Cycling's an epic journey, an adrenaline rush, a childhood dream, writes Eli Orzessek.
1. NORTH SEA CYCLE ROUTE
Officially known as EuroVelo 12, this 6000km route winds its way through eight countries that border Europe's North Sea: England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. Take on the whole route in one epic journey and check out all the diverse sights on offer, or tick it off one country at a time. However, the project is co-financed by the European Union, so with Brexit, the UK leg could be cut.
2. YUNGAS ROAD, BOLIVIA
It's not nicknamed the Death Road for nothing — Yungas is believed to be the most dangerous road in the world. But don't let that put you off — there's a reason thrill-seeking cyclists from all over flock to take this risky route on. Starting at 4650m, you'll be treated to spectacular views of the Bolivian Amazon rainforest. Just try not to get too caught up in the view — the road has few railings, with terrifying 700m drops.
An estimated 300 travellers die on this road every year.
Further information: See gravitybolivia.com
3. NATIONAL HIGHWAY 1, VIETNAM
Two-wheeled modes of transport are so ubiquitous in Vietnam you'll fit right in. This route stretches between the main cities of Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, with plenty of beautiful coastline to take in along the way. Plus, with all that cycling you'll be bound to work up a good appetite to try all the incredible (and extremely cheap) cuisine the country has to offer. Intrepid offer this journey as a guided, 15-day tour.
4. TWIN COAST CYCLE TRAIL — POU HERENGA TAI, NEW ZEALAND
Lucky for us, we've got plenty of great cycling routes in our own backyard, and this Northland offering is the most recent to open. The 84km trailmostly follows disused rail corridors and runs from the Hokianga Harbour on the west coast to Opua on the east. Herald writer Phil Taylor tried it out recently and was pleasantly surprised by how far it has progressed since he last visited two years ago. Highlights include the 1.25km boardwalk near Horeke — the longest boardwalk built on any trail in New Zealand — and the Utakura Valley, which follows the river through kauri forest and farmland.
5. TOUR DE FRANCE
If you've always wanted to ride the Tour de France but can't quite qualify at the international level, don't lose hope. British company Sports Tours International can take you on a ride along different stages of the competition route, just hours before the competitors take it on. Packages include tours and viewing of the Alps and the Pyrenees mountain stages, as well as a visit to the city of Pau, which hosts a stage finish and start. Be sure to train in advance — some of these stages are tough.