TDA Global Cycling’s 10 Most Popular Sections
For 15 years TDA Global Cycling has been taking cyclists on expeditions around the world – over 6 continents and through more than 60 countries. Here are the most popular sections from 10 of our incredible cycling adventures.
1. Tour d’Afrique
This 1540 km section starts in Livingston, home to Victoria Falls also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘The Smoke That Thunders’. Riders will enjoy crossing the Zambezi River on one of the world’s most storied ferries before entering Botswana and heading into a stretch of long, flat riding days. Of course, the real attraction is the wildlife. The country is home to over 110,000 elephants and most riders return home with exciting stories of magical encounters with these magnificent animals. The section also includes a chance to visit the Okavango, the world’s largest inland river delta and features the longest stage ride of any of TDA Global Cycling’s cycling expeditions – a 208 km ride along the edge of the Kalahari Desert.
2. Orient Express
On this section riders get to sample the delights of four of Europe’s most cosmopolitan urban centres; Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Bucharest. Each is a capital city, ancient and modern, rich with imperial architecture, opera houses and museums, as well as chic shopping and delightful eateries. The riding begins across the flat Hungarian plains but soon the Carpathian Mountains pose a serious cycling challenge. One incredible stage includes a 60 km climb to an altitude of 2034m, negotiating more than 50 switchbacks on the north side of the Transfagaras pass. Once the riders reach the top, they can take a break and explore Poienari Castle – one of Vlad’s the Impaler’s many fortresses.
3. Silk Route
This stunning section allows cyclists to navigate the fabled Pamir Highway, which was off-limits to travelers until recently. Known locally as Bam-i-Dunya (Roof of the World), the Pamirs lie at the heart of the Hindu Kush, Tien Shan and Karakorum ranges, reaching skywards to 7495 meters. Nomadic herders, warm nights in Yurts, the indescribable beauty of Kara-Kul Lake, a spin along the river border with Afghanistan and the literally breath taking 4,665 meter Ak-Baital Pass are some of the highlights of this route. Amidst such stunning scenery cyclists can keep their eyes open for a possible sighting of the giant Marco Polo sheep or the elusive snow leopard.
4. South American Epic
This section allows riders to explore Colombia, a beautiful and welcoming country that for many years was avoided by travellers as it suffered through a devastating civil war. Mountains, jungles, waterfalls, coffee, beaches and thriving cities are just a few of the highlights that will delight cyclists on this route. The ride starts in Cartagena, blessed with stunning colonial architecture and then heads up into the Sierra de San Lucas Mountains to Medellin, a city once named the most dangerous in the world, now a centre for civic planning and participation. Riders now cross the impressive Rio Magdalena and then spin up the imposing Cordillera Oriental, including a 50 km, 2000m climb, into Bogota.
This relatively short 800 km section starts in Budapest along the banks of the Danube River. Riders then spin into western Hungary where they may very well see remnants from the original basalt road construction of the ancient amber trade route. After spending a few days pedalling along the very popular and scenic Lake Balaton, the cyclists will cross into tiny, gorgeous Slovenia, a cyclist’s paradise, possibly stopping to sample some fine local wine on their way to the capital, Ljubljana. After spending a rest day exploring the city’s hill-top castle the route will lead the cyclists down to the beautiful Italian coast on on into historic Venice with it’s canals, squares and churches.
6. Hippie Trail
Beginning in New Delhi, home to the Red Fort, Qutb Minar, Jama Masjid & many other historic sites, riders spin south to Agra and the incomparable Taj Mahal before turning west into Rajasthan – the ‘Land of the Kings’. The route features a series of mystical Rajput cities: Jaipur and its historic Pink City; Puskar, home to over 500 temples and a surprising large number of modern ‘hippies’; Jodhpur – the ‘Blue City’ and home to the imposing Meherangarh Fort; and Udaipur with its picture-perfect setting on the banks of Lake Pichola. Along the way riders will spin along little-traveled desert roads meandering through picturesque rural villages all while sleeping like Maharajas.
7. North American Epic
Following the gold rush trail, climbing peaks and dodging grizzly bears…all make this the most popular section on the North American Epic. The sun stays up until late in the evening giving the cyclists the opportunity to revel in the grandeur of Mananuska Glacier and the Wrangell Mountains while snacking on fresh salmon. The route follows the famed Alaska Highway where one night riders will overnight in Destruction Bay, not far from Snag, Canada’s all time cold spot which registered a bone numbing -81°F during the winter of 1942. This section ends in Whitehorse alongside the Yukon River which thousands of fortune hunters sailed down to Dawson City during the famous Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s.
8. Ruta Maya
This section takes cyclists through misty rainforests and past smoking volcanoes, roaring waterfalls, crater lakes, hot springs & deserted beaches; largely along little-used back roads, many of these unpaved. Riders will climb up out of San Jose on a series of beautiful switchbacks leading to a pass between 2 volcanoes, Poas & Barva before enjoying a rest day at the foot of Volcan Arenal. Crossing into Nicaragua, riders will enjoy the stunning beach at San Juan del Sur, the incredible colonial architecture of Granada and the misty cloud forest of Selva Negra. The route then heads into the third country of this section, Honduras, and through the cobblestone streets of the picturesque gold-rush town of Yuscaran.
9. Bamboo Road
After enjoying a few ice-cold Angkor beers at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnonm Penh and visiting the somber museums and monuments marking the country’s tragic past, riders will cycle along the northern edge of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s most important waterway. Three days later they will arrive for a double rest day in Siam Reap. Here the participants will marvel at one of the world’s most spectacular sights – Angkor Wat. They will be able to cycle freely around the 40 square km of temples and statues of gods and demons. Four days of spinning across the friendly and welcoming Thai countryside brings the section to an end in exciting, fabulous Bangkok.
Riders on this section will reluctantly leave Adelaide’s wine bars behind and cross the Murray River, cycling along the Limestone Coast through the fertile lagoon landscapes of Coorong National Park. Cyclists will wind their way past Discovery Bay to the whale watching centre of Warrnambool. The incredibly scenic 250 km Great Ocean Road, an Australian National Heritage area, begins at Allansford and takes riders along the rugged Shipwreck and Surf coasts, through rainforests, past sheer cliffs, waterfalls and fantastic rock formations, including the 12 Apostles. This stretch of our expedition ends in Melbourne, Oz’s 2nd largest city and the centre of its rabid Aussie Rules Football (footy) culture.