watching the pros like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig carve through the gravel on their road bikes may make it look easy, but we’d recommend taking a gravel bike with you for your first foray onto the white roads. If you want to test yourself to the max, then try and take on the final climb up to the Piazza del Campo in Siena before rewarding yourself with a crisp Italian beer at the centre of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Wallonia - Belgium
During the spring months, the eyes of the cycling world are firmly fixed on Belgium. This being said, this attention is for the most part reserved for the Flanders region of the country and not the French speaking region of Wallonia. Flanders-mania notwithstanding, the southern half of Belgium is just as attractive for cyclists as its northern counterpart.
For cyclists, Wallonia is most well-known for its wide array of hills that can sting the legs of even the very best puncheur. Perhaps the most challenging climb in the region is the legendary Mur de Huy, used as the deciding factor of La Flèche Wallone. This brute of a hill is considered by many to be the hardest kilometre of the cycling season and can only be conquered by a true champion.
Staying in the cosy setting of Liège, you will have access to all of the surrounding climbs as well as enjoying the sights and sounds of a wonderfully relaxed city. If you have the opportunity, don’t forget to visit one of the family-run bakeries found across Liège to try one of their homemade sugar waffles. These sweet snacks are the perfect treat after a long morning in the saddle but be quick as they often sell out by mid-afternoon.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of where you should visit this spring, we cannot wait to see all the exciting destinations you explore on two wheels over the coming months.